Anzac Day 2019 had a special meaning for Vietnam War veterans when two murals honouring those who served were launched at the Gunnedah Water Tower Museum in front of a large crowd.
The Gunnedah & District historical society had been looking at ways of honouring veterans from the Vietnam War after creating a dedicated display in the military section on the ground floor of the museum. The society has identified more than 50 veterans who were born or have lived in the Gunnedah area.
Silo artist Jenny McCracken used an image from the war etched in granite on the Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra as her inspiration. This features the iconic Huey helicopters and group of soldiers waiting on the ground.
The second mural facing north will create a quiet place of reflection with soldiers standing at attention beside the Long Tan Cross.
The Gunnedah & District Historical Society had applied for a grant under the Federal Coalition’s Drought Communities Programme (DCP) and the project was completed on the eve of Anzac Day 2019.
Australia's most highly awarded pavement artist, Jenny McCracken (Zest Events International) was a finalist in the Moran Portrait Prize and her work is celebrated internationally. Along with her artworks created for AMEX, MONA, the Art Gallery of NSW, Walt Disney and Mazda among others, she has had significant experience painting on other rural silos and outdoor sites, most recently at Gulargambone NSW.
The committee already had ideas for the mural when funding for drought-affected communities became available and the grant of $53,651 was received.
Now that the artwork is complete the Gunnedah Water Tower Museum will become recognised as one of the attractions on the ‘silo trail’ in regional NSW and the site will be a public memorial for the Vietnam War.
The historical society is hopeful that the murals will attract additional tourists to Gunnedah, bringing dollars to fuel outlets, food and other retailers. It has been very well received by Vietnam veterans.
The museum is located on Anzac Hill overlooking the War Memorial pool, Remembrance Grove and 8th Division Memorial Avenue.
Gunnedah Shire also has a cenotaph erected in 1927, a memorial wall at the original public school, a memorial clock tower on the town hall, St Xavier’s War Memorial School, War memorial stations of the cross in St Joseph’s Catholic Church, and war memorials and honour boards in surrounding villages.
Visit the Gunnedah Water Tower Museum Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/gunnedahmuseum/