FOR COUNTRY, FOR NATION: A young Reg Saunders surrounded by his mates of the 2/7th Battalion, AIF, in Queensland in 1943.
FOR COUNTRY, FOR NATION: A young Reg Saunders surrounded by his mates of the 2/7th Battalion, AIF, in Queensland in 1943. Courtesy:Australian War Memorial

Military exhibition explores First Nation people's stories

THE Australian War Memorials first exhibition dedicated exclusively to exploring the military service stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is set to open at the Glasshouse Regional Gallery in Port Macquarie.

The touring exhibition - For Country, For Nation comes to the Glasshouse from Saturday, October 5.

Port Macquarie is one of 11 stops for the exhibition in a tour which will take it right across Australia and take three years to complete.

Acting War Memorial Exhibitions Head Suzanne Myers said For Country, for Nation would guide visitors through six different themes designed to tell the story of Australia's Indigenous service history.

"Unlike other exhibitions at the Memorial, the stories will be told from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with many shared through first-person voice," Ms Myers said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a long-standing tradition of fighting for Country, and continue to serve with honour among the military forces.

They have also worked in ancillary, industry, and other home-front activities, and their communities have been thrust into the front line of theatres of war.

The touring exhibition highlights these stories and explores themes of remembrance and tradition through family histories, objects, art, and photographs from across Australia, drawing inspiration from cultural traditions and symbols of warrior's discipline, knowledge, leadership, and skill.

The exhibition features more than 30 artists, with 48 art works in the display.

Also featured are two installations by Victorian-based weavers Aunty Glenda Nicholls and Aunty Clair Bates.

Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson, said For Country, for Nation was one of the most significant exhibitions developed by the Memorial in recent times.

"It is hard for non-Indigenous Australians to imagine the world as Indigenous Australians saw it, but we must," Dr Nelson said.

"They have served in every conflict this country has engaged in and they continue to do so with pride and professionalism, which is nothing short of inspiring.

"This exhibition is an opportunity to honour their service."

For Country, for Nation runs from October 5 through to November 17 at the Glasshouse Gallery.


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