A recent blog post identified two Aboriginal brothers from Freestone who served in WW1 – one for the AIF and one for the New Zealand armed forces. While unusual, there is another example of brothers serving in WW1 for Australia and New Zealand. Philippa Scarlett, author of ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF’ researched an article on the Firth brothers from Pilliga, NSW – Ernest Firth [Service No 1696] and Francis ‘Bertie’ Firth [Service No 1162] served in the AIF while Charles Firth [Service No 11623] enlisted in New Zealand.
There are quite a number of Aboriginal brothers who served in WW1 – some of these from other States are well-known, e.g. the Lock(e) family from NSW; the Rigney Brothers from Point Macleay Mission in South Australia; the Farmer brothers from Katanning, WA; and the Lovetts of Lake Condah, Victoria. This post will explore some of the known Queensland brothers who volunteered or served in WW1.
List of known Aboriginal brothers from Queensland in WW1:
- Charles BAIRD [Service No 1234: 11 LHR] Born at China Camp, via Cooktown.
- Norman BAIRD [Service No 7685A: 9th Bn] Born at China Camp, via Cooktown.
- Alfred John BLACKMAN [Service No 3173: 41st Bn] Born at Tiaro, via Maryborough.
- Charles Tednee BLACKMAN [Service No 2584A: 9th Bn] Born at Pine Tree Creek, via Gayndah.
- Thomas BLACKMAN [Service No 2174: 41st Bn] Born at Gayndah.
- Thomas CARRISSEY [Service No Q21121: Depot] Born at Blackall.
- Willie CARRISSEY [Service No Q21122: Depot] Born at Blackall.
- Edward COLLINS [Service No. 2424: 11 LHR] Born at Mitchell.
- Fred COLLINS [Service No. 2459: 11 LHR] Born at Mitchell.
- Edmond COUCHY [Service No Q20597: Depot] Born at Gayndah.
- Walter COUCHY [Service No 2420: 7th Field Artillery Battalion] Born at Gayndah.
- Bertie DIXON [Service No. 7052: 25th BN] Born at Springsure.
- Percy DIXON [Service No. 30106: 9th FAB] Born at Springsure.
- Arthur Walter HARWARD [Service No 17209: 4th Pioneers] Born on Stradbroke Island.
- Robert Percy HARWARD [Service No 443: 2nd Australian Tunnelling Coy] Born at Southport.
- Harry HAWKINS [Service No 2255: 2nd Australian Remounts] Born at Dilalah Station, via Charleville.
- Reginald Francis HAWKINS [Service No 370: 42nd Bn] Born in Adavale.
- James Alfred HUBBARD [Service No 1726: 2nd Remounts] Born in Thargomindah.
- Robert HUBBARD [Service No Q196013: Depot] Born in Thargomindah.
- Andrew LAURIE [Service No Q21325: Depot] Born at Comet Downs Station, via Springsure.
- George LAURIE [Service No 599: Depot] Born at Comet Downs Station, via Springsure.
- Douglas Edward LAW [Service No 63998: 2 LHR] Born in Kilkivan.
- Vincent LAW [Service No 63999: 5th Reinforcements] Born in Gayndah.
- George LONGBOTTOM [Service No 59545: 1st Australian Divisional Train] Born at Coolangatta.
- James LONGBOTTOM [N/A: Training Depot] Born at Coolangatta.
- Charles George MARTYN [Service No 5959: 26th Bn] Born in Thargomindah.
- Harry Thomas MARTYN [Service No 7262: 15th Bn] Born in Thargomindah.
- Arthur PERFECT [Service No 7757: 15th Bn] Born in Rockhampton.
- Joseph PERFECT [Service No 200: 25th Bn] Born in Rockhampton.
- William PERFECT [Service No 3429: 2nd LHR] Born in Rockhampton.
- James SMALE [NZ Service No 53880] Born at Freestone, via Warwick; enlisted in New Zealand.
- Walter Edward SMALE [Service No 794: 2nd LHR] Born at Freestone, via Warwick.
- Albert TRIPCONY [Service No 5655: 25th Bn] Born at Dunwich, Stradbroke Island.
- Vincent TRIPCONY [Service No 470: 3rd AMG] Born at Dunwich, Stradbroke Island.
- Arthur WALSH [Service No 2050: 4th Machine Gun Coy] Born at Torella Station, via St Lawrence.
- Charles WALSH [Service No 24222: NA] Born at Torella Station, via St Lawrence.
- Harold WALSH [Service No 4447: 11 LHR] Born at Duaringa.
- George WATEGO [Service No 5934: 26th Bn] Born in Sydney, NSW; enlisted in Brisbane.
- Murray WATEGO [Service No 2178: 41st Bn] Born in Sydney, NSW; enlisted in Brisbane.
In addition to the above, there are also sets of brothers from Northern NSW who enlisted in regional centres, e.g. Lismore, Grafton, Kyogle or Murwillumbah, etc. and undertook their training in Brisbane with several living in South-East Queensland after the war.
For a list of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers with connections to Queensland communities, please visit the State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in WW1 webpages.
State Library would love to hear from descendants and community members who have memories of these men and would be willing to share these untold stories.
Indigenous Languages Coordinator, Queensland Memory
State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in WW1 webpages
References and Further Reading
Pratt, R. (1993) Biographical register of Queensland Aborigines who served in the Great War, 1914-1918. P 940.403 pra
Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History 2015. Digital Story 29841
Ration Shed Museum (2015) The boys from Barambah: The story of the black diggers of Barambah-Cherbourg of World War 1. JUVQ 940.400899915 NEW
Scarlett, P. (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: The Indigenous response to World War One. 940.40994 SCA
Winegard, T. C. (2012) Indigenous peoples of the British dominions and the first world war. 940.341 2012
Indigenous Histories Blog: Philippa Scarlett’s Blog.
National Archives of Australia: Service Records.
State Library of Queensland: WW1 Resources webpage