Anzac Day 2013

The first NSW memorial commemorating the war service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women could be placed in Hyde Park in time for Anzac Day 2015 - the centenary of Australia's involvement in World War I.

The City is seeking proposals from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists for the memorial, which will occupy a prominent position in Hyde Park South.

The Eora Journey Public Art Working Group, which includes members of the City's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, has recommended the Hyde Park site.

Council's unanimous decision to proceed with the memorial as a priority project of the Eora Journey in June 2012 follows extensive advocacy by the Coloured Diggers Project.

The Project was established in 2006 by the Babana Aboriginal Men's Group and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans and Services Association to honour, recognise and respect Indigenous soldiers and their families.

It may never be known how many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women served in the Australian Defence Force and auxiliary forces, as ethnicity wasn't documented when people enlisted.

In March 2007, the Coloured Diggers held their first Anzac Day March in 2007 when they led several hundred people along Redfern Street, in Redfern.

Tomorrow I will join the Coloured Diggers in Redfern for their seventh Anzac Day commemorative service and community gathering. Earlier in the day I will be attending the Dawn Service at Martin Place, and the Mustard Seed community service in Pyrmont, before welcoming the "Under 16s" at Town Hall for the Anzac Day March.

The "Under 16s" were a group of brave young soldiers who were only 14 or 15 at the time of the war and who lied about their age so that they could protect our country. I have arranged seating near Town Hall and hosted a reception for this group since 2007 as they were too weak to continue taking part in the march.

The courage and sacrifice of all of those who served is remarkable, but these men, who were boys when they enlisted, are truly extraordinary. I always find sharing Anzac Day with them a moving experience.

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