Aboriginal war heroes whose only reward was discrimination and prejudice

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A rare ceremony to honour Aboriginal war veterans was held in Sydney yesterday, reviving memories of how shabbily they were treated after they had fought for their country.

About 500 Aborigines volunteered for the First World War - a substantial number, given that the black population was just 80,000, and it was only in 1917 that "half-castes" were allowed to enlist. Up to 5,000 indigenous Australians joined up for the Second World War.

They included four brothers who fought in both world wars - and who were from a family recently recognised as having a service record probably unrivalled throughout the Commonwealth. In all, 20 members of the Lovett family, from Victoria, have served Australia - in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and East Timor, as well as in both world wars.

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