Black Diggers of Logan
Logan City Council has produced three poignant documentaries celebrating the stories of four Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander soldiers of World War I. Inspired by the Queensland Theatre Company’s play Black Diggers, the project aimed to honour servicemen of Indigenous heritage whose descendants call Logan home.
Light Horsemen Valentine Hare and Jack Pollard, and brothers George and Murray Watego were the subjects of these moving documentaries made possible by funding from the Queensland Anzac Centenary Grants Program.
The project entailed interviews with descendants of the Diggers and significant research by Local Heritage Specialist Sue Prenzler which unearthed previously unknown information for the families, from injuries suffered by the soldiers to their whereabouts after the war. The only known photograph of Valentine Hare (below), a tiny cameo in the Queenslander newspaper, was found during the research and provided an emotional connection for his descendants when they saw the young Digger’s face for the first time.
It is estimated that more than 1,000 Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander soldiers enlisted in World War I. The Black Diggers of Logan documentaries commemorate their service and contribute greatly to our understanding and awareness of the significant roles played by these soldiers.
The short films were screened to the critical acclaim of 200 people, including many family members of the four Diggers, who gathered at Logan Central Library for the premiere on 23 April in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
The documentaries can be viewed on Council’s website at Black Diggers of Logan. Two of the films have also screened nationally on NITV as part of the network’s Anzac coverage.