A brand new wartime remembrance podcast from Megan Spencer

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners are advised that this podcast (and the text below) contains the voices of and references to people who have passed away.

BRINGING HIS SPIRIT HOME is a seven-part audio podcast that explores the WWI story of Ngarrindjeri Anzac, Private Arthur Thomas Walker. A Ramindjeri man of the Ngarrindjeri nation, his homeland is Goolwa, the “Murray mouth” in south-east South Australia.

Enlisting aged 32 when it was “illegal” for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to do so, after serving at Gallipoli in 1915, Private Walker was KIA in August 1916 in France, on a cold and rainy night during the Battle of Mouquet Farm. He become one of the many “missing” with ‘no known grave’.

Before leaving for WWI, Private Walker’s first-born son was named ‘Anzac’, born the same day as the infamous allied landing at Gallipoli, and, as it turned out, the campaign in which his father would soon serve.

As a living legacy, four other sons across three subsequent generations also bear that name, keeping Private Walker’s memory and spirit alive now and into the future.

Commissioned by the Virtual War Memorial Australia and funded by the SA Department for Education, the podcast was made as a national digital resource for Australian schools as well as an immersive commemorative podcast for the public to listen to.

The podcast was launched on April 3rd, 2024, in front of 70 people at Torrens Training Depot, the “historic mustering point” for the thousands of men who left for WWI from South Australia.

It included a spirited Smoking Ceremony and Welcome To Country by Private Walker’s great-grandson, Uncle John Lochowiak, outside at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial on Torrens Parade Ground.

Inside the Drill Hall, he was a guest speaker alongside the Hon  Kyam Maher MLC, South Australia’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Attorney-General.

Bringing His Spirit Home: Private Arthur Thomas Walker, Ngarrindjeri Anzac is a powerful deep-dive into the ANZAC legend and spirit, told through the lense of First Nations service. The voices of Private Walker’s proud family are interwoven with the beautiful sounds of his home Country, while exploring the overlap between ANZAC values and traditional Aboriginal culture.

Told from the ‘inside-out’, it is an inspiring story of truth-telling, courage and commemoration as spiritual practice.

Listen to it now on the Virtual War Memorial Australia website.

Grateful thanks to everyone involved and to all those who contributed to this podcast.