A BRONZE statue has been unveiled at Point Nepean National Park to commemorate former graduates of the Portsea officer cadet school who died during active service.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions the 18 March unveiling by former graduates Major General David J McLachlan AO and Lieutenant Colonel Robin A McBride, was broadcast online.
Of the 22 names on the statue’s plaque fixed to a granite base, 15 lost their lives in south Vietnam, four in the Philippines, two in Malaysia and one on the Thai-Laos border.
The statue faces the former parade ground close to Badcoe Hall, named after Major P J Badcoe VC, who died in south Vietnam on 7 April 1967.
The Portsea officer cadet school was at Point Nepean from 1952 to 1985, resulting in the graduation of 3544 officers (during 1972 and 1973, 68 of these undertook the course at the officer training unit at Scheyville, NSW).
Of the 3544 graduates, 2826 Australians were commissioned as regular army officers and 30 as RAAF officers.
The school also trained 688 international officers from 14 countries, the first being from New Zealand and Malaya in 1957.
The international graduates came from New Zealand (398), Malaya/Malaysia (91), Papua New Guinea (61), Singapore (40), The Philippines (38), Fiji (24), Brunei (16), South Vietnam (6), Nigeria (4), Cambodia and Kenya (3 each), Tonga (2), Thailand and Uganda (1 each).
The statue was approved by the state government, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Bunurong Land Council and Parks Victoria. The cost of the statue and associated works was paid for with donations from cadet school graduates, RSL Victoria and the Rye RSL sub-branch.