Home' Army News : July 21st 2011 Contents 8 NAIDOC WEEK
Army July 21, 2011
By Spr Nick Wiseman
SERVING Australia is a family tradi-
tion for LCpl Edward Hodge and this
month he has the privilege of serving
both his country and his heritage as an
Commanding the catafalque party at
the memorial service in Canberra, LCpl
Hodge said NAIDOC Week was an
important event on the calendar.
“It’s a week where we get to cel-
ebrate our culture and history,” LCpl
Hodge said. “I also commanded the
party last year and I try to attend or do
something each year.”
Originating from north-
east Tasmania, LCpl Hodge is a
direct descendant of a man called
Manalargenna — chief of the Cape
LCpl Hodge has served more than
six years in the Army and said he loved
being a member of the ADF.
“My family are proud that I represent
the indigenous community as part of the
ADF,” LCpl Hodge said.
“It’s very important for indigenous
Australians to serve, especially in the
northern areas of Australia such as the
regional force surveillance units.”
Two relatives of LCpl Hodge served
and were killed in action at Gallipoli
with three more serving there and further
on into France.
This makes up a small percentage of
his family’s significant military history,
which spans seven generations.
Posted to Australia’s Federation
Guard, he had the opportunity this year
to travel to Gallipoli for the Anzac Day
service, and said it was an incredible
feeling to visit the place where some of
his family members had served.
DEFENCE support to NAIDOC
Week 2011 was marked for the
first time by an historic flag raising
ceremony on July 3.
Pte Ray Solinas, a driver posted
to 2HSB, became the first Aboriginal
soldier to raise the Aboriginal flag
between the ANF and the triservice
ensign at Blamey Square, Russell
Offices in Canberra.
Pte Solinas raised the flag along-
side AB William Mabo who raised
the Torres Strait Islander flag at the
Both flags flew for the entire
NAIDOC Week between July 3-10.
Pte Solinas said his chain of com-
mand was “very supportive” of him
having this opportunity.
“As an Aboriginal soldier it
makes me very proud to contribute in
this way and to see the flags flying,”
Pte Solinas said.
“NAIDOC Week is a great
opportunity to recognise Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islanders around
Australia by educating people about
our culture and history.”
NAIDOC Week is held each July
with events across Australia to cele-
brate the history, culture and achieve-
ments of indigenous Australians.
Historic occasion: Pte Ray Solinas, 2HSB, and AB William Mabo raise the
Aboriginal flag at Blamey Square, Russell Offices.
Photo by Maj Deb Warren-Smith
Proud soldier: LCpl Edward Hodge reflects on his Aboriginal ancestry at a
service at the Australian War Memorial.
Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
a family tradition
The theme this year is “Change:
the next step is ours”. It is about tak-
ing control to plan and taking action
to make the future happen.
Speaking at the memorial service
held at the Australian War Memorial,
VCDF Air-Mshl Mark Binskin said
it was a time to remember all past-
serving indigenous servicemen and
“We also give thanks for the ser-
vice of those currently serving in
the defence of our nation,” Air-Mshl
“We welcome the next generation
of indigenous Australians who con-
tinue to join our ranks.”
Australia’s Federation Guard
member AB Bradley Burnett said he
was proud to be an indigenous serv-
“I think it is great that the ADF
celebrates NAIDOC Week and recog-
nises the indigenous people serving
Australia,” AB Burnett said.
“Being in the public eye as part
of the AFG shows the public there
are indigenous members within
Official NAIDOC Week products
were handed out at various locations
in Canberra by Defence Indigenous
Senior Indigenous Recruitment
Officer WO1 Colin Watego was also
asked to deliver the NAIDOC Week
keynote address to DVA senior staff
and invited guests about his own per-
Director-General Fairness and
Resolution John Diercks encouraged
all Defence Indigenous personnel
to self-identify on PMKeyS in order
to deliver effective policies, pro-
grams and initiatives for Indigenous
More information on NAIDOC Week celebra-
tions is online at www.naidoc.org.au
The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee week was held from July 3-10. Spr Nick Wiseman
takes a look at activities held to recognise the contribution of indigenous Australians in the ADF.
Flying NAIDOCC flag
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