Lorraine Hatton OAM
Quandamooka Elder of the Noonuccal and Ngughi tribes in South-East Queensland
Indigenous Elder for the Australian Army
Warrant Officer Class 2
Royal Australian Corps of Signals
Afghanistan veteran and community leader

Medals and Awards
Order of Australia Medal 2019
Australian Active Service Medal – ICAT
Afghanistan Medal
Australian Service Medal with Sinai Clasp
Defence Long Service Medal with 20-year clasp
Australian Defence Medal
Multinational Force & Observers Medal (Sinai)
Unit Citation for Distinguished Service – Afghanistan
Returned from Active Service Badge
Army Combat Badge


I always say that before I can tell my story, I need to go back and tell the story of our ancestors that came before me, that served our country.  Their stories are integral to our rich tapestry of Indigenous military history and all the hardships and challenges they endured, that enabled me to achieve what I have in my lifetime.  I am inspired by their drive and determination to serve and protect our Nation and I have proudly followed in their footsteps.  When they say we stand on the shoulders of giants, we definitely do as they broke barriers during a time of exclusion. I grew up in an Aboriginal community on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) in South-East Queensland and the youngest of 11 children.  I feel, coming from a large family set me up well in the Army.  I went from a family of 11 to a family of thousands.

I enlisted on the 14th January 1986, into the Royal Australian Signals Corps and discharged after 21 years service, on 17th August 2007.  Throughout my career, I have had many challenges, rewarding experiences and many firsts for an Aboriginal women. Being promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1998, I was the first female Signals Sergeant to deploy as the Communications Manager to Irian Jaya.  Later that same year, I was also the first female Signals Sergeant to deploy to the Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai.  In 2003, I was the first identified Indigenous Female in Army’s history by the Australian War Memorial, to be promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class Two.  The culmination in 2006, deploying to Afghanistan as the first female Communications Manager, with the Special Operations Task Group, in Kandahar.  I never realised these moments in time until after my discharge and many people would point out my achievements, then ask me about my career in the Army.

After growing up in the Army and discharging, I felt a loss of family, as I had been a part of my Army family for over 20 years.  For many years, I was searching for my place to belong once again.  My Aboriginal family has always been supportive whilst on this journey, however I needed to find that drive and determination to move forward onto the next chapter of my life.  I did not really know in myself what I had to offer, but after some serious self reflection and discovery, I thought, “ I am  Aboriginal, Female and a Veteran” and that is who I am.  This was my mantra, which in turn led my focus to these areas.  Whether it was volunteering, supporting or being appointed to positions on Boards that could help affect change.  Now, I continue to provide service to the wider community in various roles in line with my mantra.

To serve in the Australian Regular Army for one’s country is an honour and it has been a privilege and one that I am extremely proud of. My journey although long and challenging has been extremely rewarding. You never know how strong you are until you are faced with challenges through adversity.


  • Indigenous Elder for the Australian Army
  • Qld Veterans Council Member,
  • Legacy Cabinet Member, responsible for the establishment of the new Legacy House, next to the Veterans Hospital in Greenslopes Qld,
  • Board President of the Queensland State Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee that constructed the memorial in ANZAC Square Brisbane and unveiled on 27 May 2022,
  • Council Member for the University of Southern Qld,
  • Indigenous Working Group Member at the Australian War Memorial,
  • Indigenous Ambassador for the Corporate Protection Australia Group, a signatory with Prime Ministers Veterans Employment Program.