NAIDOC Week 2017: “True Soldiers, True Citizens”

“True Soldiers, True Citizens: The RSL and Indigenous Service Personnel”

Author Discussion

Creswick-Smeaton RSL, 6pm

Author and researcher, Richard Trembath, will present themes from his co-authored book, “Defending Country.” Trembath will discuss the relationships that Indigenous Australian servicemen and women have had with the RSL and broader public from the 1940s onwards.

The Returned and Services League, Australia (RSL) is our best known veterans’ organisation. Since its inception in 1916 it has fought hard for the rights of returned men and women.  At times, the RSL has also played a significant role in political and social debates including Indigenous issues.  The RSL has had complex relationships with Indigenous veterans and Indigenous activists ranging from support for greater equality to condemnation of land rights campaigns.

This presentation will examine three different periods of the RSL/Indigenous story: the 1940s and 1950s, when the veterans’ organisation fought hard for the citizenship rights of Indigenous servicemen and women; the 1980s, when relations with Indigenous leaders were strained; and greater harmony in the current day.

“Defending Country” was published by the University of Queensland Press (UQP) in Brisbane. More information on the book and purchasing information can be found at UQP’s website.

Trembath’s profile can be viewed here at Melbourne University Publishing.

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