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Townsville shines a light on Torres Strait’s military service

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) joined community to honour the 80th Anniversary of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion in Townsville on the weekend (Sunday 23 April).

Community members of all walks of life, from veterans to descendants including young children and families, together paid tribute to Australia’s first – and only – all-Indigenous unit.

During World War II, Horn Island in the Torres Strait was among the frontline of Australia’s defence and the second most attacked location after Darwin.

Guest speaker TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM, a Royal Australian Navy Veteran, said the event acknowledged the important role of the Torres Strait and its people.

“It is a privilege to play a part in recognising this contribution which saw nearly every Torres Strait Islander man in the region leave their families and islands to protect this nation,” Mr Stephen said.

“More than 800 men from across the Torres Strait put up their hand to courageously defend our country in the Second World War.

“While Torres Strait Islanders became equals on the battlefield, they remained without equal pay, a vote or recognition as citizens at the time.”

Mr Stephen said truth-telling was important towards building awareness of the nation’s shared history.

“It is up to all of us – as descendants of soldiers, as Torres Strait Islanders, as Australians – to shine a light on our story,” he said.

“On ANZAC Day and beyond, we pay our deep respects to past servicemen and women and those who stand side-by-side to serve and protect our country today.”

TSRA also proudly supported commemorations on Waiben (Thursday Island) last month.

For more information about the TSRA visit www.tsra.gov.au or follow us on Facebook.

  • Townsville shines a light on Torres Strait's military service
  • Townsville shines a light on Torres Strait's military service
  • Townsville shines a light on Torres Strait's military service
  • Townsville shines a light on Torres Strait's military service

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