'One hundred years ago, in 1914, a bullet from an assassin’s gun in Sarajevo sparked a war that ignited the globe. Patriotic young men all over the world lined up to join the fight – including hundreds of Indigenous Australians.
Shunned and downtrodden in their own country – and in fact banned by their own government from serving in the military – Aboriginal men stepped up to enlist. Undaunted, these bold souls took up arms to defend the free world in its time of greatest need. For them, facing the horror of war on a Gallipoli beach was an escape from the shackles of racism at home, at a time when Aboriginal people stood by, segregated, unable to vote, unable to act as their children were ripped from them. When the survivors came back from the war, there was no heroes’ welcome – just a shrug, and a return to drudgery and oppression.
Black Diggers is the story of these men – a story of honour and sacrifice that has been covered up and almost forgotten.
Directed by Wesley Enoch and written by Tom Wright, Black Diggers is the culmination of painstaking research into the lives and deaths of the thousand or so Indigenous soldiers who fought for the British Commonwealth in World War I.
Grand in scale and scope, it draws from in-depth interviews with the families of black Diggers who heard the call to arms from all over Australia, as well as conversations with veterans, historians and academics. Young men will step from the blank pages of history to share their compelling stories – and after the curtain falls, we will finally remember them.' (Source: QPAC 'What's On', September 2014)
Produced by Sydney Festival & Queensland Theatre Company in association with the Balnaves Foundation.
World premiere at the Sydney Festival January 2014.
Performed at the Queensland Theatre Company (Playhouse), 24 September to 12 October 2014.
Director: Wesley Enoch.
Set Designer: Stephen Curtis.
Costume Designer: Ruby Langton-Batty.
Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes.
Composer/Sound Designer: Tony Brumpton.
Dramaturg: Louise Gough.
Cultural Consultant: George Bostock.
Researcher: David Williams.
Cast: Luke Carroll, George Bostock, David Page, Hunter Page-Lochard, Guy Simon, Colin Smith, Eliah Watego, Meyne Wyatt, and Tibian Wyles.
Black Diggers Indigenous Reference Group: Uncle Harry Allie, Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM, Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA, Pastor Ray Minniecon, Gary Oakley, Garth O’Connell, and Colin Watego.
'Academic interest in Australia’s heritage field has developed primarily around the ways its subject has been used to support dominant national interests. Understandings of heritage, however, are increasingly shaped by developments occurring in other nation-states, as well as those occurring at the international level. This article considers the changing nature of Australian notions of heritage within the context of the ‘transnational turn’. It does so in two ways. First, the article traces talk of transnationalism at a general level, considering especially theorisations around a materialist understanding of memory. Second, it considers what new representations of the past such a theorisation might call forth in the Australian context. As a point of illustration, the article focuses on the specific case of Australian war memories and their articulation within the heritage field.'
Source: Sage Publications.
'Aboriginal soldiers' stories are finally being told...'