A Dubbo man's devoted quest to ensure Aboriginal soldiers who died overseas during World War I are not forgotten to history has gained new momentum, recognised as a project of significance to his country.
During trips to Europe Joseph Flick has discovered the graves of a number of Aboriginal men who donned army uniform a century ago, feeling he's been able to bring their spirits home and give peace to their families.
His passion has seen him awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to further research and document the burial sites of Indigenous soldiers who died during World War I in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.
Early next year he will travel overseas to continue the work that was supported in the application process by Australian War Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson.
Mr Flick reports research shows there were up to 1200 Aboriginal men enlist in World War I, and of those "800-odd" served overseas.
His own interest in the field started with researching his grandfather, Mick Flick, who served in the war.
It became a passion after a football trip to France led him to Villers-Bretonneux.
Since 2013 Mr Flick has travelled to Europe five times, in what becomes "quite an emotional journey".
He told of taking a photo of the grave of Thomas Dodd of Walgett, and having the opportunity to take it to the fallen soldier's family.
"...and say to the people out at Walgett he's related to, 'look this is where this fellow is, he thinks about you and I told him that you love him, that you miss him," Mr Flick said.
The Churchill Fellowship recipient hopes his project impacts families of Aboriginal soldiers and the wider community.
...it will also be a way of bringing their spirits home, connecting back to country.Churchill Fellowship recipient Joseph Flick
"The first thing is to find some closure for Aboriginal families who may never have seen their loved one's grave in northern Europe," Mr Flick said.
"So that will be special.
"And it will also be a way of bringing their spirits home, connecting back to country."