Indigenous Australian, Thomas DARE, 26th Infantry Battalion
In 1915 Tom DARE was working as a stockman on the notable pastoral holding Annandale Station, 49 km west of Birdsville, located on the tribal lands of the Wongkamala people. At that time it was owned by Sidney Kidman and was heavily affected by drought, losing thousands of animals between 1914 & 1916.
Tom was born in 1877 at Charlotte Waters, in the Northern Territory and worked on properties in both Queensland and the Territory all of his life. He stepped forward in September 1915 and volunteered to serve with the first AIF while men were still involved in ill-fated operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
His enlistment was accepted in Townsville and he was assigned to the 7th Reinforcements for the 26th Infantry Battalion, training for three months most probably at the barracks located at Enoggera, just outside Brisbane.
Aged 38 years old, Tom would have been considered an ‘older soldier’ even though he understated his age on his attestation papers by a few years. There is very little information to be gleaned from his service record, other than the fact that the front page is annotated in purple pencil “SERVICES NO LONGER NEEDED” and that he was to be discharged.
In military terms, this phrase was used for the termination of a soldier who was unsatisfactory, either due to repeated offending or misconduct.
In any case, Tom Dare was released from any further service, by the Camp Commandant, 12 November 1915.
The army provided Dare with the means to return to north-western Queensland, and his intended journey was described as follows – Brisbane to Gladstone & Longreach by rail – Longreach to Winton by coach – Winton to Hughenden & Cloncurry by rail, over 2000 km.
Dare returned to work on properties in the Northern Territory; in 1926 he is recorded as being employed at Delamere Station in the Victoria River district, south of Katherine and in 1953, when he was finally granted exemption from the Northern Territory Aboriginals Act, he was residing at Tipperary Station, east of the Daly River, age 77.
Tom Dare, never married and lived out his days at the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) ‘Old Timers Home’ in Alice Springs.
Read more …
- Service record: DARE, Thomas
- Half-castes and Quadroons in the Northern Territory, 1926
- Application for Exemption
- Image: National Archives: 7913428
- Australian Electoral Roll, 1968
- 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