Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

HISTORY WEEK Black Diggers: Patriots or Political Activists?

Event Information

  • 10 Sep 2015 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Sydney CBD
  • New South Wales
Other Information
  • Cost: Free and open to the public

In recent years, the experience of Aboriginal soldiers in WWI has been subsumed into the nationalist grand narrative Anzac legend but it was, of course, far more complex.


As Wesley Enoch’s theater production Black Diggers has recently shown, Aboriginal military service in the First World War was a multilayered historical experience that is intimately tied to histories of dispossession and the Aboriginal political struggle for change.


Jessica Horton explores the questions archival evidence raises about Aboriginal people’s war time experience, their political struggle for change and the meaning of this military service for individuals, communities and the nation.


About the Guest Speaker


Jessica Horton is completing a history PhD at La Trobe University about the letter writing of Aboriginal people in Victoria in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. She has published academic articles on this subject in History Australia and the Journal of Australian Studies. Currently, she is working on a project for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria collating research material about Aboriginal men who enlisted in the First World War.


FREE & Open to the Public