Far North memorial to Diggers includes foreign flavour
A LITTLE corner of a foreign field where Diggers died in the service of their country will form part of the Avenue of Honour at Tinaburra.
Stones from Afghanistan, where 39 soldiers have perished, are to be incorporated in the memorial beside Lake Tinaroo, which will officially openat the end of June.
Work started on the Avenue of Honour before Christmas, with the laying of a concrete path in colours replicating the desert dunes of Afghanistan.
"We are trying to reflect an Afghan environment using stones, gravel and short spinifex grasses ... we have stones coming from Afghanistan as we speak," said Gordon Chuck, who with his wife Susan, has spearheaded the campaign for the memorial that has resonated with the public and organisations around the country.
Despite the appeal for the $200,000 needed to complete the project being launched only a few months ago, the Chucks say they are already over halfway, with more than $100,000 either donated or pledged.
Mr Chuck said they were still talking to the Federal Government and were "looking for a substantial contribution from them".
The Chucks lost their son Private Ben Chuck, a commando with an elite sniper unit, who died in a helicopter crash while on a mission in June 2010.
Mr Chuck said that the Avenue of Honour, which follows the funeral route used by the gun carriage that carried his son, would be a memorial of national significance and a place of pilgrimage and quiet contemplation.
He praised the Tableland Regional Council for expediting the work before the onset ot the wet season.
"The next big thing is the irrigation and then the preparation and planting of the the trees which will take place before the end of this month," Mr Chuck said.
An artist has been commissioned to do the memorial, which will be based on the concept of "wings, flight and freedom of spirit", Mr Chuck said.
The memorial is expected to be finished by the end of May for a big military opening late in June.
"We are going to go for a top military person," Mr Chuck said.
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National significance: The Avenue of Honour at Tinaburra.