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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Black Diggers
    Posted: 11-Mar-2012 at 19:16
Besides the white colonial population, many Aborigines fought in the Boer War and WWI. They were expert trackers and natural-born survivalists, although their bravery has been largely censored in favor of the whites
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 00:33
There is a lot of information on this subject, Nick, on the following website:

What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 00:37
I've also found this sad story which has been uncovered.

On this day in 1902 the Boer War in South Africa drew to an end. The rebel leaders agreed to lay down their weapons, abandon their claims to independence and recognise Britain's Edward VII as their king. And so began the process of repatriating the 22,000 Australians who'd survived the distant war. A thousand of their fellow countrymen didn't. 
But not everyone made it home. It's claimed 50 Aboriginal trackers were left behind because they were denied re-entry to Australia.

Charlotte Glennie reports from Brisbane.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Griffith University's Indigenous research fellow, Dr Dale Kerwin has spent the last four years delving into a conflict which took place at the turn of last century far away in Africa.

He's especially interested in 50 Aboriginal trackers who were summonsed by the commander of the British forces in South Africa to join the Boer war effort.

DALE KERWIN: I found a telegram from Lord Kitchener in 1901 requesting that these trackers be sent across and I found telegrams going back to the Lord Kitchener saying that, you know, they're being rounded up and they'll be sent on a certain date. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Dr Kerwin says the men came from all over the country but very little else is known about them.

DALE KERWIN: I'm making a guess here that they were part of the Aboriginal police force, you know, the black trackers. These men were skilled in use of weaponry, as well to take orders and you were trained in military fashion. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Gradually Dr Kerwin says he's piecing together parts of the puzzle.

DALE KERWIN: There was a telegram sent from Burketown in north Queensland saying that there was a man wanting to enlist in the war effort and so I've been able to find, follow that telegram. He boarded a ship but I was unable to get his name because they listed him as a deadly blackfella. So in amongst ship passenger ship list, they've named women, men, children, whatever stock's on board and as well as Aboriginal people but there was never any names. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: And what were these trackers sent over to South Africa to actually do? 

DALE KERWIN: The imperial edicts from the War Office in Britain was that no coloureds were to serve as, in the Armed Forces and so these men were actually sent across as bullock drovers and trackers as such. They weren't really enlisted. 

However, I'm finding some indication that a couple of men did enlist and they would have come back with the general enlisted men. But the ones that signed up as bushmen, or bush trackers, were left over there at their own device. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: The war ended on the 31st of May 1902 and slowly the soldiers were brought home.

DALE KERWIN: There was a fellow by name of George Valder. In 1907 he was repatriating Australians back to, back to the country, paying their way, their fares on various ships that were coming back. And he indicated that these men fell under the new Immigration Protection Act and because of that, as we know it as the White Australian Policy, there was no coloureds were allowed into this country at the time. And so there's all likelihood that these men haven't come home. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: What do you think is likely to have happened to them? 

DALE KERWIN: I'm having a guess here that there's descendents in South Africa. There's Aboriginal descendents in South Africa now.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: But some are sceptical. 

Historian Keith Windschuttle is the author of the controversial book, The White Australia Policy.

KEITH WINDSCHUTTLE: There was no formal thing called the White Australia Policy. There was the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 and that Act could not be applied to Aboriginal people because they were all born here and anyone who was born here, under the Immigration Restriction Act, could come and go from Australia without any legal restrictions whatsoever. 

Nobody, I mean there were domiciles in Australia before the bill came in. All Aborigines would have been, and certainly those who fought in the Boer War, could have been possibly affected by it. 

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Bill Cross is with the Queensland division of the National Boer War Memorial Committee.

BILL CROSS: We can't find evidence that's 100 per cent positive one way or the other but where there's smoke perhaps there's fire and we're certainly happy to have that aspect of the Aboriginal trackers not coming back to Australia as a part of our ongoing research and discovery of what our forebears did or didn't do.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: The descendents of Australians who fought in the Boer War say they hope one day a memorial is built to commemorate the first conflict which Australia was involved in as a nation.

What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 19:28
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 22:37
Nick, no one is a "natural born survivalist". Survival in any environment is a social skill passed on down by those who have learned to survive in their environment. As for White society censoring reports of Black Digger bravery, kindly provide some examples with cites. A "well the fact that there are (your presumption) no written accounts of Digger bravery speaks for itself" does not wash. I don't think anyone would argue that the Australia of the WWI period was not far more racist than it is today, but even racist societies can praise their minority soldiers in wartime. 

Edited by lirelou - 12-Mar-2012 at 22:41
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 23:58
Not exactly, we are all born with certain propensities, a result of generational natural selection, which allows for certain abilities to be develop easier in people who have them. In other words, take a random baby from one culture and put him in a completely different one - he/she will have greater difficulties to develop skills that he/she wasn't genetically prepared to do. So, there is something like being "natural born" musician, tracker, survivalist, etc - not everyone can become Mozart no matter how much effort is employed in his/her musical education. When it comes to physical qualities this is even stronger - in a society where the natural selection was working for millenia I'd suspect whoever succeeded to be born and survive to mature age is healthier and more able to survive in an exacting enviroment than someone who comes from generations of sick people who were born and lived only due to the advances of the medical science.

It's not necessary for the Australian society to have been more racist than any other in it's timescale to neglect to mention the bravery of it's native Aboriginal employees. Every western culture in that time was more or less racist compared with the modern standard, and  neglect of the qualities of people from ethnic cultures went as something completely normal. Of course, they can praise, the minority soldiers in time of war, but they weren't exactly obliged to do so; and neglect was the usual norm.


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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2012 at 01:34
"...Canberra-based historian David Huggonson, who has spent 20 years researching the Aboriginal contribution to Australia's military campaigns, announced his findings yesterday.Mr Huggonson said he had uncovered the names of 428 Aboriginal soldiers who served in WWI. Flinders and Cape Barren islands provided the highest number of early Aboriginal enlistmensts. They were also mostly from the Maynard or Mansell families who, Mr Huggonson said, had gone on to produce some of Tasmania's most outspoken Aboriginal activists.

"Few Australians are aware that Aborigines have served in every war that Australia has fought in since the Boer War," Mr Huggonson said yesterday.
"There are 428 names so far just for World War I, from every state of Australia."But I was surprised to see quite a few Tasmanians from Cape Barren Island and Flinders Island."
He said the figure of 428 Aboriginal soldiers who fought in WWI was significant, as Australia's Aboriginal population at the time was estimated to be about 80,000.

Mr Huggonson said army regulations at the time had banned anyone not of European origin from enlisting."It was only in May 1917 that an army order allowed the enlistment of 'half-castes' due to the shortage of volunteers and the carnage on the Western Front," he said.

Mr Huggonson said the Tasmanian Aborigines who served were most likely the children of European sealers and Aboriginal women.He said it was important that the role played by Australia's Aboriginal soldiers was recognised...'  http://eniar.org/news/WWI.html

If something needs to be recognized, this means that it wasn't so far recognized, in other words, was neglected.

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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2012 at 13:52
    " If something needs to be recognized, this means that it wasn't so far recognized, in other words, was neglected."

    I realize that I am looking at an Australian event through American eyes, and therefore may be jaundiced by several recent U.S. examples of political correctness. There was the movie "Windtalkers" which supposedly highlighted the hitherto unknown use of American Indian code talkers in WWII. Yet I grew up in the post-war years hearing all about them. Ditto for the Clinton Administration's decision to presume that any American minorities who fought in WWII must have been under-rated in combat. And so some Japanese-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Afro-Americans had their Distinguished Service Crosses raised to Medals of Honor. In the case of the Japanese-Americans, their unit already had the distinction of being the U.S. Army's most highly decorated unit of the war. (the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team received 8 Presidential Unit Citations.)

Sometime things get 'recognized' because they meet current standards of political correctness. Strange that an article on Aboriginals in WWI would not mention Reg Saunders' (MBE) father, or his uncle (Reg Rawlings, MM), both of whom served in WWI.

Next, someone will discover that Chinese diggers descended from real gold miners fought in WWII and Korea:  http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/med-2.htm
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2012 at 19:01
I thought racism was part of the prewar Australian government's agenda: they wanted to create a white English-speaking identity while suppressing and discriminating against the native blacks
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2012 at 19:16
This topic might interest Jaj. How many of those 50 black trackers were left in Africa when the Australians went home?
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2012 at 19:59
Originally posted by lirelou

    " If something needs to be recognized, this means that it wasn't so far recognized, in other words, was neglected."

    I realize that I am looking at an Australian event through American eyes, and therefore may be jaundiced by several recent U.S. examples of political correctness. There was the movie "Windtalkers" which supposedly highlighted the hitherto unknown use of American Indian code talkers in WWII. Yet I grew up in the post-war years hearing all about them. Ditto for the Clinton Administration's decision to presume that any American minorities who fought in WWII must have been under-rated in combat. And so some Japanese-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Afro-Americans had their Distinguished Service Crosses raised to Medals of Honor. In the case of the Japanese-Americans, their unit already had the distinction of being the U.S. Army's most highly decorated unit of the war. (the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team received 8 Presidential Unit Citations.)

Sometime things get 'recognized' because they meet current standards of political correctness. Strange that an article on Aboriginals in WWI would not mention Reg Saunders' (MBE) father, or his uncle (Reg Rawlings, MM), both of whom served in WWI.

Next, someone will discover that Chinese diggers descended from real gold miners fought in WWII and Korea:  http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/med-2.htm

I don't have your experience, most of my life I lived in Bulgaria, and all I know of US is what I read. In Bulgaria the closest ethnical distinction that can be seen as the "aboriginal-towards -whites" is "bulgarian-Gypsies-toward-Bulgarians" - there isn't racism really, but the both groups don't mix much, and the Gypsies are by choice inflected with anti-social behavior, due to low educational level and near impossibility for obtaining a decent job. I never heard about Gypsies being celebrated in any military aspect, in any time; but I try not to compare what is in Bulgaria with what is here or in Australia.

As for the PC, there is probably something like that; but the need of PC again shows a reason for this PC to appear, no?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2012 at 19:21
There were also a lot of Pacific Islanders helping the Allies during WWII. In response to the Japs' brutality, the Dayaks resumed head-hunting. Other islanders helped evacuate the wounded or sheltered downed airmen in their villages
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 08:37
All of you make excellent points....and as a retired soldier I can recognize that Lirelou is correct, in that many times, it is the revisionist agenda of the pcer's that drive later recognition of formerly well known targets of racism and bigotry in previous eras. And how that effected their recognition for and of meritorious service then and even now. I don't like it but there it is.
 
The truth generally, as far as I am concerned, and I agree, is that these actions are connected to current agendas of the political machines that promote them for self interest..and not necessarily in true and honorable recognition for service rendered.
 
But this isn't new. The 24th and 25th US Inf and 9th and 10th US Cavalry were still being ostracized long after the fact.... even given gallant service. Until Truman's integration that is. And even for some time after that racism and bigotry in uniform were concerns. The poignant fact remains that today those who were in the uniform, do it the least...compared to those who are not. Such has been my experience.
 
And even given the conundrum of the 'better late then never' rhetoric and or the machinations behind it...I , who know little about 'Black diggers' in WW1, recognize that their service was important so I honor them. As I would and do honor any minority ethnic group who has fought for their nation in a just and honorable cause.
 
And I also realize that the latter might be a subjective decison on an individual's part.
 
But that is enough...for me.


Edited by Centrix Vigilis - 18-Mar-2012 at 08:47
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 20:46
Originally posted by Centrix Vigilis

All of you make excellent points....and as a retired soldier I can recognize that Lirelou is correct, in that many times, it is the revisionist agenda of the pcer's that drive later recognition of formerly well known targets of racism and bigotry in previous eras. And how that effected their recognition for and of meritorious service then and even now. I don't like it but there it is.
 
The truth generally, as far as I am concerned, and I agree, is that these actions are connected to current agendas of the political machines that promote them for self interest..and not necessarily in true and honorable recognition for service rendered.
 
But this isn't new. The 24th and 25th US Inf and 9th and 10th US Cavalry were still being ostracized long after the fact.... even given gallant service. Until Truman's integration that is. And even for some time after that racism and bigotry in uniform were concerns. The poignant fact remains that today those who were in the uniform, do it the least...compared to those who are not. Such has been my experience.
 
And even given the conundrum of the 'better late then never' rhetoric and or the machinations behind it...I , who know little about 'Black diggers' in WW1, recognize that their service was important so I honor them. As I would and do honor any minority ethnic group who has fought for their nation in a just and honorable cause.
 
And I also realize that the latter might be a subjective decison on an individual's part.
 
But that is enough...for me.

In many cases the later recognition is long overdue. No black soldier received a medal of honor in WWII until Clinton upgraded several DSCs
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2012 at 19:05
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2012 at 20:30
Native scouts and porters who helped the Aussies on the Kokoda trail
http://www.kokodatrackfoundation.org/fuzzy-wuzzy-angels.aspx
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2012 at 20:26
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Sep-2012 at 19:49
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Sep-2012 at 20:10
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