A man of letters
Charles Tednee Blackman was born in Gayndah around 1896 to Emily Deshong, and Thomas Blackman. Charles Blackman is one of the earliest known Aboriginal soldiers to enlist in WW1 joining in August 1915, which qualified him for all three medals: the Star Medal, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Charles, Thomas, and later Alfred Blackman, all served in the Great War, but unfortunately Alfred died of his injuries whilst fighting on the Western Front. Charles and Thomas Blackman both returned to Australia.
During his 3 and a half years of active service, Charles was a prolific letter writer to his former employer, Mr John Herbert Salter, for whom he had worked as a farm hand and labourer in Biggenden. These letters give us a real insight into the life of an Aboriginal soldier. At the end of his service in 1919, Charles Blackman returned to the Salter property and continued working there until the mid 1920s. He later relocated to North Queensland where he changed his name to Charles Thomas Graham.