On 31st March 2015, members from the Harbour City Ferries Bungaree – Muru Group attended the official launch of the memorial YININMADYEMI: Thou didst let fall.
The artwork by Tony Albert, a Girramay man from North Queensland, created a memorial for all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Diggers. It tells a story of his Grandfather, Eddie Albert who became a prisoner of war in WWII. He escaped and was recaptured with six other prisoners of war. Three of the seven were immediately executed. Eddie Albert survived and the artwork of 7 bullets, 4 standing upright and 3 spent casings scattered remembers this terrible tragedy of war
When at war, in the armed forces, everyone was a mate and it didn’t matter what colour you were. However, on returning, the Coloured Diggers were not recognised for their service and were discriminated against. They were not even allowed to march on ANZAC Day or enter an RSL Club at the time. It reminded Eddie when he returned home to Australia that ‘Bullets do not discriminate.’
The ceremony was very moving with many dignitaries and Aboriginal Elders addressing the large crowd that had gathered to pay their respects. Some of the special guests included, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney. His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AL DSC (Retired) Governor of NSW. Uncle Chicka Madden performed the Welcome to Country. The highlight for many was the address from Trisha Albert (Eddie’s Daughter) which brought many to tears hearing of the struggle experienced by her father.
Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group who have a strong relationship with Harbour City Ferries were a driving force behind the endorsement by the City of Sydney for the development of the structure and memorial.
The Harbour City Ferries Bungaree – Muru Group were invited to lay a wreath at the memorial site at the end of the service. All members stood out in the Harbour City Ferries uniform as they slowly walked through the crowd as one to the memorial site to where the wreath was to be laid. The group with heads bowed we stood briefly together in respect for our family and all Coloured Diggers that have served our country. This was a very emotional and spiritual moment for all members attending the memorial.
The Bungaree – Muru members that attended included, Larissa Minniecon, Dean Wallan, Jason Jewiss, Jayden Donato, Craig Lock, Mark Champley, Tim Martel, and Ossie Ryan. The group were strongly supported by their Harbour City Ferries colleagues, Nicola Wikramanayake our Events Coordinator and Jayne Cheeseman our Digital Marketing Coordinator also in attendance. Feedback of those who represented Harbour City Ferries and the Bungaree – Muru Group walked away feeling deep honour and respect for all our fallen soldiers, a moment they will never forget.
Authors: Larissa Minniecon & Mark Champley