Serving Our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in defence of Australia

Research theme: 
Project status: 

Serving Our Country is a four year research project that explores the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service in Australian defence and auxiliary services from the 1890s to 2000. This national project brings major agencies dealing with veterans, their families and their stories, memorialisation and current defence personnel into collaboration with key collecting and exhibiting institutions.

Partnerships between leading scholars and Indigenous families will address calls for recognition of their significant defence roles. This project will identify and research new collections, then deliver accessible scholarly and popular outcomes, including biographies and family narratives to illuminate the Australian history of race, nation, service and citizenship.

Serving Our Country is administered by the Australian National University, with Lead Chief Investigator Dr Mick Dodson (NCIS). It has a team of Chief Investigators from collaborating organisations including the Australian National University, University of Newcastle, Australian Catholic University and AIATSIS. It is a linkage project with partner organisations (Industry) - Department of Veterans Affairs, The Department of Defence, The Australian War Memorial, and the National Archives of Australia.

Visit the Our Mob Served website for more information and the latest updates.

Impact statement

The project aims to:

  • Link a team of skilled researchers with Indigenous communities in an ethical and collaborative history relationship; and,
  • provide accessible and timely history outcomes and add value to existing National Archive Collections.

Project team

  • Professor Mick Dodson AM - Chief Investigator (National Centre For Indigenous Studies, ANU)
  • Professor Joan Beaumont - Chief Investigator (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU)
  • Dr Allison Cadzow - Research Associate (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU)
  • Dr Samuel Furphy - Chief Investigator (National Centre of Biography, ANU)
  • Professor John Maynard - Chief Investigator (Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Mary Anne Jebb - Chief Investigator (Australian Institute Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies)
  • Dr Noah Riseman - Chief Investigator (School of Arts and Sciences, ACU)
  • Dr Geoffrey Gray - Chief Investigator (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU)
  • Mr Craig Greene - Serving Our Country Community Consultations Coordinator (National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU)
  • Ms Kate Macfarlane - Serving Our Country Project Coordinator (National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU)
  • Mr Alexander Hayes - Serving Our Country Web Developer (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU)

Research team


Australian Catholic University logo
Australian Defence Force coat of arms
Australian National University
Department of Veteran Affairs coat of arms
qantas logo
University of Newcastle logo
Australian War Memorial logo
National Archives of Australia logo
Last reviewed: 6 Oct 2016