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For Kin and Country Yarns: Ron Schultz

Ron Schultz, wearing a suit and smiling at the camera with his service medals.

Corporal Ronald Schultz has been in the Air Force for more than two decades, spanning a variety of roles and serving both in Australia and overseas. He now works in Indigenous recruiting, helping other First Nations people across Australia enter the Defence Force.

In this podcast, guest host and acclaimed Gunditjmara actor Tom Molyneux yarns with Ron about his entry into the defence force, the highlights of his service and his hopes for the future of First Peoples in the ADF. 


Speaker: Corporal Ronald Schultz

Interviewer: Tom Molyneux

Editor: Laura Thomas


Title: Emu and Brolga

Composer: James Henry

Performed by: Air Force Band Wind Quintet

This song was debuted at the Shrine of Remembrance for the Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Service.

Audio Mastering:

Kris Keogh

Special thanks:

Megan Spencer, for her keen ear and feedback on this podcast.


The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Shrine of Remembrance.


If this interview raises any issues for you, please contact:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Open Arms (formerly VVCS) - Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 or visit their website.

13 YARN, Australia’s first, 24/7, national, Indigenous-led Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line. Phone 13 92 76, or visit their website


Ngata – hello. My name is Tom Molyneux, and I’m a proud Gunditjmara man. I’d like to pay my respects, on behalf of the Shrine of Remembrance, to the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this podcast has been recorded, the Bunurong People. We acknowledge their Elders and Ancestors with gratitude, and extend that respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land where you may be listening from, as well as any First Nations people listening.

This podcast series accompanies ‘For Kin and Country’, an exhibition currently showing at the Shrine of Remembrance until April 2024 to commemorate and explore the stories of First Peoples’ defence service, with a Victorian focus.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners are advised that the following podcast contains references to First Nations people who have passed.

In this episode, we invite you to hear the stories and experiences of proud Wiradjuri man Corporal Ron Schultz,

Ron grew up in Wodonga and has had a career spanning more than two decades in the Air Force, serving in a variety of roles both within Australia and overseas during this time.

Now, he works in Indigenous recruiting, helping other First Nations people across Australia enter the Defence Force.

We invite you to be a fly on the wall for this yarn, a conversation conducted in our cultural way of connecting with each other and understanding through stories. You might like to grab a cuppa, as we did at the Shrine of Remembrance, while Ron regales us with his memories and observations.

I hope you enjoy the yarn.

TOM: Corporal Ron Schultz, thank you very much for joining us.

RON: Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure.

TOM: It's great to be with you. I wondered if you could start off by telling us who you are, where you're from, and about where you grew up?

RON: Yeah, no worries. So originally from Wagga, born in Wagga there. So, proud Wiradjuri man.  From there, moved around a bit. Dad was in the army. So I remember being in Townsville. From there, back down to Wodonga where I spent the rest of my childhood growing up down there on the Murray River, going to school, playing with all my cousins and lots of memories of heading down that highway there, the old one now, down to Wagga from Wodonga to see Nan and Pop and the mob. So yeah, that's me.

TOM: Yeah, too deadly. And I mean, obviously, with this podcast, we're really interested in people's stories of joining the armed forces. And I wonder if you could share with us what you remember about your motivations for signing up and enlisting, you know, how early on were you thinking about that? And was it something that you think was always on your horizon?

RON: I don't think it was always on the horizon. I never was at school thinking 'Dad's in the army. I'm gonna join the army'. And it wasn't ever really forced upon or talked about. You know, Dad was in the army and we were just army kids, we moved around with him and do what we do. So I remember Dad telling us stories about - he's originally from down at The Rock, so close to Wagga there too - and talking about Pop. So Pop was in World War Two, one of the Rats of Tobruk, a gunner, and then from there into the battle of El Alamein, and he come back. And I remember, sort of back in the day getting certificates, you know, Dad was away on exercises and stuff like that. I can remember seeing them still, the kangaroo exercises up in Katherine, where he was up there on exercise and funnily enough, maybe, you know, 10 years later I was up in Katherine in the Air Force. So little things like that sort of come back to light now but yeah, we grew up in Wodonga. So predominantly army sort of town, there were a big contingent of military people there and just sort of finished school and was doing not much so went over to Albury, Dad was actually over in Timor, and over to Albury, over to the recruiting centre and the old 'Dad's in the Army as a cook. Can I do that?' 'Yeah, come back'. I did) a YOU session where you go and do all the testing and then pretty much done the fitness test and got offered the job saying, 'Yeah, you're class one, good to go. There's nothing in the Army. Do you want to go the Air Force?' I said, 'When can I join?' They said 'About three weeks time'. I said 'Sign me up!' Luckily enough too because I remember calling Dad saying 'I went to recruiting and told them I wanted to join the Army as a cook like you'. And he said 'No, don't join the Army, join the Air Force. Air Force is better'. And luckily enough it worked out so I'm pretty sure Dad was happy with that.

TOM: Yeah, I love that. And how did that conversation go? You know for him? Was he proud of you? Did you feel like you were carrying on something the family had done through your grandfather and him?

RON: I don't remember too much of that, just that he growled me for wanting to join the army. But I'm sure no doubt he was proud. And to carry that on, you know, third generation. I'm sure he's proud. He's proud of me to this day, so loves what we do. It's just doing my job, but he appreciates how hard it is in the military at times. Especially having family. You know, I'm one of four brothers. And now I've got three kids of my own. And so yeah, really good and you know, I'm just proud to sort of follow in his footsteps and my Pop's as well.

TOM: And thinking about your Pop, did he talk much about his stories of service when you were young? Did you remember that having any sort of impact on you?

RON: I've got no memories of Pop. Mum and Dad said I did meet him. He passed away not long after he got back from the war. I do remember Dad and Nan telling us stories about some the stresses and what he came back with. But again, you know, Dad sort of in the Army and just proud to follow on from that. So watching him sort of go away and I'm sure there's those little photos of me in army boots in army shirts sort of thing, you know, as a kid. The boots are way too big, they come up to your waist.

TOM: It's funny, it's sometimes those things can have a formative impact without even necessarily recognising at the time or even after. I wanted to ask you about your stories of service. What have you done in your career with the Defence Force?

RON: I will probably push out the time a little bit here, but at the moment I'm at Defence Force recruiting in Sydney, so part of the Indigenous recruiting team and I guess this is sort of a script that I tell the kids and communities and stuff that I do anyway, so no stranger to I guess telling people about what I've done and where I've been.

But what I do tell people is (that I'm a) jack of all trades, master of none, and paid for none. So originally joined up as a chef and did that for eight or nine years up to Tindal. So originally recruit training, so boot camp there down in Adelaide then, now it's in Wagga, but they flew me to Adelaide so I went on my first ever plane to join the Air Force. So a little bit nervous, a little bit scared, never been away from home, never been on a plane. And funnily enough, the first recruit course after 9/11.

Sunday just gone I ticked over 21 years, so old fella. But yeah, flew there, over to Melbourne for what we do our employment training. So now they're just going to TAFE learning how to use a knife and everyone else like that. And then I remember, I sort of I joined to run away and get away from Wodonga really, do something you know? And remember coming towards the end of our training and Seargeant coming in 'Shultzy, you're about due for a posting,  where do you want to go?' I said 'Hey Sarge, post me as far away as you can eh?' He's like 'Alright.  Darwin's full. Do you want to go to Tindal?' I said 'Where's that?' he said 'Three hours south of Darwin, middle of nowhere'. I was like 'Yeah, sign me up. I don't think you'll get the paperwork to me quick enough to sign'.

But yes, that was me up to Tyndall. And I spent five years up there. It's grown a lot. Everywhere has grown a lot since then, that was a long time ago, but to go up there was like just an adventure to be had. Little did I know, I'd meet my wife and start our family up there a long, long way from home and sort of fell into it. But yeah, no regrets there. I met my wife and we had our first two babies up there and from there down to Newcastle Williamtown there and had our last little fella.

Deployed overseas to the Middle East for a bit as a cook. I come back from there and I'd been to TAFE and done a few things to upskill which I was allowed to do and then was going to get out. I sort of, I'd had enough, the kids are sort of getting to that age and lucky enough the boss goes 'Don't get out, Schultzy. They've got carpentry apprenticeships. Go hang out with the Army and be a chippie'. I was like 'Yeah, alright, I liked woodwork at school. I'll do that'. And luckily enough then too, it took me a week, a month if that, then I was off back. It was good. The training was back in Wodonga. So I got to go back home for a year and a half - 30 years old doing my category apprenticeship trying to remember maths and angles and roofing but it was good a good adventure. We were still in the airforce, but our training is with the army. So to actually go down there and I had a mad time playing armies, but it was good to come back to the real RAAF. But it was good to learn sort of other things that we don't do in the Air Force. So I jumped at it. From there, up to to do your on-job training. So basically just out on job sites with civilian builders and doing that stuff, learning all those skills and then posted to Richmond, which I'm still at now, still live out there with my kids. They're all sort of grown now, one in school still, but the other two sort of finished that. And I guess that's where I got a lot more trips to say away and sort of learn a bit more stuff.

From there, it has been sort of here there and everywhere as a carpenter over to, where did we go, like Timor, we went over to East Timor with the Pacific Partnership exercise with the US Navy Seabees, where we were sort of building schools, we were just bricklayers with them fellas, which was really good. And it meant a lot to me to actually give back to the community there and work with other coalition forces, but also to work and see, you know, 12 years before that, that's where my dad was in Dili, on the port there cooking as part of the mob. So to send him photos of there he goes, 'Yeah, we were cooking there', like to actually be somewhere where my dad had served was really cool.

TOM: Come full circle in a way.

RON: Yeah, I remember writing letters to him and Mum trying to cram this little fan into a box to send over because it's free packing. It was really good to share a lot of stories with dad when we got home over a couple of beers.

TOM: Excellent.

RON: And then yeah, so I've been everywhere over to Papa New Gui   nea. And during the Puk Puk exercises with the army, where again, we work with other coalition forces, exercises in Guam with our squadron, and then deployed again over to the Middle East for a while around 2019 to do a different gig, which was really cool and supportive, sort of a different squadron that I hadn't worked with before, to see how other things work. And then back home, and sort of that's where I fell into the recruiting gig. Found out about the Indigenous recruiting role. And I said, 'I'm a jack of all trades, master of none, been around a while, got a few stories'. So to try and get out to community and use that position to inspire other mob (that) this is what's out there. There's lots available.

TOM: Too deadly, I mean, it's such a great journey. I mean, you've done so many different things across what is now becoming a long career. I don't want to make you feel old or anything like that. But I mean, I'm interested in this idea. How do you reflect on how the army or how your service across Air Force and Army has changed you when you think back to that young fella that enlisted and you hadn't been on a plane, what do you think what? How has it all changed you?

RON: I don't think it's changed me too much. But I have grown within myself. A lot more confident, resilient. I've seen a lot of stuff, been around, exposed to some stuff and learnt a lot of things through the different jobs and people I've worked with. So I guess it shaped and moulded me. Initially it was tough, like I said, going on my first plane, leaving home, you know, from community for the first time to fly interstate. The time wasn't even the same over there. And I remember lining up at the phone box, we had to line up to call home back then. I don't think I even had a mobile phone then. I'm making myself feel old. But it was tough. But it was tough for a reason you know? And that's what I tell people coming through in a moment in the job that it is tough, but it's tough for a reason. And it's there to develop you and grow. You achieve things outside of your comfort zone that you didn't think you were capable of, that you want to give up but you sort of all work together. Get through it. I was a quiet, timid, shy, don't like to sort of speak up, I'll sort of be that guy in the background. He's sitting there going 'Someone else will ask that question. But I've grown from that and sort of, I guess, stuck my head up a bit, and trying to get out there more now, especially in the job that I'm at at the moment to inspire others, you know, do put your hand up, do get out there so that, you know, people can see. I have spoken in community to my elders saying 'I'm a bit ashamed and don't want to', and they're like 'Nah bro, be proud, you know, stand up, tell people about your story, you know, you inspiration, you can inspire others'. So that's where I've sort of led my journey and the next sort of, from next year, my next job that I'm gonna do, hopefully, I can do that there too. So to try and inspire and help mob come through.

TOM: That's deadly. And have you had mentors yourself that did encouraged you to be that person that could inspire others? Like, you know, what you're suggesting that they can do by sharing their story?

RON: Yeah, so originally, sort of meeting different people. The guys in the ILO jobs, so indigenous liaison officer job that I'm about to go into next year, yarning with them. But not only military (people), but you know, our elders, uncles and aunties and community. By going around there. Not just local either. We sort of do tours out a Bourke, Bre (Brewarinna), Walgett. You name it, we go out there. And just yarning with them, and they're like, 'Yep, keep doing what you're doing. We want you to keep coming back'. And I guess it speaks to the motto of NAIDOC this year. And that's what we got to do now for our mob and that's what I keep doing in my job, you know, keep getting up, keep standing up and keep showing up for these fellas. Being that sort of positive, repetitive role model. You know, we're not just coming out here once a year. And I just keep in touch with him and see them through their journey. So proud of a lot of kids that we've had come through from remote places - Bourke, Gilgandra, Trangie, all those places where they've come through. And one particular story that I looked at it, the young girl was pretty shame. I said 'Look here, bub. Dad's put a picture...', like he had a picture on, I think it's one of them Facebook ones, 'I'm proud Wiradjuri' one of them ones. But he's got a selfie there, him and his little girl at the Dubbo train station and he's put 'My babies joined the Army'. And she's one young girl that we got through and she's smashed it. Took out the best award on one of our Indigenous programmes and in the full time army now. So I love sharing those stories, seeing those mob come through where maybe if we didn't get out there and get amongst the community and share our stories, what would they be doing?

TOM: I'm sure you'd see a lot of special stories like that. I'm interested in your reflections on what it's like, both these days, but also when you first joined, to be an Aboriginal person in the armed forces. Have you seen sort of a shift in how the Defence Force has kind of developed and matured about the way that it engages with culture and the way people can you know, authentically be their true cultural selves within those structures?

RON: Yes, it's definitely grown a lot. When I first come in, there was nothing like there is these days. Indigenous recruiting officers and Indigenous pathways to help mob, just a hand up for our people. There was nothing like that back in the day. So yeah, it has grown a lot. Like I said there wasn't too much but it's getting more and more you see more of it now. It's more in the papers. The different programmes and different events that we've got now being the Coloured Diggers march, Coloured Diggers Memorial in Redfern sort of stuff that I've been involved in in the last few years that has been sort of part of the community and the job that I have done. Different you know, Serving Country exhibitions and different things like that. And we've got our own D-RAP and different things as well now too, so a lot more positions, a lot more people in those roles to be able to look after mob being there.

TOM: For people that aren't familiar, do you want to explain what the D-RAP is?

RON: Yes, sorry, the military acronyms are coming out, my apologies. But D-RAP is the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan. So just Defence's reconciliation. So basically, in a nutshell, they want to hit 5% of Indigenous population in the ADF by 2025. And us doing our job as Indigenous recruiting there to try and hit that mark. So it's grown a lot. And even in the short time that I've been in, the amount of people from community, our mob, our people that have come through hitting sort of, making good pathway for our mob. We're not out there to fulfil any percentage or make anyone join. When I go out there, it's just to provide my story, provide those options and opportunities and help mob through.

TOM: It's such important work, you know, when we reflect back on, you know, our very early Elders and ancestors who went through the defence structures, you know, back in some of the really early conflicts. I think about my own great grandfather and great, great uncle, who were part of World War One, and you know, what it must have been like, for them being Aboriginal at those times when it wasn't actually legal to enlist as an Aboriginal person. You weren't permitted legally to be part of the AIF and, and you know, how that journey has gone for defence, it's so great to see this true commitment to it now, and people kind of being able to bring culture to the table and that, that enriches the whole joint, you know.

RON: 100%, you know, like, it's come a long way. Like, we go out to Bourke and met up with one Uncle out there, Uncle Vic Bartley met us down at the Diggers on Darling and showed us all these memorabilia and you know, Vietnam vet who comes back and you know, has to go to the back bar, can't drink with his mates. All that and to where we are now, you know, 100 per cent better than what it was and celebrating and sharing our culture as well is a big thing. When people sort of talk acknowledgement of country, I tell people like, if you want to do one yourself, come see me, we'll make one for you. You don't need to read a script. You don't need to do this. It's got to   be genuine and meaningful. So come and see me and like, just have those yarns, talk about our culture and share it together. I tell people 'Don't be scared to ask questions like, ask questions'. That's how we're all gonna learn together, we can share our culture and that's reconciliation through unity

TOM: Hey, that's it. You know, someone much wiser than me once said reconciliation is the journey of 1000 conversations. And I think that's absolutely true. You know, this, this ability to just have that yarn, you know, and actually understand where everyone else is coming from, not just your own experience, you know, even as, as someone from one First Nation in one part of the country, you're gonna have a real different life experience or cultural experience to people from another corner of the country

RON: 100% And those genuine yarns, just sitting down yarning like not scripted, not made- not standing up talking to people. Like just sitting down, having a yarn, having a cuppa.

TOM: Like we are now. So now that you're working as a recruiter, and you're helping other mob to sign up, what's the best part about that job? I mean, I guess you'd there'd be so many communities you get to go to on the regular you know, what, what's the stuff that makes you smile?

RON: Just getting out into the community, like seeing our country, I've never seen so much of it and so frequent. And seeing the shy little ones, you know, like I was saying from Gilgandra, from Trangie, little shy kids where we're talking to interviewers to advocate and mentor these kids through to then seeing them send you pictures at their march outs. Proud, strong, deadly warriors from shy little timid ones from the country. And where you sort of going, 'Oh, tell us by yourself why you want to join' (and they say) 'Aw ... yeah...' and then you see him after march out and you're like 'How was it?' (and they say) 'Oh, yeah, no it was mad. We did this.' Like you just can't shut them up, they're yarning up big. And so seeing them grow. From  kids not meeting sort of a certain eligibility that defence sort of thinks they want or speaking to our people at work saying, oh, you know, 'Not too sure'. Fight and advocating for those kids to get them through and then seeing them on the other side. I've been to a few events in Sydney where I've taken kids that are in the full-time Army and Air Force now out to Job expos. I can talk about it, but these mob coming back to their own communities and telling their stories, you know, it just makes me so proud.

TOM: Yeah, too deadly. So just to, to go back to this earlier conversation around families, and you know, how families and communities can feel about the young ones signing up. Do you do work with families, as part of your job as a recruiter? Or, you know, do you do individuals just kind of surprise their families one day by saying, 'Hey, I've made a decision, I'm gonna go and do this'? Or are you kind of bringing their family along in that conversation as well.

RON: There's a bit of both. We've had a few where they've come through and I'm as close as I am to their family as I am them, you know. We head out and they're 'Oh, hey, Unc, hey Ron, this that'. So the people who have come through our mob aren't numbers to me, they're my family as well. And I treat them all like I would treat my kids. So it's a little bit more time and effort for me, but that's invaluable. I don't mind spending that time. My wife, however, has a different opinion. I treat them like I do. Like as if it was my son and daughter coming through. The work that we do into the community, so not just working out of our office. I'm a big believer in if I'm sitting in the office, just to be seen, not sort of if I've got work to do, or if I'm chasing stuff up for fellas, cool. But if I'm sitting there just to be seen, our mob are just missing out on opportunities, opportunities. So every chance I get, I'll be out in community. But working in those community centres. So Kimberwalli out at Mount Druitt. We'll head out there, work out there for the day. Mob will come in, it's close for them instead of coming sort of all the way into the city. So we can have their family, their mob, different organisations will come in to hit us up about the employment opportunities that they have. We can have like the AMS and different health services there that we can get kids to go to as well to get different documentation. We can mentor them, do practice interviews, hold information session. So let the families, let communities know as well, we're not out here to (say) 'Oi, defence is best for you, come in here'. (We say) 'Bro, these are the options. Let's have a look at what's there for you. If there's something there for you, we'll help you every step of the way to get through and then see you though to your march out and want to see you out in the wider ADF'. And I can't wait to get back into the ADF away from recruiting and actually see these kids out there. There's a few of them we've run practice fitness sessions for you know, like, out at Ropes Crossing Western Sydney for young girls that are a little bit worried about their fitness. Now they're in the full-time Air Force and they're fit as and proud of their journey. So seeing those things and actually, being in community is key. So establishing that good rapport. Letting the old people as well know that we're not here to drag these kids away. They don't just (say) 'This is your culture, now. This is your culture. Forget about sort of where you were', as bringing them through the process, being open and transparent with them as well.

TOM: Um, I'm interested in this idea of walking in two worlds, I have this conversation a bit. And we did talk about it in the last podcast that we recorded with Rex Solomon, a First Nations veteran, you know, and this walking in two worlds idea as a concept, you know, this tension for First Nations people where often you've got professional requirements of your job, and then cultural requirements, you know, that you want to fulfil. And sometimes those things can come into tension or conflict. Have you felt that need to walk the tightrope between, you know, your sense of duty to community and your sense of duty to the Defence Force or have those things always been really closely aligned for you?

RON: For me, they've been pretty close. It's a matter of keeping communications open as well. So you know, say there is sorry business, and maybe your chain of command don't know sorry business. So it's all about sort of being open and honest with them. And having our, so like defence has grown with our Indigenous Liaison Officers and things like that, there's plenty of support and network. We also have like our, we call them DATSINs, so Defence Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander networks, where sort of mob who identify can get together have those yarns look after each other as well. And so yeah, I haven't really had any sort of issues there. But like I said, it comes back to just having those yarns.

TOM: And not, yeah, not ignoring the idea that sometimes that tension can come up, but as long as everyone is able to address it properly.

RON: Yeah, that's right.

TOM: We've talked a lot about the start of people's defence journeys. And I'm interested in also touching on perhaps the other end of the spectrum, and looking at remembrance, and how this country, as we move into a process of truth-telling at the national and state levels, and how remembrance has been done up until now, but also the way that it has changed in the last couple of decades. Do you have any observations on on that and where we've, where we've come to and where we're going with the way that we remember Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans in particular?

RON: I guess all I've seen in that space, where, I guess it's good to see the different First Nations people represented in playing the yidaki at the Anzac Day Dawn services and things like that. Only, I guess only recently is all I've sort of experienced and that where being involved with Uncle Mark Spinks and Jeremy from Babana. Uncle Shane from Tribal Warriors and their Coloured Diggers March, being in Redfern. I was involved a little bit of a ceremony not so much the March due to the COVID restrictions, but able to run and facilitate those military protocols there with those fellas representing our people, as part of sort of recognition of service, and being involved in the Serving Country exhibition. So again, there with Shane, being involved in that, having my photograph in that and being a part of that exhibition, where my Mum, my family, actually see that makes me pretty proud. Where we go from here, I think, again, it keeps growing and keeps getting better. But again, coming back to just sitting down and having those yarns and storytelling and working together. I've said reconciliation's working together for unity, not just looking at, you know, what, what can what can we do for what can we give, you know, the First Nations? No no what can First Nations give back like, what what do we have? What can we share together? And how can we grow together? Not so much sort of singleing them out, but recognising it, having those yarns and growing from that together.

TOM: What passions do you have outside of working in defence? And do you think the day might come at one point where defence is done with and where do you see yourself afterwards?

RON: Yeah, that's a hard one. Like, my kids say, 'What job are you doing next, Dad?' because I'm always changing. But I'm unsure you know, I'm excited about the next three years rolling into this new role. And through the role that I've sort of just been involved in lots of options out in community, which I'd love to be involved in. But in saying that, I have looked at getting out of the military however, it might sound silly, but it scares me.  It's all I've known for the past 21 years and lots of unknowns and you know a little bit you know, have to bit OCD about you know, this this this,  so to actually just get out it scares me but-

TOM: I'm not trying to push out the door by the way! Just interested you know, whether there's been some other hobbies and passions outside that have that you can turn to even when stuff's getting a bit heavy at work or whatever keeps you-

RON: So I do a lot of community work and volunteering as well, you know, for not just our mob, but everybody. So up in the Hawkesbury do a bit of volunteer work there and then also the different men's group and helping out with different organisations. So Merana, love working with those guys. Helping our old people in community there, the mentoring of the youth, the different Kimberwalli, the PCYC heavily involved with those guys and sort of the youth programmes that they run. So I think through all of that, maybe the next journey for me might be you know, some sort of mentoring. Still working within our community. Like I say, I love just grabbing those options and helping our people and watching them grow.

TOM: I love it. We're coming to the end brother, but last question I have for you is what do you want people out there to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the armed forces?

RON: Good one.

TOM: That's what they pay me for. Come up with these curly questions.

RON: Save the best until last. Nice, well played. What do I want? Just that we're there. And, you know, we always have been and always will be, but we're no different to everybody else. And like, I just want to have those yarns and people just just talk and share our stories, our culture, not just our culture, you know, we're such a diverse ADF now Australian Defence Force. So just sharing our culture and everybody moving towards a better future. Acknowledging and sort of that, you know, we have had a history but having those conversations, having those little yarns together and moving forward from there.

TOM: Corporal Ron Schultz, brother, thank you very much for your service and thank you for joining us.

RON: Thanks for having me, it's been a pleasure mate.

My sincere thanks to Ron Schultz and to the Shrine of Remembrance team, as well as you for listening – your interest is much appreciated as we journey together towards reconciliation, the journey of a thousand conversations.

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Shrine of Remembrance. If anything in this interview has raised issues for you, there is always help available:

Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14;

Open Arms on 1800 011 046 or visit their website

13 YARN, is Australia’s first, 24/7, national, Indigenous-led Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line. You can phone the on 13 92 76, or visit their website

You can visit the For Kin and Country exhibition at the Shrine of Remembrance, on until April 2024.

And you can listen to other episodes in this series by visiting the Shrine of Remembrance website,, or wherever you access your podcasts.  

Thanks again for your company. I’m Tom Molyneux, and in the language of my ancestors: ‘wuuwook’ – farewell for now.