Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have contributed to Australia’s military forces for many years. Exact numbers are not known, however Aboriginal trackers served in the Boer War and approximately 400 to 500 served in the First World War.
Talking about World War I and later conflicts, the AWM goes onto say here http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/aborigines/indigenous.asp that:
Generally, Aborigines have served in ordinary units with the same conditions of service as other members. Many experienced equal treatment for the first time in their lives in the army or other services. However, upon return to civilian life, many also found they were treated with the same prejudice and discrimination as before...
When war broke out in 1914, many Aborigines who tried to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race; others slipped through the net. By October 1917, when recruits were harder to find and one conscription referendum had already been lost, restrictions were cautiously eased. A new Military Order stated: "Half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining Medical Officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin.
Loyalty and patriotism may have encouraged Aborigines to enlist. Some saw it as a chance to prove themselves the equal of Europeans or to push for better treatment after the war. For many Australians in 1914 the offer of 6 shillings a day for a trip overseas was simply too good to miss.
Aborigines in the First World War served on equal terms but after the war, in areas such as education, employment, and civil liberties, Aboriginal ex-servicemen and women found that discrimination remained or, indeed, had worsened during the war period.
Going back to the Boer War, does anybody have any information on:
How many Aboriginal trackers served?
What specific regions or peoples were they recruited from? How?
What role did they play while in south Africa?
What were their conditions of service?
What if any first hand accounts or records survive relevant to their service?