In the culmination of a four-year project, Queensland shall finally erect a War Memorial dedicated to those Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders who have served our country or have paid the ultimate sacrifice. In late May, it was revealed that Sculpt Studios had been chosen to design the memorial, which shall be built in ANZAC Square.
Corporate Protection Australia Group’s own liaison with the Indigenous Community, Lorraine Hatton, is Co-Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee Queensland Incorporated (ATSIDMCQI). This committee has sought the support of community and government in realising its goal, with patron support from Dame Quentin Bryce and Dr Noel Hayman, and the added support and partnership with Griffith University.
Lorraine reported that, of four submitted concepts, the winning design was that of Sculpt Studios lead artists, Liam Hardy supported by John Smith Gumbula. They describe their concept for the memorial as:
‘Intended to be instantly recognizable by all viewers as a Memorial commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women that fought for Australia in all wars, conflicts and peace operations. The Memorial Sculpture will bridge the culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their contributions to our shared military history.’
Liam Hardy told the Brisbane Times that ‘the brief provided by the ATSIDMCQI was to “shed light on a previously untold history of Indigenous service men and women in the war effort and the people who died in that effort”’. John Smith Gumbula remarked this project is, to him, ‘very powerful and very emotional’.
The statue itself is a representation of Indigenous engagement in the variou branches of the armed forces, and two figures—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respectively—emitting energies of spiritual protection for those at war. The figure at the forefront of the work looks to the sky for the safeguard of his ancestors.
Indigenous Australians have served in every major war of which Australia has been a part: 500 in the Boer war, 1000 in WWI, and 3000 in WWII. For much of this past century, their service and their sacrifice have been downplayed, diminished, or otherwise ignored, to the ignominy of the Australian Government, by the Australian public at large.
This statue offers to show, at long last, the honour and respect owed those whose contributions have, for so long, gone unrecognised.
Lorraine mentioned that the project is still a work in progress, and may require some slight alterations prior to its construction in bronze in ANZAC Square, to be completed, hopefully, by the end of 2018.
ATSIDMCQI is a volunteer-led committee seeking community, corporate and government support to fund the design, construction and installation of the memorial. Griffith’s Development and Alumni team plays a key role in supporting ATSIDMCQI during its current fundraising campaign.
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