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Uncle Norm Newlin
Worrami (NSW ) Retired Private Assault Pioneer Support Company
Royal Australian Regiment
During the First World War, my relatives were in the Army and they served in the Middle East, and my brother-in-law was in the Second World War. I also had cousins that were in the Air Force during the Second World War. The army was what I aspired to be. I liked the slouch hat, I thought it was great, I used to wear it with a bit of panache. In 1951 I put my age up a year and filled in the paperwork for the first intake of National Service. After three months I then applied for the regular Army. I didn't tell them I was Aboriginal, I wanted to be a soldier, and I was accepted.
When you were in the Army you were treated as an equal and I thought this was great. It was probably the first time in my life that I was treated like an equal, people treated me as Norman and it was wonderful.
To be discriminated against, treated badly and then want to wear the country's uniform? We are, and must be the most gentlest people in the world, because even though we resisted invasion, massacres and being badly treated, we could hate, hate, hate, but we don't. We don't.