Meriam (Murray Island) Nation and Jura Tribe (Ayr, Queensland)
51 Far North Queensland Regiment
Medals and awards
Soldiers Medallion for Exemplary Service
Australian Operational Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal
‘I’m from Murray Island and my blood line runs through the Meriam Nation (Murray Island) and Jura Tribe from Ayr. I joined the army in 2008, wanting to make a change and set a good example for my younger siblings. What got me to join was looking at photos of my grandfather, George Blanco on my mum’s side and my great grandfather, Uni Zaro on my dad’s side posing in uniform when both men served in the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion.’ – Joseph Blanco 2023
Enemarki Zaro, Joseph’s great grandfather’s ‘little brother’, also served during World War 2 in the Torres Strait Light Infantry. Enemarki was stationed on Horn Island which endured many Japanese bombing raids. He was wounded during one of these raids when a bomb exploded near the truck he was travelling in.