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Last resting places of First Nations veterans to be recognised in South Australia 

Callan Morse -
sa

First Nations veterans whose graves remain unmarked or are in need of repair will continue to be appropriately maintained and commemorated in South Australia.

It comes as the South Australian Government announces funding of $72,000 to extend Aboriginal Veterans South Australia's Grave Dedication Project.

Aboriginal Veterans South Australia's co-chair Frank Lampard said the project appropriately acknowledges the sacrifice that First Nations people made whilst serving in Australia's armed forces.

"Through the Grave Dedication Project, we are successfully raising awareness within local communities about the service and sacrifice of First Nations people," he said.

Aboriginal Veterans South Australia co-chairs Ian Smith & Frank Lampard. Image: Megan Spencer.

"We are currently researching dozens of veterans and thank the South Australian Government for their support that will ensure these local heroes will be given the respectful resting place they deserve."

The project has completed grave updates and dedications to seven First Nations veterans since it's establishment in 2016.

They included World War One veteran Miller Mack, a Ngarrindjeri man whose remains were relocated to south-east of Adelaide's Raukkan Aboriginal Cemetery in the Coorong.

South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Kyam Maher said the project gives First Nations veterans and their families the recognition they deserve.

"Having been at the reinterment of World War One Ngarrindjeri veteran, Private Miller Mack, back on Raukkan Country, I know firsthand how important this is for Aboriginal communities."

"I'm delighted and moved by all efforts to recognise the often-unsung courage and comradeship of Aboriginal veterans.

Ngarrindjeri man private Miller Mack served in the Australian Imperial Force's 50th Infantry Battalion during World War One. Image: Australian War Memorial.

"This is part of the Australian story, and I commend Aboriginal Veterans South Australia and others for their ongoing work with and support for veterans' families and local communities."

The project engages families of veterans and the Aboriginal community, ex-service organisations and the wider community when holding local grave dedication ceremonies.

South Australian Minister for Regional Roads Geoff Brock said the project and associated ceremonies respects the service of First Nations people in Australia's military history.

"First Nations people have made significant contributions to our service history, having enlisted and served in every war and peacekeeping mission Australia has been in since the Boer War," he said.

"There are many First Nations veterans across the country who have remained in unmarked graves, and I am pleased that the State Government can support the important work of the Grave Dedication Project to ensure that their final resting place is culturally appropriate and suitably marked in recognition of their service."

As part of the project, Aborignal Veterans South Australia will also engage local schools to share stories of local First Nations veterans with students, encouraging a stronger understanding of Aboriginal culture, tradition, and service among younger generations.

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