Joe Flick is a Kamilaroi man whose Aboriginal grandfather served in the First World War on the Western Front in France. Joe went to France to trace the footsteps of his Pop (which he did). He now helps other Indigenous families who have loved ones buried on the Western Front, reunite with their loved ones by visiting their gravesites, taking photos, and doing a ceremony – a very moving experience. 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders served Australia in the war despite, 100 years ago, not even having the right to vote.
They weren’t allowed to enlist to fight either, yet they did. Like their peers of European descent, they wanted to fight for their country. One of them was Michael Flick, a young man from Collarenabri in New South Wales. Now, his grandson Joe Flick has made multiple pilgrimages over to Villers-Bretonneux, to honour not just his grandfather, but all the indigenous men who served. Michael Flick passed in 1963, four years before the 1967 referendum which gave Indigenous Australians voting rights. “It was a hard time for him. He worked as hard as any other man around the district, and he looked after and cared for his family and other Aboriginal people in the region as well.”