At first glance, Sergeant Annie Dufficy might look too young to fit the image, but she’s gained a title of reverence from her extended family. 

Due to her position in the Army and the community, Sergeant Dufficy is also seen as a mentor by junior Indigenous soldiers.

“I have nephews and nieces who are enlisting and although some are not related, they call me ‘Aunty’ out of respect for my position,” Sergeant Dufficy said.

She is currently teaching leadership as an instructor on Subject One Corporal courses at the Warrant Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy – South Queensland Wing.

“After this I’ll probably head back to trade in an orderly room. The different roles make it exciting and I learn a new job each time,” Sergeant Dufficy said.

Her grandfather served in the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, while her father and two brothers were also infantrymen. 

Sergeant Dufficy’s family is from Badu Island in the Torres Strait, but she grew up in Townsville, with strong Army connections.

Seeing the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags is a symbol of reconciliation for her.

“I pay my respects to what they did and the opportunities we have as Indigenous Australians today, such as the basic opportunity to have an education.”

“The flags represent all our people and flying them together unifies our strength as a nation, and is what I believe to be the meaning of reconciliation,” she said.

Sergeant Dufficy takes special meaning from the 1967 referendum and Mabo decision, both commemorated during National Reconciliation Week.

“It recognises the hard work and sacrifices made for the many elders behind the referendum that led to Indigenous people being counted in the Australian Census,” she said.

“The fight Uncle Koiki Mabo endured for land rights in the famous High Court Mabo decision is momentous for any Torres Strait Islander like me.

“I pay my respects to what they did and the opportunities we have as Indigenous Australians today, such as the basic opportunity to have an education.”

Sergeant Dufficy believes everyone has a role to play in building relationships that value Indigenous histories and cultures.

“Every time I visit family up north I’m always learning new things about my people and culture and I love showing my son his heritage,” she said. 

“I find it inspiring when my colleagues want to learn about interacting with Indigenous soldiers and ask me for advice on understanding their cultures.”