Firstly, lets’s dispense with the fallacy that Aboriginals were prevented from enlisting in WW1 and onwards. “Exempt” from compulsory training and service is not the same as “prevented”. I’ve already dealt with this myth here.
As for the claim about being denied access to soldier settlement schemes, perhaps Libraries Tasmania (and other interested parties) should speak to the ABC. They have found a couple of successful Aboriginal applicants.
In Victoria, from 78,000 returned servicemen, 11,000 applied for soldier settlement allocations.
Of the successful applicants, only two were Indigenous: Percy Pepper, a Gunaikurnai man from Gippsland in eastern Victoria and George Winter McDonald of Gunditjmara descent, from the south-east of the state.‘They were back to being black’: The land withheld from returning Indigenous soldiers
Their major gripe is that not enough got them, not that they weren’t eligible. I see absolutely no proof of discrimination here, just conjecture.
Nationally, there was a mere handful of successful Indigenous applicants for soldier settlement blocks…
The soldier settlement scheme and its detailed documentation in thousands of official files in archives across the country tells an unpalatable story of an earlier Australia riven by racism.‘They were back to being black’: The land withheld from returning Indigenous soldiers
The Australian War Memorial even puts the boot with its “Classroom Resources” for teachers and children:
Ok, here’s an unpalatable truth from the original Soldier Settlement files in Victoria. This from the last report in 1950 (applications had a five year limit from RTA).
So let’s be clear.
- 14,008 Applications were received
- 12,565 of these appeared before the classification board
- 9,638 were considered suitable/experienced enough for farm ownership, and
- Only 1,321 actual allotments were made available over the five-year period.
The exact number of Aboriginal Diggers is not actually known, but it is without question significantly less than those of other ethnic backgrounds. The figures above indicate clearly that many white Diggers (equally deserving) missed out on allotments, too.
Some Aboriginals were successful applicants, which, in and of itself, destroys the ‘denied access’ claims.
As for “not enough”, the figures speak for themselves.
More mathematics and probability, than racism.