With legendary Les Beckett on harmonica, pastor Ray Minniecon performs a haunting version of Amazing Grace to recent footage of the main Anzac Day march in Sydney’s CBD, the indigenous march in nearby Redfern and, Darbys Falls in the Central West of NSW.
The poem below is by Sapper Bert Beros, a non-Aboriginal soldier in World War Two. It was written about Private West – one of his Aboriginal comrades.
“The Coloured Digger”
He came and joined the colours, when the War God’s anvil rang,
He took up modern weapons to replace his boomerang,
He waited for no call-up, he didn’t need a push,
He came in from the stations, and the townships of the bush.
He helped when help was wanting, just because he wasn’t deaf;
He is right amongst the columns of the fighting A.I.F.
He is always there when wanted, with his Owen gun or Bren,
He is in the forward area, the place where men are men.
He proved he’s still a warrior, in action not afraid,
He faced the blasting red-hot fire from mortar and grenade;
He didn’t mind when food was low, or we were getting thin,
He didn’t growl or worry then, he’d cheer us with his grin.
He’d heard us talk democracy, They preach it to his face
Yet knows that in our Federal House there’s no one of his race.
He feels we push his kinsmen out, where cities do not reach,
And Parliament has yet to hear the Aborigine’s maiden speech.
One day he’ll leave the Army, then join the League he shall,
And he hope’s we’ll give a better deal to the Aboriginal.