Anzac spirit lives on

The Lochowiak family at the 2016 procession (The Southern Cross)

It may be nearly 100 years since World War I ended but the memories of those who fought remain close to the hearts of one indigenous family, The Southern Cross reports.

The Lochowiak family's great-great-grandfather, Private Arthur Thomas Walker, was one of an unknown number of indigenous soldiers who fought for their country in the Great War. The 33-year-old Ngarrindjeri man fought at Gallipoli, survived, but was then declared missing in action following the battle of Mouquet Farm in France.

For Mihail, 17, Anzac, 15, Jacob, 13, Mabel-Jean, 11 and Jackson, 6, the heroic story of their forebear has been passed on through the generations, and influences how they try to live each day showing the "Anzac spirit".

The Anzac celebration is a special time for the Lochowiak family. As has been the tradition for some years, the children attend the Anzac Day Eve Mass at Adelaide's St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, with their parents John and Laiya. They then walk in the procession to the War Memorial where they place a gift – usually a book and flowers – as part of the youth vigil.

The next day they attend the Dawn Service, followed by the march where the older boys proudly wear the medals of their great-great-grandfather.

“It’s always been a strong family tradition,” explained Mr Lochowiak, who is chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council and based at Centacare’s Otherway Centre in Adelaide.

“I grew up in Coober Pedy where we didn’t have television so my mum always told us stories about her grandfather and I have passed them onto my children.

“I also talk to the children about how Aboriginal people have been defending our lands for more than 200 years – and that is why it was important for their great-great-grandfather to continue the tradition."


Anzac spirit lives on (The Southern Cross)


A Digger laid to rest (Aurora)

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