Coloured Diggers ANZAC Day March

(2.15pm, Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills)

Thank you, Mark, [Spinks] and good afternoon, everyone.

I'm proud once again to join you all for the annual Coloured Diggers March to recognise all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women who have served, or are now serving Australia.

I am especially proud this year as we have fulfilled our promise to formally recognise their immense contribution - a contribution that was ignored for far too long.

The establishment of the Coloured Diggers Anzac Day March by Babana Men's Group and the ATSI Veteran's Association began bringing that gap in Australia's story to wider attention. At about the same time, the City's own consultations with our Sydney community brought our attention to what we were told was an emptiness at the heart of our City - the failure to recognise the rich indigenous story, and its continuing presence in the heart of our City.

Together, these two promptings brought us the Eora Journey, an indigenous trail through the contemporary city to recognise its historic and continuing connections through a series of seven art works, some of which have already been unveiled.

Just a few weeks ago, the most recent - Girramay artist Tony Albert's Yininmadjemi [yin-nin-mad-jemi] was dedicated in Hyde Park, honouring all those who have served Australia in times of war.

We deliberately chose a prominent city site, in Hyde Park, near by the Anzac Memorial - a site that resonates both for its association with the Anzac Memorial and also - for millennia before that - as a ritual contest ground, an important site for ceremony, and a cross roads for traditional walking tracks.

Tony has created a very striking and impressive work, inspired by the story of his grandfather, Eddie Albert, and six fellow-soldiers who escaped from a PoW camp in Germany during World War II.

The four standing bullets represent those who survived, while three fallen shells represent those who did not.

Some of you were at the official unveiling and I hope everyone who could not be there will go into Elizabeth Street to see it and pay your own tribute to those brave men and women.

I thank everyone involved in making sure that their story is at least being told and everyone who honours it through this annual Coloured Diggers March.