A new mural paying tribute to the Riverina's involvement in the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) during World War 2 has been complete, just as the Air Force's centenary year comes to a close.
The heritage project, located at the Wagga RAAF Base, includes a detailed mural honouring the role of local towns who supported the Air Force between 1939 and 1945, particularly through the EATS.
Squadron leader N. Parry AFC of Deniliquin is depicted on the mural amongst a number of significant figures, and there are 141 stars to represent the 141 aviators who lost their lives in the Riverina whilst training or supporting EATS.
The mural, painted by artist Sam Brooks, also depicts maps for the towns of Cootamundra, Temora, Narrandera, Wagga, Uranquinty and Deniliquin to highlight their role with the scheme.
Project manager Tony Wennerbom said the project has been three years in the works, made possible via a $60,000 community development grant from the federal government.
"The actual work on this is a combined working group between Air Force and [the RSL Sub-Branch] so we've really engaged the community and the veterans because this base had a really important role in their lives," he said.
While the mural is now complete, the project is still under works with a pathway and storyboards to be installed by the end of the month.
Mr Wennerbom said the main goal of this project was to engage the community in centenary celebrations, create a sense of ownership and pride amongst locals while educating them on the Air Force's role in the Riverina, and inspire the younger generation.
The project will be officially launched in July.
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President of the Wagga Sub-Branch David Gardiner said the mural is incredibly important, and he hopes it will encourage tourists to visit Wagga and its neighbouring communities.
"We see it as a big drawcard and once people come and visit they'll see there's a whole weeks worth of tourist attractions around what the Riverina's contribution was in World War 2," Mr Wennerbom added.
More than 50,000 Australia aircrew were trained through the EATS in order to become RAAF aviators. From this more than 27,000 went on to operational service, supporting air campaigns across Europe, the Middle East and South West Pacific.
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