Tucked behind the Hume Veterans Information Centre, in Wodonga, looms the larger than life figure of a Victoria Cross recipient. Dressed for combat.
Australia’s 100th VC recipient, Corporal Cameron Baird died in Afghanistan, aged 32, while drawing enemy fire away from his team in 2013.
The mural was created by Albury artist Kade Sarte and commissioned by the Hume Veterans Centre, to honour Corporal Baird who was a team commander of a Special Operations Task Group at the time of his death.
For Sarte, 27, being involved in the mural was a privilege.
The street artist donated half of his time to the project.
“He’s a war hero… I looked into the story and wanted to do whatever I could,” Sarte said.
“I don’t see why you wouldn’t do what you could to help when these people risk their lives for our country, our freedom, our safety – especially his story.
“It actually got me, I got a little bit emotional watching all the videos and tributes.
“It really made me think there are some real heroes out there. Some real good people who do great things for their country and squad, what he did for them, you can’t really top it.”
IN OTHER NEWS:
Chairman of the Hume Veterans Information Centre Wayne Taylor said the resource centre, on which the mural is painted, was renamed after Corporal Baird in October.
Mr Taylor said the centre had built a connection with Corporal Baird’s father Doug who visited to unveil the name change and mark the centre’s 20th anniversary.
The mural is based on an actual image of Corporal Baird in the field, reading a map.
“Looking at a map it shows leadership, it shows courage, commitment,” Mr Taylor said.
“Seeing that draws your interest, wanting to learn more, so it’s quite a piece of work
“It honours his VC, it honours his service to the country.”
The mural was jointly funded by City of Albury RSL sub-branch, the Hume Veterans Centre and the Wodonga RSL.
Wodonga RSL president Kevyn Williams said it was important to honour those who served in the defence force especially those, like Corporal Baird, who died doing so.
“It honours the service of every individual that joins the military and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice during all the wars,” he said.
“It’s a way of remembering and keeping their memories still going, alive, and doing the right thing by the veterans making sure they are respected.”
City of Albury RSL sub-branch secretary Mark Lunnon said Corporal Baird, being the 100th VC recipient, was a good focal point to be represented in the mural.
Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here