1.It seeks to highlight the untold story of the Indigenous Australians who served in the armed forces during the First World War.
2.It's estimated that approximately 1,000 Indigenous soldiers fought in World War I.
3.This was at a time when Indigenous people weren’t even considered Australian citizens. They weren’t counted in the census and most couldn’t vote.
4.When war broke out in 1914, many Indigenous Australians who tried to enlist in the armed forces were rejected because of their race.
5.Sometimes Indigenous men would be accepted by a recruiter only to be kicked out during military training.
6.By 1917, the military had become less picky, and the order was made that “half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining Medical Officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin.”
7.Despite the discrimination they faced, many Indigenous Australians were keen to enlist for the opportunities it presented.
8.They saw in it the chance for better wages and international travel and the ability to prove themselves and push for equality.
9.As part of the AIF, Aboriginal soldiers were indeed treated as equals for the first time.
10.Indigenous soldiers were paid the same amount as their European counterparts, and accepted as "one of the boys" by most.
11.Unfortunately, this didn't result in improved treatment in Australian society as a whole.
12.Director of Black Diggers, Wesley Enoch, told the ABC he uncovered stories of Indigenous children being removed from their mothers while their fathers were at war.
13.When they returned home, Aboriginal servicemen faced the same amount of discrimination or worse than before the war.
14.Aboriginal land was confiscated to be given to ex-servicemen as part of the “soldier settlement” scheme.
15.Only one Indigenous veteran benefitted from the scheme, and many had their own land taken from them.
16.Treatment of Aboriginal Australians worsened in the years after World War I.
17.The story of the Indigenous people who served in the AIF has been largely ignored until now.
18.Black Diggers will bring the story of these men to the Australian public, beginning at the Sydney Opera House this week.