HMAS Stirling celebrates NAIDOC Week

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), ABIS Chris Beerens (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, Western Australia

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags are hoisted alongside the Australian White Ensign at the NAIDOC Week Ceremonial Colours held at HMAS Stirling. (photo: ABIS Chris Beerens)
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags are hoisted alongside the Australian White Ensign at the NAIDOC Week Ceremonial Colours held at HMAS Stirling.

Personnel from HMAS Stirling mustered on a breezy quarterdeck on 8 July for a ceremonial Colours event as part of NAIDOC Week.

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Angela Bond said NAIDOC Week was an opportunity to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women, both past and present.

“Historical Indigenous representation in the Australian Defence Force occurred prior to Federation, with Indigenous personnel first serving in the colonial forces during the Boer War,” she said.

“Since then, this representation has continued through the First World War, into the Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam as well as modern era conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

“Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented in all three services and their commitment has been acknowledged at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.”

Ship’s Warrant Officer William Nicol said this year’s NAIDOC Week theme of We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate highlights the strong spiritual and cultural connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the land and sea.

“This is also an opportunity for all Australians to pay their respects to country, and to honour those who work tirelessly to preserve traditional culture,” he said.

During the ceremony, both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were raised alongside the Australian White Ensign.

NAIDOC Week 2015 runs from 5-12 July and provides an opportunity for all Australians to recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people and the valuable contributions they continue to make to Australia.