OCS Statue History


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In 2002, the late LTCOL Bob de Haas began to develop a website for all sixty-seven Classes of the Army Officer Cadet School from 1952 – 1985.  At the time, this area at Point Nepean was in a no-man’s land with no in-house users, an uncertain future and deteriorating infrastructure.

The Federal Government decided to pass the site to the Victorian Government, but before that could occur, remedial work valued at $30 million was carried out under the control of the Point Nepean Community Trust. 

In 2009 this work was completed and the area was handed over to the Victorian Government to be managed by Parks Victoria.

During these early years, Bob de Haas spent many days at Portsea talking with the Point Nepean Community Trust and Parks Victoria.  Bob was passionate about reminding everyone about the history of the OCS and about the blood, sweat and tears shed in the commissioning of 3,544 young military officers for Australia and 14 other allied countries. 

Bob long had a vision of a statue of a saluting officer cadet being erected on the site of the original Memorial Wall to permanently remind visitors of the important contribution made here by the OCS.  Unfortunately, Bob passed away in August 2018.

In late 2018 a small group headed by retired LTCOL Ossie Kleinig got the statue project rolling, and in early 2019 donation pledges from the OCS Alumni were sought.  The alumni are former cadets, staff and local community friends.  Within two weeks, sufficient pledges for the cost of the statue were received and so began the formal application process to Parks Victoria for its approval.

The Alumni was lucky to have two graduates living locally who could liaise directly with local Parks Victoria staff on the ground at Point Nepean - retired LTCOLs John Wilson and Robin McBride.  They were the centre point of the various applications, phone calls and meetings. Throughout this process, we were fortunate to have the strong support of the RSL Victoria and the Rye RSL Sub Branch.  The Alumni also acknowledges the goodwill, guidance and support from all the staff at Parks Victoria.

Eager to get on with the project, the pledges made 14 months before were called in and within 14 days, statue organisers had received $105,000.  That donation total increased to $124,000 and is a testament to the generosity of the OCS Alumni.  It is also an indication of the importance given to the Statue as a symbol of how the OCS Portsea course influenced the lives and careers of so many.

After various approvals, the signed final approval from the Victorian Government through Parks Victoria was received on 17 July 2020.  Shortly after, the contracts for the production & installation of the Statue, the plaques and the plinth were signed and the deposits paid on behalf of the Alumni.

The Statue was constructed and virtually unveiled by Major General David McLachlan AO (Retd) on 18 March 2021.

Paul Asbury

31 March 2021

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