Torres Strait Islander
Retired Petty Officer
Marine Technical Propulsion (MTP)
Royal Australian Navy
Australian Active Service Medal
Vietnam Logistics and Support Medal
Defence Force Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal
Villington Lui was born in 1954 on Thursday Island in the only Medical Centre in the Torres Strait. Murray Island in the Torres Strait is where he went to primary school. He went to Thursday Island High School. Villington joined the Navy in 1970 as a junior recruit – as he did not like his only other option which was to work in the fishing industry on a lugger. He went from being a Junior Recruit to an Able Seaman and he retired as Petty Officer after 25 years of service.
He follows 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 Aboriginal people after his plane crashed on Melville Island, north of Darwin in February 1942. NORFORCE, which relies heavily on the knowledge and talents of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the north of Australia today, monitors the largest area of operations of any military unit in the world. Only one Aboriginal man ever received land under the soldier settlement scheme—returned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women were often denied the honour and rights given to other returned servicemen and women. There are up to 7000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans and war widows in the Australian community today.More than 800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians now serve with distinction in the Australian Defence Forces.