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Type: Thesis
Title: “Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out”: The Acknowledgement of Indigenous First World War Service in Australian and New Zealand National Commemorations, 1918-2019
Author: Caines, Rachel Brigitte
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : History
Abstract: This thesis explores the extent to which Indigenous Australian and Māori First World War service has been acknowledged in national sites of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand over the past century. Between 1918 and 2019, the national commemorative landscapes in Australia and New Zealand evolved to accommodate changing national values and priorities. The thesis argues that the development of different Indigenous-non-Indigenous race relations in Australia and New Zealand ultimately informed the extent to which Indigenous First World War service was acknowledged at a national level. In New Zealand, some Pākehā acceptance of Māori society and culture at the outbreak of the First World War facilitated the active involvement of Māori in the conflict. As this limited acceptance developed into an official policy of biculturalism (albeit in an asymmetrical form), the acknowledgement of Māori war service was increasingly incorporated into mainstream national sites of commemoration. In Australia, by 1914 a broad national policy of exclusion and isolation of Indigenous Australians resulted in governmental restriction surrounding their participation in the First World War. Although official national attitudes towards Indigenous Australians changed with social and political developments from the 1960s onwards, by the beginning of the twenty-first century Australia’s race relations with its Indigenous peoples remained strained and unresolved. The lack of a clear “bicultural” policy with regards to the inclusion, recognition, and representation of Indigenous Australians restricted the extent to which their First World War service has been acknowledged at a national level. While historians have increasingly explored aspects of Indigenous Australian and Māori participation in the First World War and their subsequent inclusion in commemorations of conflict, the field remains small. In particular, comparisons between the two countries remain unusual, despite the inherently comparative nature of their First World War commemorations. By adopting a comparative approach, this thesis breaks new ground and provides a thorough discussion of the extent structural and institutional policies regarding race-relations have impacted the commemoration of Indigenous Australians. This thesis utilises a range of material, including military personnel files, committee minutes, floorplans, ephemera, newspaper articles, interviews with museum professionals, and the physical sites of commemoration themselves. Following the Introduction, Chapter I provides an overview of the extent of Indigenous Australian and Māori participation on the war. In particular, it focuses on the ways in which official national policies regarding Indigenous war service evolved between 1914 and 1918, and the way these policies impacted the nature of Indigenous participation in the conflict. Chapters II through IV then examine how Indigenous war service has been acknowledged in the key sites of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand: days of remembrance (II), war memorials (III), and war museums (IV). The thesis concludes with a discussion of the importance of Australia and New Zealand’s differing policies towards their Indigenous populations in shaping the ways in which Indigenous war service has been acknowledged at a national level. It also shows why the findings of this thesis are relevant beyond the end of the First World War centenary.
Advisor: Foster, Robert
Pritchard, Gareth
Prior, Robin
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MPhil) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2020
Keywords: First World War
Indigenous Australians
war memorials
days of remembrance
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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