A sculpture and artwork celebrating the transformational power of valour and patriotism has been unveiled at the new RSL LifeCare Birdwood Park facility in Newcastle, just in time for Remembrance Day.

The work by internationally-recognised Sydney sculptor Vivienne Lowe was commissioned on behalf of RSL LifeCare by leading commercial builders Hansen Yuncken, as a permanently striking memorial to the bravery of service men and women in Vietnam, exemplified by Major Peter Badcoe VC.

Designed by EYE Architects, RSL LifeCare Birdwood Park comprises of Long Tan Village and Badcoe House, a 4,900 sq m vertical aged care and retirement living facility located at 510 King Street in the Newcastle CBD.

The development, the first vertical aged care and retirement living for Newcastle, includes 76 two-bedroom plus study independent living units and Badcoe House, a 60-bed residential aged care facility offering 24-hour care and incorporating the high quality and carefree environment contained in RSL LifeCare’s retirement facilities and nursing homes throughout NSW and the ACT.

The central 2.5 metre high stainless steel and glass valour sculpture and accompanying artworks are created from permanently beautiful materials with themes to create an enduring memorial intended to inspire the thousands who will pass by it over generations. 

Lowe was recently recognised among  international sculptors of note with the inclusion of her work in the book titled “50 Women Sculptors” – soon to be released globally. 

Lowe says in creating the Birdwood Park Valour sculpture, she was inspired by the native Hakea seed, whose capsule is a craggy, woody and dense form which safeguards its seed. Like many native plants, it can take an extreme stress such as a bushfire for the seed pod to release the seed thus ensuring the plant species’ survival. 

“The Valour Sculpture uses the analogy of the seed pod and its release of the seed to symbolize bravery in our soldiers. The colours of Major Peter Badcoe’s medal ribbons are introduced in the form of the glass seed, to symbolise valour. It’s sometimes said that every now and again, people “show their true colours” and similarly, this rainbow of colours in the sculpture symbolises a valour; a valour which is inside us all, and which can sometimes be revealed by our soldiers in extreme times, such as in war.

“Under circumstances where extremes warrant extraordinary behaviour, it can manifest as heroic actions, such as in Major Badcoe’s deeds in the Vietnam war," she says.

Image: Supplied