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Private Miller Mack returns home to Raukkan

27.03.17

Almost a century after he was buried in an unmarked, common grave in South Australia, the remains of an Aboriginal digger, Private Miller Mack, who fought in the Great War were returned to his home of Raukkan. Kildare College students, some direct descendants of Private Miller Mack, were honored and humbled to be in attendance.


At just 25 years old, Private Miller Mack was buried in Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery in 1919, after dying from the tuberculosis he contracted during battle; a battle he chose to participate in for a country that did not even consider him a citizen. His great-nephew, Francis Lovegrove and other family members were surprised and saddened to discover he was not buried alongside his fellow diggers in the formal military section of West Terrace cemetery which opened in 1920.


In recent times the RSL embarked on the process of relocating Private Mack's remains to the military section of the cemetery. However, after learning of his whereabouts, his family decided it was time to bring him home to Raukkan.


Friday 24 March Private Miller Mack’s remains were exhumed and transported from Adelaide to Raukkan. His arrival was greeted by Raukkan Elders and community members who performed a cleansing ceremony before escorting the coffin to the Chapel, where a Catafalque Party stood vigil over the remains. A moving service was conducted by Padre David Prior, ADF Chaplain with the 7th Royal Australian Regiment, followed by a eulogy from decedent Mr Francis Lovegrove, words from a representative of the Raukkan Community Mr Jordan Sumner, and acknowledgement of service by LTCOL Paul Graham.


After the Chapel service, the bearer party transferred the coffin to the Gun Tractor and the funeral party proceeded to the grave site. The graveside service commenced and after a few words from the Padre there was a laying of wreaths, removal of the Australian National Flag and lowering of the coffin; this was followed by a gun salute from the Firing Party (7th Royal Australian Regiment). The Ode was then recited followed by The Last Post. It was a privilege for Kildare College students to be able to pay their respects and lay a wreath, especially as some of the students were descendants of Private Miller Mack.

Strength and Gentleness