Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Radio 3KND were there once again to attend the dawn service at AAL that was presided over by Esme Bamblett who is a Senior Pastor at Barak Christian Ministries and CEO of the Aborigines Advancement League. A good crowd attended the early morning service followed by the traditional BBQ with those attending enjoyed.
LEST WE FORGET
The AAL holds a commemorative ANZAC Day breakfast and dawn service on the 25th April each year, commencing at 6.00a.m.
Between 800 and 1,000 Aboriginal Australians volunteered to enlist in the First World War. At enlistment camps, Aboriginal Australians stood side by side with other Australians to answer the call of duty. They fought together with their mates in the trenches, they suffered the hardships of war, and their families and communities grieved those who didn’t come home.
The contribution of Aboriginal service men and women to the First World War has not always been well recognised. In 1957 the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) was established by Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls, Doris Blackburn, Stan Davey and Gordon Bryant in response to the plight of the Aboriginal people in the Warburton Ranges. When Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls travelled to Western Australia with a Victorian representative side of Australian Rules footballers in 1935 he was shocked at the poverty, malnutrition and disease he saw among the Aboriginal people there. The Australian government in 1946 announced plans to establish a rocket range in Central Australia that would fire its missiles across the Great Central Reserve and the Warburton Ranges Mission, so when Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls reactivated his protests about the plight of the WA Aboriginal people and lobbied against it.
The AAL’s initial objectives were to achieve citizenship rights for Aborigines throughout the Commonwealth, to work towards the integration of Aboriginal people with the rest of the community while fully recognising the unique contribution the AAL was able to make, to attempt to co-ordinate the different Aboriginal welfare organisations operating in Victoria, and to establish a general policy of advancement for Aboriginal people.
There were fifty branches of the AAL established, including: (Neerim, Murtoa, Geelong, Brunswick-Coburg, Noble Park, Greensborough, Brighton, Carlton, Boronia High School, Beaufort High School, Castlemaine High School, Shepparton/Goulburn Valley, Blackburn, Kew, Diamond Valley-Research, Knoxfield, Nunawading, Beaumaris, Chelsea, Frankston, Glen Iris, Glen Waverley, Kilsyth, Alice Springs, Toorak Teachers College, Mordialloc, Mornington, Parkdale, Northcote, Footscray, Laverton, St Albans, Sunshine, Alexandra, Ballarat, Benalla, Charlton, Echuca, Horsham, Kaniva, Minyip, Ocean Grove, Rupanyup, Moe, Morwell, Sale, Devonport, Launceston, Sheffield, Eltham)