Renewed honour: Canungra's Vietnam War Memorial reopens at the Land Warfare Centre

07 December 2023
  • History & commemoration
  • Media release

The Kokoda Youth Foundation in collaboration with the Land Warfare Centre, Runaway Bay RSL Sub Branch, and the local community organised the relocation of the esteemed Canungra Vietnam War Memorial on Friday 1 December 2023.

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 Canungra Vietnam Memorial opened by LTCOL Say

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.

Wendy Taylor at the Canungra Vietnam Memorial

RSL Queensland State Deputy President Wendy Taylor

“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.

CEO of the Kokoda Youth Foundation Johllene Cooper said the design of the memorial would also mirror the shape of the Long Tan Cross, a significant symbol of the Battle of Long Tan.

“We are very grateful to all the volunteers, businesses and organisations – including RSL Queensland and local RSL Sub Branches – for helping to make this local historicial project possible,” Mrs Cooper said.

“Additionally, we received a grant from the Department of Veteran Affairs ‘Saluting Their Service’ program which allowed us to implement the life-size statue.”

Vietnam veterans at the Canungra memorial opening

Mr Gordon said RSL Sub Branches within the Gold Coast District along with RSL Queensland have focused their contributions on fostering and enriching the educational experience for the public – which ultimately inspired their contribution of the information boards.

“We are thrilled to be a part of a project that not only honours an existing memorial, but also creates a new accessible space for education and remembrance, commerorating the Vietnam War,” Mr Gordon said.

Veterans gathered for the Canungra Vietnam Memorial reopening

“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.

Canungra Vietnam Memorial