Air Force’s inaugural Indigenous elder Uncle Harry Allie has presented a symbolic coin to members of the Senior Leadership Group in the lead up to Reconciliation Week (May 27 to June 3).
The gesture recognised senior leaders for their unwavering support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel.
Uncle Harry, the first Australian Defence Force elder, presented the coin to Chief of Air Force (CAF) Air Marshal (AIRMSHL) Leo Davies, Deputy CAF Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Gavin Turnbull, Air Commander Australia AVM Zed Roberton, Director General Personnel Air Commodore Geoff Harland, Warrant Officer of the Air Force WOFF-AF Rob Swanwick, and Senior Indigenous Advisor Group Captain Lisa Jackson-Pulver at Russell offices in Canberra on May 17.
AIRMSHL Davies, who placed the gift centre stage on his collection display board alongside more than 200 others, said he was honoured to receive it.
“We revere Uncle Harry and the work he has done and continues to do for Air Force,” AIRMSHL Davies said.
Uncle Harry said the significance of the coin was two-fold - it represented his culture through the totem emu, and his service to country.
“For me to present it to CAF, the significance of the coin and the totem is very special,” Uncle Harry said.
“We come from country to serve country and that’s where our heart always goes back to. A totem is a significant part of country for us.
“As an individual, it’s something that we all pass down through the generations. The totem has been part of the storyline for a long time, and the emu is mine.”
AIRMSHL Davies said in Air Force, the coin is synonymous with representing friendship, a relationship and is the passing of a value of friendship.
“For us this is a perfect symbol of a modern aviator; to put that friendship, that relationship, and future into a coin with a totem - this is a continuum,” he said.
By Bill Solomou via Air Force News.