Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 763

Mr Holding asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 21 February 1980:

(   1 ) How many Aboriginal people served in the armed forces in the Darwin area in World War II.

(2)   Did any Aboriginal people not enlisted in the armed forces supply any services to the armed forces in the Darwin area in World War II; if so, what were those services.

(3)   Were Aboriginal languages used at any time during World War II in the Darwin area to provide unbreakable codes for service purposes.

(4)   Were any Aboriginal people in the Darwin area decorated for their services during World War II; if so, how many decorations were awarded and what were the types of decorations awarded.

Mr Killen - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1)   Service records do not show the number of Aboriginal people who enlisted in the Defence Force in the Darwin area during World War II.

(2)   Aboriginal people not enlisted in the Defence Force assisted the Navy, Army and Air Force, in many ways in World War II, such as with camp construction, roadworks, loading and unloading of stores and equipment from ships, aircraft and vehicles, filling and placement of sandbags, and timber getting. In some areas Aboriginals also assisted as spotters of enemy ships, submarines and war debris washed ashore. Mission Aboriginals provided their services as guides on patrols, and by reporting on crashed aircraft and assisting in the rescue of personnel.

(3)   No records have been found to suggest that Aboriginal languages were used in the Darwin area to provide codes for Service purposes.

(4)   Navy records indicate that 35 Aboriginals who served with the Navy in the Darwin area received the War Medal. Of these, 34 also received the Australian Service Medal, and 18 received the Defence Medal. Army and Air Force records do not specifically identify Aboriginal recipients of awards.

Suggest corrections