This week we are recognising the contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made in defence of Australia as part of NAIDOC Week (7-14 July).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a longstanding tradition of fighting for Country. They have served with honour in defence of Australia from the Boer War to Afghanistan and communities have been deeply affected on the home front. War memorials all across Australia stand as a reminder of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's service and commitment to our defence forces.

Read stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's service and the memorials in which they are commemorated on in the articles below.

Harold West and George Leonard
George Leonard (L) and Harold West (R), 2 November 1941

The coloured digger

Harold West and George Leonard were brothers in childhood before they were brothers in arms. At Kokoda their unique skill set would prove indispensable when fighting the Japanese in the Second World War.

Read the story of The coloured digger

For Our Country sculpture
'For our Country, Daniel Boyd, 2018-2019, AWM2018.1108.1

For our Country war memorial and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war memorials

For our Country joins other war memorials erected across Australia that commemorate Indigenous service and the impact of war on Indigenous communities.

Read 'For our Country' and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war memorials

William Punch
William Punch, c1916, P01625.003

William Punch: An Aboriginal soldier in the First World War

William Punch is said to be the sole survivor of a massacre before he moved to Goulburn in New South Wales. Despite the sentiment of the time, Punch went on to enlist as a soldier in the First World War.

Read the story of William Punch: An Aboriginal soldier in the First World War