Recognition must be for all

A new battlefront: Aboriginal woman and Maylands Residents and Ratepayers Association member Carol Foley, Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association member Pam Gaunt and Maylands MLA Lisa Baker want indigenous people who fought for
A new battlefront: Aboriginal woman and Maylands Residents and Ratepayers Association member Carol Foley, Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association member Pam Gaunt and Maylands MLA Lisa Baker want indigenous people who fought for

Ms Foley joined Maylands MLA Lisa Baker and Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association member Pam Gaunt in the push for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who served in the armed forces to be remembered at the Maylands War Memorial.

The Girrawheen resident said it would be a positive step towards reconciliation and acknowledging Aboriginal people were part of Australia’s war efforts and its history.

‘It’s acknowledging that a whole generation of people were excluded and yet they were called up and did their duty for Australia and weren’t recognised for performing that duty,’ she said.

‘I think it is an embarrassment to Australia’s history that indigenous people are still excluded.’

Ms Baker said she had written to City of Bayswater Mayor Sylvan Albert asking that the City instal a plaque or additional piece of artwork commemorating the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war veterans.

‘These plaques should be included at all war memorials, and the Maylands War Memorial is a great place to start because of its unique location in the heart of the community where it can be enjoyed by many,’ she said.

‘Pam Gaunt first approached me with the idea in hopes that a plaque could be installed in time for the Anzac Centenary Celebrations.

‘I hope the City can also recognise that these are stories which have been silenced for far too long.’

Ms Gaunt said it was something that had been neglected and needed to be done with the Centenary a fitting time.

Mayor Sylvan Albert said the City of Bayswater would liaise with the Returned Services League clubs to make sure that this was addressed.

‘The City also believes that it is important to ensure that all of the brave soldiers who served their country and paid the ultimate price are recognised at all of the memorials within the City of Bayswater and not just at Maylands,’ he said.

‘On Anzac Day the City encourages the community to take time to reflect not only on the sacrifices the Anzacs have made for our country but also on the Australian and New Zealand service personnel who are currently deployed.’

Ms Foley said her uncles fought and aunts contributed in the war effort, even though they were not classed as Australian citizens, and it was about time for their contribution to be acknowledged.

‘They fought for this country and gave up their lives,’ she said. ‘Some of our family members never came back from war and they are only now getting recognised.’