Greg Choikee
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Australian Army
Uncle Greg is one of the founding members of Yarrabah RSL Club, the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander RSL Club in Australia.

Australian Service Medal with clasp SE Asia
Australian Defence Medal


I was born and raised in Yarrabah, which is on the coast southeast of Cairns. It is an Aboriginal Community on the traditional lands of the Gunggandji and Yidinji peoples. Our community here is made up of people descended from many clans who were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to the former Mission here at Yarrabah. As a former serviceman, I am one of the founding members and President of the Yarrabah RSL. Starting as a chapter in 2014, we became a full Sub-Branch in 2015 – the first Indigenous community to achieve this honour. We have a special mission to reach out to support our Indigenous veterans and service personnel, understanding that they will have different experiences and welfare needs from those of other members. Each year on Anzac Day, we assist our current and former serving members to attend the ceremonies, reconnect with mates, family and Mob, and honour the service of our Yarrabah Community to the defence of our country.

I joined the Army in 1974 and served as an infantry Private in the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, based in Townsville. During 1975 I completed a three-month tour in Malaysia as part of the Rifle Company protecting the Butterworth Air Base. At the time, Communist terrorists were still active, carrying out operations and assassinations. We were kept on alert, patrolling and maintaining a quick reaction force on standby, ready for any attack on the base. After Malaysia, we re-joined the Battalion in Townsville. I served in 1 RAR until my discharge from the Army in 1976.

Coming from a close community like Yarrabah, where everyone looks out for each other, the idea of service has always been important to me. In 1990, I began working with Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council and have been employed in various roles. In 2021, along with other long-term employees, I received an award recognising my dedication, commitment and hard work over thirty years of service to the Council.

We’ve achieved some important milestones for our community. After fighting for many years in the courts, we finally won Native Title over the entire Yarrabah headland.