The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria has called for the State and Federal governments to recognise Indigenous soldiers who were denied befits that were awarded to non-Indigenous soldiers.

To mark ANZAC Day, the assembaly announced they will be contacting the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Victorian Minister for Treaty and First Peoples to discuss better recognising the experiences of the returned Aboriginal soldiers.

It is understood that of the many Indigenous soldiers who returned from Australia’s war campaigns, only two from Victoria were successful in their applications to the Soldier Settlement Scheme.

They were Gunaikurnai man Percy Pepper and Gunditjmara man George Winter McDonald.

Stewart Murray, the grandfather of Assembly Co-chair Ngarra Murray, was a returned soldier and was denied multiple times.

In an unpublished manuscript, Mr Murray said – “I had made a number of applications for soldier settlement land in NSW and Victoria. I was after a sheep farm or mixed farming… I was married and had two children and was hoping to get something for them to live on and feel secure in owning a piece of my ancestors land.”

His grand daughter Ms Murray says she hopes it will start a bigger conversation.

She says – “Think of all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forced off their lands, while those who stole it were able to benefit from it and consolidate and pass down this stolen wealth,”

As described by the Australian War Memorial says the Soldier Settlement Scheme was a government scheme designed to develop rural areas, encouraging returned servicemen to become property-owning farmers.

(IMAGE: Poppies, Andriy.8,