STAND UP: Abbey Townsend creates awareness at the Anzac Day service.
STAND UP: Abbey Townsend creates awareness at the Anzac Day service. Meg Bolton

Abbey wants more respect for indigenous history on Anzac Day

AMONG the sea of blue and khaki at the Laidley Anzac Day parade stood Abbey Townsend, dressed in the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

Pinned to her back was a sign that read "Remembering Australia's Frontier Wars 1788-1934”.

The ceremony was one of the first times the newly relocated Laidley resident stood in solidarity at an Anzac Day parade. In previous years, Miss Townsend marched with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was formed in protest of a government decision regarding land rights in 1972 and is used by activists to advocate for Aboriginal rights.

On Anzac Day the group marches for acknowledgement.

STAND UP: Laidley Anzac Day service Abbey Townsend stands in solidarity dressed in indigenous colours to create awareness for Australia's broader history.
STAND UP: Laidley Anzac Day service Abbey Townsend stands in solidarity dressed in indigenous colours to create awareness for Australia's broader history. Meg Bolton

While the Aboriginal Tent Embassy's presence at Anzac Day marches was originally met with hostility and refusal, when Miss Townsend marched in Canberra they had a police guard.

In Laidley, she championed the cause solo.

Miss Townsend said her gesture was met with no hostility.

She was proud to stand up for what she believed.

She said the sentiment was a bid to broaden people's awareness of Australia's war history.

"Historically, Indigenous people and their plight in the country has very much been lost in Anzac Day,” Miss Townsend said.

"It's important to recognise Australia's true history and keep broadening people's perspectives.”

Miss Townsend said she had every respect for Anzac Day and those who had given the ultimate sacrifice for the country, but thought Australia's broader war history should be acknowledged.

"War did occur in the country and while they mightn't have looked like the other wars that happened there was still a great deal of violence,” she said.

"I don't think we should forget that did occur.”

Miss Townsend has a strong history of connecting with Indigenous members of the community and she hopes to continue the tradition in the Lockyer Valley.


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