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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC


9 July 2018

NAIDOC Week — Honouring the service and sacrifice of Indigenous service women

MINISTER for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said today that the 2018 NAIDOC Week theme of 'Because of Her, We Can!', is the perfect opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of all those Indigenous women who have served the country in uniform.

"Indigenous Australians have made significant contributions to Australia's military history from the Boer War through to present day conflicts.

"Like their male counterparts, Indigenous women have also made a significant contribution to the defence of the nation through their service," Mr. Chester said.

"It is difficult to say just how many Indigenous women have served as records of enlistment did not specify ethnicity.

"However, it is known, that Indigenous women served and continue to serve their country with great honour and pride in a range of operations including war, disaster relief, peacekeeping, border protection and emergency defence assistance.

"Some of the Indigenous women who have served in uniform include poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, a proud Minjerribah woman who enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service in December 1942.

"Another is Marj Tripp, a Ramindjeri Elder who was the first Indigenous member of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service.

"Yet another is Lorraine Hatton, a Quandamooka woman who at the time of her service, was the only Indigenous woman in the Army to hold the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2.

"As Minister for Veterans' Affairs, it makes me incredibly proud to represent all Australians who have served; especially during NAIDOC Week, when we salute those Indigenous Australians who have donned the uniform and celebrate their achievements, culture, and history," Mr. Chester said.

Read more about Indigenous service. (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that photographs on this page may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness and distress.)


Media Contacts:

Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon Darren Chester MP, Canberra.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit