CHANGEOVER: The old monument which will be officially replaced on August 18.
CHANGEOVER: The old monument which will be officially replaced on August 18. Contributed

Taroom pays its respects

A FORMAL unveiling and dedication ceremony of the new Veterans Memorial at Taroom will take place on August 18 to coincide with Vietnam Veterans Day.

RSL Taroom Sub Branch secretary Gerald Rose said the RSL had been applying for grants to update the community's old memorial for four years.

"The old monument was built in the early seventies by the then Taroom Shire Council workers,'' Mr Rose said. "We were successful in obtaining a grant through the Community Benefit Fund Unit which was used to refurbish the foreground of the monument.”

At an Anzac Day service at Taroom in 2017 a member of the Oakey Army Aviation Base was researching the Taroom Community War Service records and found that the bronze plaque on the monument which recognised the names of returned servicemen had omitted the names of five indigenous men from the Bundulla Mission who had served in World War I.

Two of those men were killed in action.

Further investigation found that there were several other returned servicemen from the community whose names were not listed on the existing plaque.

"If you are willing to fight and die for this country their names should be on the honour rolls,” Mr Rose said. "This was something we had not been aware of so we immediately set out to rectify it.”

The old monument was too fragile to remove the existing plaque and adding an additional plaque with the names was not an option for the RSL.

"In 2018 we applied for and received a grant from the Armistice Centenary Grants Program which allowed us to complete the final stage of replacing the old monument,” Mr Rose said.

The old monument can still be viewed at the Taroom and District Historical Museum.

Member for Callide Colin Boyce will host the ceremony and Vietnam veteran Jack Hammer will officiate at the dedication.

To mark the occasion invitations have been extended to MP Ken O'Dowd, RSL Queensland head office, RSL State Council of Auxiliaries, neighbouring RSL Sub Branches, Banana Shire Council Mayor Nev Ferrier and councillors together with business houses in Taroom and all residents of the community.

The new monument will provide full recognition of soldiers from World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Timour, Middle East and Afghanistan.

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