The life-size sculpture of a tracker dog named Caesar, by Sydney artist Ochre Lawson, has been unveiled near the Edmondson Park railway station, close to the planned town centre.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the sculpture was an appropriate way of recognising the area’s past as the Ingleburn Army Camp with its future as a thriving community of Sydney families.
“Tracker dogs were used during the Vietnam War to follow a scent and find enemy bunkers or unexploded mine bombs,” Mr Stokes said.
“They were valuable members of the defence force and saved many lives. So valuable, that many now consider them to be war heroes,” he said.
The former Ingleburn Army Camp was a purpose-built defence camp and training ground for World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Mr Stokes recognised the involvement of Private Peter Haran, one of the handlers of Caesar the dog at Ingleburn. Private Haran and Caesar were posted to southern Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) between 1967 and 1968.
Caesar was not permitted to return home due to quarantine laws, and along with other tracker dogs, was donated to families at the British and Australian embassies in Saigon.
“These dogs are fondly remembered by those soldiers who served with them, both for their hard work and their loyalty on the front line,” Mr Stokes said.
Edmondson Park is a major land release area in the south west growth region of Sydney, covering the two adjoining suburbs of Edmondson Park and Bardia.
UrbanGrowth NSW’s masterplan for the area includes 4000 new homes, a combined primary and high school, a new town centre, community facilities, schools, a 150 hectare regional park, smaller parks and playgrounds, walkways and cycleways.
Mr Stokes said the suburb’s military heritage has been recognised in the names of streets and public art.