Matt Evans
Kabi Kabi / Gubbi Gubbi Man
Corporal
Royal Australian Engineers
Australian Army

Medals
Australian Active Service Medal with clasp, International Coalition Against Terror
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Australian Service Medal with Clasps Counterterrorism / Special Recovery  & Solomon Island
Australian Service Medals with Clasps
Australian Defence Medal
NATO Medal with clasp ISAF

 

My name is Matt Evans, and my story is one of hope and resilience, a message to young Indigenous people that no challenge is too great to overcome. I was born in the bustling suburbs of Western Sydney and later moved to the serene town of Maitland in the Hunter Valley. Despite the financial struggles my family faced, my parents tirelessly worked to ensure that my sister and I never lacked anything.

From a young age, I found solace and strength in team sports. My leadership skills were recognized when I was elected Vice Captain at school and Sports House Captain, and I proudly represented New South Wales in soccer.

Service is a tradition in my family, with many relatives serving in the military, fire brigade, and public service. However, our Aboriginal heritage was a silent presence in our lives, unacknowledged due to the painful legacy of the Stolen Generation. It was a part of me that I would later come to understand and embrace, discovering my roots with the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi people.

I joined the Australian Army as a Geospatial specialist, driven by a desire to break free from the socioeconomic barriers of my youth and to achieve financial stability. The military life brought its own set of challenges, including the profound loss of my close friend Ash in combat. This loss deeply affected me but also steeled my resolve to serve with honour.

My service was recognized when I was awarded the Army’s Soldiers’ Medallion for my work in developing a self-serve data analytics platform. After my time with the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and returning to Brisbane, I started to suffer the effects of war. To understand this, I realised that my life has been marked by moments of death, heartbreak, and brutality but also by extraordinary experiences that few will ever know.

Through it all, I’ve learned the true meaning of resilience and love, and these lessons have ignited within me a desire to make a positive impact for Indigenous people and veterans.

Now, as I pursue a Master of Business Administration, I am focused on using my education to be a voice for intergenerational change. My story is not just mine; it’s a narrative shared by many in our community, a narrative that says, “Our heritage is our strength, and our future is ours to shape.