Veterans’ exhibition arrives at JCU
A long-running exhibition featuring photographs of Indigenous veterans is set to inspire and educate James Cook University students as they return to campus.
10 photo banners from the Serving Country exhibition, each featuring a veteran, are now on display at JCU’s Indigenous Education and Research Centre on the Bebegu Yumba Campus in Townsville.
JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy, Professor Martin Nakata said the exhibition was a powerful reminder of the service of Indigenous people across many generations in defence of Australia.
“The men and women featured in this display each have an inspirational story to tell that was forged by hard work, mateship and sacrifice,” he said.
“From conflicts in South Africa and Gallipoli through to Afghanistan and Iraq, Indigenous Australians have always been there to answer the call to defend our nation.
“We are honoured to host part of this exhibition at JCU and we hope the exhibition inspires our students.”
More than 200 veterans were photographed by Belinda Mason and Dieter Knierim for the exhibition, which has been featured at various locations across Australia since 2014.
Exhibition organiser Therese Cowley said the display was especially timely considering March 17 would mark the 80th anniversary of the raising of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion on Thursday Island during World War 2.
“We have many direct descendants of the Torres Strait Light Infantry living in Townsville,” she said.
“They were frontline soldiers and defended our northernmost borders from the Japanese during the war.”
Ms Cowley, who herself has familial ties to the famed Battalion as well as three family members currently serving in the Australian Defence Force, said she had no doubt students would be emotionally moved by the portraits on display.
“Being able to unwrap each portrait and observing the medals each veteran displayed on their chest gave me chills,” she said.
“Just to see how far they’ve gone in their journey and what they’ve sacrificed to defend freedom in this country, it’s a powerful story.
“For the students, I hope it encourages them to follow their dreams and become our next generation of leaders.”
The banners will be rotated with others from sites across Townsville each month.
The exhibition at JCU will been on display until the end of May.
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