Indigenous Australian, Dick (Richard) KIRWIN, 42nd Infantry Battalion.
Lance Corporal Dick KIRWIN, was born in Normanton, Qld in 1892 and was employed as a fireman before enlisting 6 October 1916. He named a friend, Sarah Bell as his next of kin when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in October 1916.
Kirwin was assigned to the 6th Reinforcements for the 42nd Infantry Battalion and after initial training at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera, he embarked from Sydney on board HMAT Demosthenes bound for England and France.
In July 1917 he joined the Battalion when they were being billeted in Belgium. While serving with the 42nd in France in September 1918, Lance Corporal Kirwin was severely wounded in his left arm and invalided to hospital in England. He was repatriated to Australia in December 1918, and discharged medically unfit.
Kirwin having gained his exemption from the ‘Aboriginals Protection Act, 1897′ meant that he was free to marry Topsy in 1924, and gain employment away from Aboriginal reserves.
In 1939 he was working as a stockman for the vast pastoral station Vanrook, 140 km north of Normanton. He died in November 1953, age 60.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: KIRWIN, Dick
- EMBARKATION ROLL: 6th Reinf. 42nd Infantry Battalion
- IMAGE: The Queenslander Pictorial, 24 February 1917
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- View the whole Collection: Indigenous enlistment
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland