Western Australian Korean War veterans to be honoured at Kings Park memorial
Veterans who were born or enlisted in WA and served in the Korean War will be honoured at a new memorial in Kings Park where their names will forever be etched in bronze.
A ceremony will take place on July 27, 2023 to unveil the Perth Korean War Memorial which marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice of the Korean War.
There were 1,916 Western Australians veterans who served in the War between 1950 and 1953 or with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the years following until 1956.
Sadly, 34 of those men lost their lives during the War and now only 88 remain, all aged in their 90’s.
Perth Korean War Memorial secretary Peter Heeney said it would be a very emotional day for the veterans and their families.
“I had a call from a veteran who could not thank us enough for getting this memorial,” he said.
“They are so proud and so excited, some of them cry when they ring and their families are the same. It is so emotional and we wanted the memorial to be emotional too.”
The project to erect the memorial began in 2018, when members of the Perth-Korean community approached the Royal Australian Regiment.
Mr Heeney said there wasn’t a memorial site in WA and the Korean community were calling out for one.
“I was invited by the Korean community to attend the opening of a Korean War Memorial in Melbourne, where the Ambassador to Korea tapped me on the shoulder,” he said.
They planned to have a Perth memorial opened in time for the 70th Armistice, which received huge support here in Australia and in South Korea.
The memorial received funding from not only the Australian and State Governments but also the South Korean Government and the County of Kapyong, which donated the centrepiece.
“The Kapyong rock weighs five-tonnes and the top of it looks like the Kapyong Mountains,” Mr Heeney said.
“The rock comes from the battlegrounds of the Battle of Kapyong, it is quite significant.
“They are so appreciative of Australians who fought in the Korean War, there are about 20 dignitaries coming out from Korea to the unveiling.
“They reckon the Australians saved them and that the Battle of Kapyong saved Seoul from being invaded.
“The Republic of Korea believe that the Australians saved them from communist rule.”
Paving at the memorial site has been shaped in the Rose of Sharon, which is the national flower of South Korea.
The public are welcome to attend the unveiling which will take place from 10.45am on Korean Veterans Day in the POW precinct of Kings Park (off May Drive).
A flyover will take place at 11am and the ceremony will be attended by Premier Roger Cook and the South Korean Ambassador Wan-Joong Kim.