Monday, 13 September 2021
Belmont War Memorial Plaque Recognises Contribution of First Nation Peoples
A plaque which honours First Nation men and women who lived in the Belmont area and served in the Armed Forces was unveiled at Belmont War Memorial in Faulkner Park at a special NAIDOC event held by the City of Belmont.
Believed to be the first of its kind, the plaque honours and recognises the contribution made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women.
The plaque, made possible through a Veteran’s Affairs Grant, was unveiled on 13 September.
“For a long time the contribution and service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was not acknowledged, and this plaque is evidence of our commitment to recognise all those people who defended our country,” City of Belmont Mayor Cr Phil Marks said.
“This plaque will take pride of place on the City’s Belmont War Memorial for all to observe,” Mayor Marks said.
“I would like to acknowledge Aboriginal elder and a member of our Aboriginal Advisory Group Norma Morrison, along with Alan Richardson, President Belmont RSL Sub-branch, for working together to achieve this important addition to the Memorial and our City.”
Belmont RSL Sub-branch president Alan Richardson said it was important all people who served in the Armed Forces be recognised.
The plaque’s inscription reads: “This plaque is here to recognise and honour the men and women from the First Nation Peoples who lived in the Belmont area and served in the Armed Forces including those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of their country. We honour those who served and remind all that together we are one in the defence of our country”. It also includes The Ode in Noongar and English.
Ms Morrison said she was pleased to see the plaque go on Belmont War Memorial. Her late father Arthur Morrison enlisted in the Australian Army during World War II, serving in several regiments before eventually being held in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp for more than 3 years.
It is his story and the many others of First Nation people that were the driving force behind the commemorative plaque.
Ms Morrison said she hoped the plaque would be the start of other initiatives that acknowledged and documented the service of First Nation Peoples.
A flag raising ceremony was also held as part of the official unveiling of the plaque at Belmont War Memorial to be attended by the RSL and other invited dignitaries.
“The unveiling of this plaque is a sign of our maturity as a nation - that we acknowledge the past so we can learn and heal from it – just as this year’s NAIDOC theme suggests,” Mayor Marks said.