Yarra Glen RSL commemorates all the veterans of Vietnam War

The scale model of the Huey helicopter with its sculptor George Miller. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

Yarra Glen RSL is selected as one of the recipients of the Victoria Remembers Grant Program.

It will be receiving $2,740 through the grant to erect a sculpture of a UH-1H helicopter.

Yarra Glen RSL president Stephen Shortis said he was grateful for getting the grant.

“It’s been quite a long haul, unfortunately, it’s not all we need because we’ve got some other expenses we have to cover,” he said.

“But, it certainly will pay for the installation and erection of the scale model of the Huey helicopter. So we’re very pleased that it is much closer to being done now.”

Huey helicopter is the nickname of the Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, one of the iconic equipment that was well-used during the Vietnam War.

Yarra Glen RSL decided to install the scale model of a Huey helicopter to commemorate Vietnam War veterans because there is no memorial for them in Yarra Valley although there are more than 60 veterans living around.

The president said the scale model of the helicopter could be built thanks to the help from one of the RSL members and the local businesses.

“It was built by one of our members, George Miller, through the good support from Yuncken Sheetmetal Fabrication in Healesville, who supported all the steels,” Mr Shortis said.

“There are still a few outstanding costs from which we first built it we need to cover. It would be great if local businesses could give us some donations.”

Yarra Glen RSL associate member George Miller, who built the scale model, said it took about a year to finish sculpting.

“When Covid lockdown first started, we weren’t allowed to go anywhere and I thought that was a good time to start,” Mr Miller said.

“I started in June 2021 and finished it all off roughly about the same time next year.”

Mr Miller worked on the tubular steel structure by himself and clouded it with aluminium cladding.

Mr Miller said he was not a soldier but his father was a World War II veteran.

“My father was in the Second World War for six years as an artillery. I’m an associate member in Yarra Glen RSL because of his service which makes me eligible to be a member,” he said.

Once the Yarra Ranges Council’s final approval is signed off on, the helicopter will be erected in McKenzie Reserve adjacent to the WWI Cenotaph along ANZAC Avenue in Yarra Glen.