Geoff Shaw (Aboriginal leader)

Geoff Shaw (c. 1945 - ) is an Aboriginal ex-serviceman from Central Australia and an Aboriginal leader in Alice Springs who has been involved in many Aboriginal organisations

Early life

Shaw was born in Alice Springs, in the Todd River, and he is of Arrernte and Kaytetye descent. He said he didn't get much of an education and worked on cattle stations, riding horses and branding cows, before joining the Army at 18.[1]

World War II Service

Shaw joined the Australian Army in 1964 and he served in the Indonesian-Malaysia confrontation where he spent 18 months with the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; stationed just north of Malacca.[2]

Because he was a regular in the Army he was then sent back home to join the 2nd Royal Australian Regiment when Australia became involved in the Vietnam War. In between these two deployments he was given just one weeks leave to visit Alice Springs to see his family before travelling to Vietnam on the HMAS Sydney. One day, when on patrol in Vietnam, Shaw cut his thumb through to the bone on his machete and was sent back to Australia for, what was ultimately, three operations and multiple skin grafts. Following this injury, and the 6 months spent to recover, Shaw was transferred to the 9th Battalion where he became section Commander and, later, Acting Platoon Sergeant.[2]

While in the 9th Battalion Shaw met other Aboriginal men from Alice Springs who were serving in Vietnam; including Richard Tilmouth, Charlie Tilmouth, Kenny Laughton, Linton Espey and David Miller and thought it was amazing that six Aboriginal men from Alice Springs (including himself) where serving nearby noting that it was a "fairly big contingent when you work out the percentage of Aboriginal people who went to Vietnam".[2]

Later Career

Following his return to Alice Springs Shaw moved in to Mount Nancy Town Camp and has worked for, led and helped establish many Aboriginal organisations, including Tangentyere Council where he was once the president and Central Land Council where he was a deputy chair[3]. Shaw was also the first ATSIC Commissioner for Central Australia.[4]

Becoming involved in community organisations has saved Shaw, who has struggled with PTSD since his war service.[5]

Shaw has also been vocal in his opposition to the 2007 Northern Territory National Emergency Response; more commonly called 'The Intervention'. A part of this intervention is that Aboriginal communities and town camps became 'dry-zones' meaning that Shaw is probably the only Digger who is breaking the law if he had his mates around for ANZAC Day.[6][7]

References

  1. ^ "Geoff Shaw: returned Vietnam veteran and Aboriginal leader" (PDF). Department of the Chief Minister. 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Bray, George, 1927- (1995). Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia. Laughton, Kenny., Forster, Pat. Alice Springs, N.T.: IAD Press. ISBN 0949659894. OCLC 37085017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Words; Davidson, photographs by Helen (22 September 2015). "'When will they listen to us?' Town camps on the fringe of Alice, but at the heart of Indigenous debate". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Every Hill Got a Story, Chapters 1-6". NITV. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Geoff Shaw". Serving Our Country. 18 September 1968. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Veteran has to flout law to toast mates". www.ntnews.com.au. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  7. ^ Words; Davidson, photographs by Helen (22 September 2015). "'When will they listen to us?' Town camps on the fringe of Alice, but at the heart of Indigenous debate". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 November 2019.

Content from Wikipedia. Licensed under CC-BY-SA.