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Uncle DaveUncle Dave Williams

Keynote Speaker  (Ex Serviceman, Aboriginal Elder)

Uncle Dave a Bundjalung man from Baryulgil in New South Wales.  He joined the Australian Navy in 1965 and was an engineer, diver and submariner.   The following is an excerpt from an interview with Uncle Dave for the City of Sydney Oral History Program.  This is a project honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served their country so well.

In answer to Fabri Blacklock's question, Uncle Dave replied:   “I was in the school cadets when I was at school; a couple of schools I went to, but all my extended family were all army fellas. So national service came along and I know now that Aboriginal people didn’t have to go but I had a lot of white mates too. So they were getting called up and we didn’t distinguish in those days on paper that you had to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, just Aussies. So they were getting called up and I thought, “Well, I want to join what I like”, which is the navy, and that was in 1965.”

On the 20th February 2013 the Hon Charlie Lynn a member of the Legislative Council stood up in the New South Wales Parliament and proposed the following motion:

Motion by the Hon. CHARLIE LYNN agreed to:

1. That this House acknowledges the outstanding contribution of Uncle David Williams in his role as President of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Association.

2. That this House notes that:

  • Uncle Williams is a retired Chief Petty Officer and navy submariner who spent 29 years in the military.
  • Uncle Williams has worked tirelessly to address mental health issues for the veterans community who often go undiagnosed, with some ending up in the criminal system.
  • On Wednesday 21 November 2012, Uncle Williams received the long awaited news that a veterans refuge has opened and will now be available to all veterans seeking refuge, especially for those with mental health issues, and War trauma continues to affect all diggers, and support services such as these are a positive step in helping our ex-service men and women cope with everyday living.

3. That this House commends Uncle Williams for his dedication in his role as the champion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans, as well as the general veterans community.

We the Marist Family Peace and Justice Group are privileged to welcome Uncle Dave Williams to our conference- “Both ends of the Gun” - and thank him in advance for sharing his life and work as a veteran Serviceman.

Henry ReynoldsHenry Reynolds 

Keynote Speaker  (University Professor, Historian)

Professor Reynolds FAHA, FASSA is an eminent Australian historian whose primary work has focused on frontier conflict between European settlers in Australia and indigenous Australians. He is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on the history of Australia’s Indigenous people.

Henry was born in Hobart in 1938 and educated at the University of Tasmania.

His latest book Forgotten War was the Winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier's Award for non-fiction.

Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas. Why are there no official memorials or commemorations of the wars that were fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists? Why is it more controversial to talk about the frontier war now than it was one hundred years ago? Forgotten War continues the story told in Henry Reynolds’ seminal book The Other Side of the Frontier, which argued that the settlement of Australia had a high level of violence and conflict that we chose to ignore. That book prompted a flowering of research and fieldwork that Reynolds draws on here to give a thorough and systematic account of what caused the frontier wars between white colonists and Aborigines, how many people died and whether the colonists themselves saw frontier conflict as a form of warfare. It is particularly timely as we commemorate the centenary of WWI. This powerful book makes it clear that there can be no reconciliation without acknowledging the wars fought on our own soil.

We grateful and delighted that Professor Reynolds has graciously accepted our invitation to be one of our Keynote speakers at the Conference.

Jeff McMullenJeff McMullen


Jeff McMullen has been a journalist, author and filmmaker for fifty years, including long-running positions as ABC Foreign Correspondent and reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes.

Throughout his professional life, Jeff has written, filmed and campaigned around the world to improve the health, education and human rights of Indigenous people.

Global audiences have been enthralled by McMullen's storytelling skills after almost fifty years of world wandering.

Commanding performances across all mass media include numerous television appearances on leading programs in Australia, the United States, Britain, Russia, Canada, China, France and Japan. International speeches in New York, Chicago, London, Barcelona and Hong Kong have brought stunning reviews.

With these many decades of experience in public speaking and facilitating high profile events, Jeff's services include:

    Chairing debates and forums on issues and ideas
    Public speaking on local and global issues
    Chairing major conventions and conferences
    Master of ceremonies for the nation's leading events.

In spite of many time consuming commitments Jeff McMullen has generously agreed to be our Chairperson for our Conference. We warmly welcome Jeff and are delighted and grateful for his presence.