Villington Lui 

Torres Strait Islander
Retired Petty Officer
Marine Technical Propulsion (MTP)
Royal Australian Navy
Vietnam Veteran


Australian Active Service Medal
Vietnam Logistics and Support Medal
Defence Force Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal

I was born in 1954 on Thursday Island in the only Medical Centre in the Torres Strait. I went to primary school back on Mer Island but returned to Thursday Island for my high school years.  In 1970, I  joined the Navy as a junior recruit – as I didn’t want to work in the fishing industry on a lugger. After 25 years of service, I retired as a Petty Officer. I proudly follow a long and distinguished line of Torres Strait Islander peoples who have served in Australia’s armed forces. In 1944, nearly every Torres Strait Islander man was a member of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion. In proportion to population, no community in Australia contributed more to Australia’s effort in World War II than the people of the Torres Strait Islands. In honour of his ongoing advocacy for recognition of the service rendered by Australia’s First Peoples, he asks that you consider these facts:

The first Japanese Prisoner of War (POW) in Australia was captured by us after his plane crashed on Melville Island, north of Darwin, in February 1942. Formed in 1943, the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, made up of 880 men from across the Torres Strait Islands, defended Australia’s northern lands from the threat of Japanese invasion during World War 2. The battalion originally performed a light infantry along with engineering, transport, supply and signals roles.  Of the 11,639 servicemen who received land through the 1917 Discharged Soldiers’ Settlement Act of 1917 scheme that ran between 1918 and 1934, only a small handful being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — returned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women were often denied the honour and rights given to other returned servicemen and women. Today, 7% of people living in the Torres Strait have served or are serving in the ADF. That doesn’t count all the Torres Strait Islanders who have served or are serving who now live outside the Torres Strait. The 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment of the Australian Army Reserve Regional Force Surveillance Unit proudly continues the legacy of those who served the Torres Strait before us.