A new sculpture has been unveiled at the Australian War Memorial which pays tribute to the military service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women.
The monument – entitled For Our Country – features a ceremonial fire pit, a two-way mirrored glass façade and a contemplative space surrounded by a curved wall made from rammed earth.
Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd created the sculptural pavilion in collaboration with Edition Office Architects.
“It’s a huge honour to be given the opportunity to create a space that memorialises the Indigenous experience in the armed services and acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their relationship to the Memorial,” Mr Boyd said.
Brendan Nelson, the director of the AWM, said the monument represented a “significant step” to recognise Indigenous soldiers.
“They denied their Aboriginality, denied their kinship and families to enlist, serve, fight, suffer and die for the young nation that had taken so much from them, often enlisting along the side the sons of those who had perpetrated violence against their own families,” he said.
Australian Defence Force chief, General Angus Campbell, described the sculpture as “powerful reminder” of Indigenous people and their stories.
“They were our unknown sailors, soldiers, aviators,” he said.
“It is a history that should be recognised and celebrated."
Uncle David Williams, a Bundjalung man and Vietnam War veteran, said the monument was a fitting tribute.
“You don’t have to be Aboriginal but you can come and say thank you,” he said.
“How good’s that?”