Sacrifices made by indigenous remembered on Vets' Day

DURING the first half of the 20th century all non-Europeans were banned from serving in the Australian Armed Forces.

But thousands of Indigenous Australians fought, with the help of alias names, ethic backgrounds and changing birth years.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs estimates about one third of the Indigenous soldiers serving overseas were killed in action or died of wounds or disease.

RSL Queensland chief Chris McHugh said he was proud that the Indigenous Veterans' Day Ceremony was a fixture on Australia's calendar.

Celebrating in Anzac Square in Brisbane on Wednesday, Mr McHugh said it showed how far this country had come in reconciliation.

"It gives us the opportunity to recognise the contribution these great people have made in war and peace times, and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

Wing Commander Professor Lisa Jackson-Pulver told those attending the ceremony about her unique family history in the Australian military.

"My great uncle died on the battlefields of Gallipoli, my father was in the RAAF, and my mum was a Legacy child," she said.

"Indigenous Veterans' Day is really important to highlight the sacrifices and the amount of love Indigenous Australians have for our country.

"To be able to go overseas and fight for our country is the ultimate act of love - and in some circumstances - sacrifice."

Ms Jackson-Pulver is a part of an integrated recruitment process aimed at getting Indigenous Australians into the Air Force, while also a Professor of Public Health at UNSW.

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