Soldier brothers honoured at service
A big crowd gathered at Whim Creek last Saturday morning to commemorate the wartime heroics of an indigenous Pilbara family whose country was yet to fully accept them as citizens.
The five Lockyer brothers, Arnold, Edgar, Elliot, Eric and Albert, signed up to serve for Australia in World War II at a time when racial tensions were at an all-time high in the Pilbara.
Elaine Clifton, descendent of Elliot Lockyer, said she was proud and humbled by her vaunted ancestry.
“That was their calling in life because they could have given up when they were fighting to be accepted but they didn’t,” she said. “For us it’s a real honour to share our story and to educate everybody.”
Mrs Lockyer said all soldiers, indigenous and non-indigenous with or without memorials deserved recognition.
The brothers would have returned home to a land at the height of racial tensions; a turnpoint for indigenous people in the Pilbara as a war of another kind was brewing. Just one year after the end of WWII came the advent of the Pilbara Strike, a two-year scrap where hundreds of indigenous station workers in the Pilbara walked off the job in protest of poor pay and conditions.
This was clear evidence that, despite black-and-white fighting alongside each other in armed combat, there was still a long way to go to stand beside each other on our own soil.
The service was the 10th year the memorial had been held, with Pilbara Regiment Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Purves paying tribute to the services of all indigenous people in the armed forces at the meet.
The Lockyer family and members of the Pilbara Regiment at the Lockyer memorial at Whim Creek last Saturday.