Aboriginal recruit sworn in

Published by The Secretary on


THERE was a large gathering in front of the [ Brisbane General ] Post Office yesterday [ 24 May 1917 ], when many strong appeals were made for recruits.

A feature of the proceedings was the swearing in of an Aboriginal recruit by Chaplain Garland [ David John Garland ], and a march past of a small body of mounted troops, including 15 dusky [ sic ] warriors who had offered their services to the Empire and had been accepted.

A small piece of a German Zeppelin, which was brought down by Lieutenant Robinson VC [ William Leefe Robinson ], who lost his life, was offered by auction and realised £10, which is to go to the Australian War Nurses’ Fund.

Several other donations were also handed in.

Chaplain Garland said that Kaffirs [ sic ] and other coloured races [ sic ] were fighting in Europe, and it was a disgrace to those who believed in a white Australia, and would not allow a coloured man to work here, that they should be content to allow the coloured races to fight for them.

Such things would not be if they had any sense of shame at all.

He did not wish to advocate conscription, but rather to raise such a public spirit that there would be no smile for any eligible man not in khaki who walked down Queen-street.

In England the women were doing men’s work, and the same thing would have to come in Australia, so that more men could be released for active service.

— from page 8 of “The Daily Standard” (Brisbane) of 25 May 1917.