Over 1,000 First Nations men and women volunteered for the Australian Infantry Force during World War I. Their stories are not always told as the Defence Act 1903 initially excluded First Nations people from enlisting, and as a result many were forced to deny their heritage and culture to sign up.
A special exhibition at Bathurst Library will honour and commemorate First Nations Servicemen contributions, and will feature the digital storytelling of brothers from the Central West who served in World War I.
Physical artefacts on loan from the Australian War Memorial will be on display to encourage reflection on the unique wartime experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and their significant contribution to Australia’s defence over time.
Manager Library Services, Patou Clerc, says that through ongoing research, librarians and historians are discovering the identities of more and more First Nations service men and women. “It can be challenging to uncover hidden histories and contributions in time of both war and peace” says Ms Clerc. “Bathurst Library is collecting the untold stories and memories of Bathurstians in the small and big events that have shaped us as a community. If you have a story to contribute you can do so via our Bathurst Recollections project.”
This free exhibition will be held at Bathurst Library from Friday 22 April to Tuesday 3 May 2022 during library opening hours. It is part of Bathurst Heritage Week and the Australia Heritage Festival.
Please be aware this exhibition contains the images and names of deceased persons.
For more information on the exhibition or the Bathurst Recollections project visit bathurst.nsw.gov.au/library or call the library on 6333 6281.