Council’s Open Spaces Team has helped to restore Yeppoon’s Stewie Harald Park to its former glory, working alongside the Vietnam Legion Veterans Association to replace the plaque that was stolen in honour of the late Stewie Harald.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said the stolen plaque was erected as a tribute to Private Noel Stewie Harald who sadly lost his life aged 30 on 11 October, 1967, in Vietnam.
“Council is pleased to be able to provide resources to rejuvenate this park with the replacement of a plaque in memoriam of Private Harald as well as regular landscaping maintenance and tree planting,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“Council would like to thank the Vietnam Legion Veterans Association for their assistance with the works, which recognises the importance of displaying respect to our region’s fallen military personnel.
“It’s also wonderful to see these works come together ahead of Vietnam Veterans’ Day commemorations, also known as Long Tan Day in Australia, on 18 August.”
Deputy Mayor Nigel Hutton said this day commemorates the Battle of Long Tan that was fought near Long Tan during the Vietnam War. It resulted in a decisive Australian victory over North Vietnamese units and Viet Cong.
“One of the most significant battles fought by Australian troops during the Vietnam War was the Battle of Long Tan which took place in Phuoc Tuy Province on August 18, 1966,” Cr Hutton said.
“Australian involvement in the Vietnam War began in 1962, when the country sent 30 military advisors to provide tactical and logistical advice to the South Vietnamese. The Battle of Long Tan became the largest single unit battle fought by Australian troops.”
Vietnam Legion Veterans Association Yeppoon Treasurer and Secretary, John Gehle said the association was extremely pleased to see the restorative works take place at the park.
“These memorials are one of the big reasons we as an association exist – to keep the memory alive of these men and women and the huge sacrifices they’ve made, and to make sure they are represented in our communities,” Mr Gehle said.
“We’re very pleased that Council has helped with cleaning up the park and the plaque unveiling today. It was a shame to see the park in the condition that it was previously, so we hope it gets treated better from now on in honour of Stewie’s memory.”
Vietnam Veterans’ Day is observed annually throughout Australia to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan and to celebrate the contribution of Australian troops to maintaining peace in South Vietnam.
Stewie Harald Park is located on the corner of Melbourne and Tabone streets in Yeppoon. Private Harald is buried at the Yeppoon Cemetery.