THE Lions Club of Gunnedah has donated and installed three bench seats at the Water Tower Museum to enhance viewing of the Vietnam War murals launched on Anzac Day this year.
While the Lions volunteers were on the job they erected three interpretative information boards created by Quirindi's Andrew Hope.
Fronting the museum, the first board explains the creation of the murals and a background of artist Jenny McCracken, while the centre board describes Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War.
The final sign, placed between two of the new bench seats, faces the Long Tan Cross mural, shedding light on the battle involving 108 men from D Company, 6th Battalion, who were outnumbered at least 10 to one. Seventeen Australians were killed and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.
D Company commander Harry Smith said of the Long Tan Cross erected three years after the battle: "The memorial cross is what Long Tan was all about. It's a symbol that enshrines the spirits of those 18 young men - but now symbolises the 520 young men we lost in Vietnam and the 3000 who were wounded".
The murals have recently been lit up at night, with the installation by Gunnedah electrician Adam Thomson of four LED spotlights connected to light poles surrounding the water tower.
The lighting has proved very successful, highlighting the two murals for the first four hours of darkness each evening.
These modifications have enhanced what has become a major tourist attraction and a poignant place of memories for Vietnam veterans an their families.
The murals, lighting and display boards have been funded through the Federal Government's Funding for Drought Affected Communities stimulus program.
Gunnedah and District Historical Society is grateful to the Lions Club of Gunnedah for its generous gift and Gunnedah Shire Council for its support. The society has also expressed appreciation to the Rotary Club of Gunnedah for its donation of $250 at the recent change-over dinner.
Members of the community are invited to attend the Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration at the Long Tan mural on Sunday, August 18. The museum will be open from 9am, with musical items to precede the service at 11am.