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Military Resources: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

This State Library of South Australia guide to military related information includes medals, militia and Australian involvement in conflicts. The emphasis is on South Australian resources.

For love of country

Using the Library Catalogue

The Library catalogue contains details of material in all formats: books, photographs, article references and unpublished material, including oral histories.

To find further material relevant to this topic, try searching a person’s name as a subject heading (surname, first name) in the State Library catalogue or search using the subject heading:

Aboriginal Australian soldiers

For more assistance, talk with staff at the Information Desk or Ask Us.


B 70876 
B 707876

The Library catalogue contains the majority of the Library's digitised photographs. Searches of the catalogue can be made using keywords such as the names of places, communities, or individuals.

Additional collections of photographs can be found using appropriate keyword searches in Trove and the Australian War Memorial website.

Archival material

Books and pamphlets

Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia, 1995.

Althorp, John. Skewey : Hugh Tripp, 2015.

Bakker, Peter. 'Serving country' : William Charles Westbury (1879-1936), 2018. 

Ball, Desmond (ed). Aborigines in the defence of Australia, 1991.

Beaumont, Joan. Australia's war, 1939-1945, 1996. (Chapter 3)

Cadzow, Allison & Jebb, Mary Anne (eds). Our mob served : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories of war and defending Australia, 2019. 

Cadzow, Allison & Beaumont, Joan (eds). Serving our country : indigenous Australians, war, defence and citizenship, 2018.  

Cochrane, Peter. Australians at war, 2001.

Gordon, Harry. The embarrassing Australian : the story of an Aboriginal warrior, 1965.

Hall, Robert A. Fighters from the fringe : Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders recall the Second World War, 1995.

Hall, Robert A. The black Diggers : Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War, 1995.

'I am the forgotten soldier' : the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial appeal, 2012.

Jackamos, Alick. Forgotten heroes : Aborigines at war from the Somme to Vietnam Torres Strait Islander women and the Pacific War, 1993.

Kartinyeri, Doreen. Ngarrindjeri Anzacs, 1996.

The Oxford companion to Australian military history, 2008.

Ramsland, John. Remembering Aboriginal heroes : struggle, identity and the media, 2012. (Chapter 6, Reg Saunders)

Riseman, Noah. In defence of country : life stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander servicemen & women, 2016. 

Smith, Ian. For love of Country : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service personnel from South Australia since Federation, 2022.

Survival in our own land: 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836 told by Nungas and others ; edited and researched by Christobel Mattingley, co-edited by Ken Hampton, 1988. (pages 285-288)

Walker, Richard. Curtin's cowboys : Australia's secret bush commandos, 1986.

Periodical articles

Selected South Australian newspapers, published prior to 1955, have been digitised as part of the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.

Further newspaper articles may be identified by using the following, Newspaper index : references to Aborigines in Adelaide newspapers, 1836-1940, 1989.

Within AIATSIS online indigenous newsletters such as the Native Title Newsletter.

InfoKoori is an index of articles found in the Koori Mail, with some references to biographical information found in other Aboriginal community publications including Our Aim, Dawn and New Dawn.

Aboriginal history. no. 16, 1992. Special edition ‘Aborigines in the Services.’

History Australia. vol. 10, no. 2, 2013. Noah Riseman. ‘Racism, indigenous people, and the Australian armed forces in the post-second world war era.’

Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. vol. 79, nos 3-4, 1993. David Huggonson. ‘Aboriginal diggers of the 9th Brigade first AIF.’

Sabretache. vol. 31, nos 1-4, 1990. Rod Pratt. ‘Queensland's Aborigines in the first AIF.’

Sabretache, vol. 34, no. 1, 1993. Bruce Topperwien. ‘Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who assisted the Australian Defence Force in northern Australia during World War Two.’ (A list of previously unacknowledged people, not formally enlisted in the Defence Forces but who aided in the defence of Australia.)

Wartime. vol. 12, (Summer) 2000. Vanessa Seekee. ‘One ilan man': the Torres Strait Light Infantry.’

Wartime. issue 76, (Spring) 2016. Special edition 'Defending country: Indigenous service'. Includes 'Under the crescent moon' an account of Roland Carter (Point McLeay / Raukkan) and Douglas Grant (NSW) who were each taken prisoner during WWI, and interned at Wundsdorf-Zossen, near Berlin

To locate more contemporary journal and newspaper articles, access the State Library's eResources.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial

B 73281

Dedicated 10 November 2013, this memorial stands to the west of the Vietnam War Memorial beside the Torrens Parade Ground, and close to the River Torrens (Karrawirraparri), a site of significance for the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains.



480 - ANZAC. Short film made by the ABC's Message Stick program, telling the story of two Aboriginal servicemen, Len Waters and Albert Knight.

The forgotten, 2002. Tells the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women.

Anzac Day - South Australia 2004. With speeches by Kenny Laughton, Lewis O'Brien and George Tongerie.