Roy Mundine, a Bunjalung man, began his distinguished career in the Australian Army in 1958.
In 1959, Roy served in Malaya with 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) and spent much of his time patrolling in the jungle. After his posting back to Australia, he underwent parachute training in Williamstown, Victoria. Then he deployed to England with the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment (1 PARA) in the British Army.
Roy served 2 tours in South Vietnam with 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) in 1966 and 1969.
In the Commonwealth Gazette, Roy was Mentioned in Dispatches for his actions in Vietnam on 25 April 1969. On that day, when approaching a suspected enemy area, he tripped and detonated a mine. The mine severed his right leg and damaged his back. For more than 40 minutes, Roy continued to instruct his section and refused to let anyone near him until the engineers had cleared a path through the minefield.
Roy returned to Australia for a long period of rehabilitation.
In 1987, Roy was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his service as the Quartermaster of 49th Battalion, the Royal Queensland Regiment (49RQR).
Roy remained in the Army until 1995, but defence continued to remain a large part of his life.
On 18 April 2016, Roy was appointed the Australian Army's first Indigenous Australian Elder. The role represents serving First Nations personnel and veterans, advising the Army's senior leadership and representing the Army at Indigenous events, such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.