As we commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day on August 18th, a significant effort is underway to ensure that the memory of those who served in the Vietnam War remains accessible and respected. The Kokoda Youth Foundation (KYF), in collaboration with local community and the Land Warfare Centre, is embarking on a crucial project to relocate and revitalise the Canungra Vietnam War memorial, making it a place of remembrance, education, and national pride.
Currently, the Canungra Vietnam War memorial stands on Defence grounds within the Land Warfare Centre, accessible only through escorted visits. This limited access has led to its gradual neglect, with overgrowth and poor maintenance conditions obscuring its significance. The KYF, with the support of local Veteran community and the Land Warfare personnel, is determined to change this narrative.
The memorial relocation project encompasses the careful movement, cleaning, and reinstallation of memorial signs, plaques, and artifacts. Beyond its physical relocation, the memorial will undergo a redesign aimed at preserving its historical importance and making it an inviting space for both reflection and learning about the Vietnam War.
“Our mission is to ensure that this memorial becomes a beacon of remembrance for all Australians, easily accessible and well-maintained,” stated Johllene Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of the Kokoda Youth Foundation. “Through our collaboration with Land Warfare Centre and the local veteran community, we aim to relocate the memorial to a more prominent and accessible location at the entry of the Kokoda Barracks land. This way, it can serve as a place of national significance and educate future generations about the sacrifices made during the Vietnam War.”
The KYF was successful in obtaining a grant for $104,000 from the Commonwealth Government under the Saluting Their Service program in May and this will go towards adding new items to the memorial, including as life-size bronze statue of an Australian soldier and four information boards sharing not only the history of the Vietnam War but the strong link to the Canungra Land Warfare Centre.
“Every Vietnam solider completed their training at what was then known as the Jungle Training Centre here in Canungra and these barracks have a special association that links all Vietnam veterans” said Johllene.
SOME OF THE EXISTING MEMORIAL ITEMS
Our mission is to honour the existing memorial pieces and create a new memorial site that will be a significant place of education and remembrance for the Vietnam War.
By creating an environment that encourages engagement and learning, the KYF seeks to ensure that the stories and sacrifices of Vietnam veterans continue to be remembered and appreciated.
The project is scheduled to be completed and opened in December this year. However, it will take an enormous amount of community support to make that a reality.
The KYF is currently seeking any in-kind donations of service or supplies towards the relocation project. Your generous donation could include building materials, sandstone, plaques, landscaping supplies, plants, labour service on working bees or a financial contribution”
Your valuable support would be acknowledged through various means, including recognition on the KYF website, social media platforms, and at the memorial site itself with a community brick.
ARCHITECTURALLY DESIGNED MEMORIAL CONCEPT
“In Remembrance To All” to represent all branches of Australia’s military forces, as per the original site.
Ariel view of the memorial depicts the Long Tan Cross.
“The Kokoda Youth Foundation is a charity and our usual business is running youth programs so all additional expenses on this project will cut into our future youth program offerings. However, we are heading up this project to not only honour the sacrifices made by Vietnam veterans, but to create a place for future generations to learn and reflect on the meaning of duty and selflessness” Johllene explained.
During the design and planning phase the project has already received generous in-kind support from Choice Homes, Cobble Patch Loganlea, Coast 2 Coast Earthmoving, STA Consulting Engineers and Axis Surveys.
Please be assured that contributing to the Canungra Vietnam Memorial Relocation Project will not only demonstrate your commitment to honouring our veterans but will also become an integral part of our community’s history and heritage.
As we remember the service and sacrifice of those who served in the Vietnam War on August 18th, the relocation and restoration of this memorial stand as a testament to our commitment to preserving our nation’s history and honouring those who gave so much for our freedom.