The relocation was
officially introduced to the public at the Land Warfare Centre, and was
attended by over 100 local Vietnam veterans.
The initiative involved removing, cleaning, and relocating the signs, plaques, artifacts and the granite wall of the original memorial inside the Kokoda Barracks to the Centre’s entry. The relocated memorial will include the addition of a life-size bronze statue of an Australian Vietnam soldier and informational boards detailing the history of the Land Warfare Centre and the Vietnam War, with particular focus on the Battle of Long Tan and Battle of Coral-Balmoral.
The memorial was unveiled by LTCOL Wendy Say
and Doug Henderson
Doug Henderson 6RAR, Vietnam
Veteran and Founder of the Kokoda Youth Foundation, formed a working committee
for this project in 2022 in response to a request from the Commanding Officer
of the Land Warfare Centre, LTCOL Wendy Say, who expressed the desire to
relocate the memorial to a more accessible location.
Vietnam Veteran and Runaway Bay RSL Sub Branch member Graham Gordon 6RAR said himself and the Sub Branch were honoured to aid with the project – knowing the historical significance of both the Land Warfare Centre and the Vietnam memorial, initially completed in 2005.
“The Centre was previously
known as the Jungle Training Centre, which was the training base for all
battalions before deployment to Vietnam, so it holds immense meaning for
Vietnam veterans,” Mr Gordon said.
Integral to this monumental project has been the tireless dedication of volunteers who wholeheartedly believed in the significance of this memorial. Volunteers from various backgrounds, including veterans' families, local community members, and passionate individuals, lent their time, expertise, and commitment to ensure this relocation became a reality.
Designed by Choice Homes, the new memorial site maintains its essence while offering a refreshed landscape paying homage to the Vietnam War, symbolised by the iconic Long Tan Cross of which the memorial is shaped. At the heart of the site stands a life-sized bronze statue of a Vietnam soldier, an evocative addition funded by the Commonwealth Government's Saluting Their Service grant program.
"It is wonderful that we have been able to continue and add to the good work of veterans from 23 years ago by bringing this memorial back into public access and with a few additional items that will ensure the story of the Vietnam war is shared for generations to come." said Graham Gordon, Vietnam veteran, secretary of Runaway Bay RSL and committee member of the Relocation Project.
“I anticipate the memorial will be a cherished addition to the community and tourists passing through.”
RSL Queensland’s Gold Coast
District was also proud to support the relocation of the memorial to enable
more members of the community to visit and pay their respects.
The memorial’s motto ‘In Remembrance to All’, pays homage to military forces and all those who served in Vietnam, including entertainers, Qantas staff, civilian medical teams and other such personnel.
Due the outstanding community support, the memorial site also includes the pavers engraved with the names of those who supported and fundraised for the original memorial, combined with pavers of those who have supported the 2023 relocation project construction.