An Australian soldier with family ties to Bidjara country in south-western Queensland had the rare opportunity to perform didgeridoo at the official opening of the Australian embassy in Washington, DC.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldier Sergeant Lachlan Youll plays the didgeridoo at the opening of the The Australian Embassy in Washington DC. Story by Captain Katy Manning.
Sergeant Lachlan Youll, based at 2nd (Australian) Division in Sydney, joined didgeridoo players from the Navy and Air Force at the official opening in late October.
“It has been an honour. The musicians that played are highly skilled and I feel proud to have opened with them on the didgeridoo,” Sergeant Youll said.
“It has been a pleasure being able to play and it’s one of the first times we’ve had Army, Air Force and Navy didgeridoo players together.
“There are not many across the services, so to get all three together in one spot, playing together, is a big achievement.”
Sergeant Youll has enjoyed playing the didgeridoo since he was a child growing up in Sydney, as it provided him with a strong tie to his Indigenous heritage.
“It gives me a sense of understanding my culture and it makes me feel grounded, which is important,” he said.
“Playing the didgeridoo helps me gather myself and it connects me to my heritage.
“I learnt as a young child how to play and it has provided me with opportunities to play with other performers.”
Sergeant Youll has had a varied career in the Army, both in the regular Army and as a part-time soldier.
“I joined up in 1997 and I went to 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. I spent 10 years there,” he said.
“I then transferred to the Army Reserve and posted to several Army Reserve units.
“[During] my time in the 3rd Battalion, I had the pleasure of being deployed to East Timor, and then in my time in the Reserves, to the Middle East on Op Okra.”
Sergeant Youll now seeks to learn more about his heritage and to unite with his people.
“My great grandmother was born in Bidjara country in Charleville, and I’m looking forward to further connecting with my people and learning more about my heritage,” he said.