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Yininmadyemi (pronounced yinn-in-madjamee) – Thou didst let fall, by Aboriginal artist Tony Albert, features four seven-metre tall, 1.5-tonne bullets and three fallen shells to represent the diggers who returned to Australia and the ones who lost their lives.
The $500,000 public artwork was commissioned by the City of Sydney as part of its Eora Journey program celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history in the public domain, and curated by Hetti Perkins.
The public artwork was the request of Redfern’s Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans and Services Association and the Coloured Digger Committee that jointly organise the annual Coloured Digger Anzac March in Redfern.
It has the support of the Governor General of Australia His Excellency the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), the RSL, Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs Michael Ronaldson and Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the artwork in Hyde Park South, near the Anzac Memorial, would become a renowned gathering place for tributes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diggers and their families.
“This is a striking and powerful work that not only evokes the reality of war, but is sure to stir strong emotions to those who come and pay their respects,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served their country from before the Boer War. They were treated as equals on the battlefield, but when they returned to Australia they were denied the right to vote, even up to the 1960s, and weren’t counted in the Census until 1969.
“It’s time for them to receive the lasting recognition they deserve and for all Australians to come together and acknowledge their commitment and sacrifice.”
Governor General of Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), congratulated the City of Sydney and its residents for supporting the unveiling of the work.
“This artwork Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall is a magnificent permanent reminder of all of the known and unknown Indigenous servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country,” Sir Peter Cosgrove said.
“For more than 100 years, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have worked alongside each other to defend our nation and our national interests in immeasurably difficult and demanding conditions.
“Indigenous servicemen and women, in all major wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, have been indispensable to our nation’s war efforts, and it is the responsibility of all Australians to give thanks for their service and to honour their sacrifice.”
Mr Albert, winner of last year’s Basil Sellers Art Prize and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, said he wanted to thank everyone who had worked tirelessly on bringing the artwork to fruition.
“Over the past two years I’ve embarked on an incredible journey to realise this artwork,” Mr Albert said.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to work with the Indigenous community on this incredibly important monument.
“Yininmadyemi is for all our brave service men and women, who fought for this country before even being recognised as citizens.
“It’s my hope that this monument plays a broader role in recognising the efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women and is embraced by the community as a powerful place for contemplation and remembrance.”
（Source: City of Sydney）