Display pays tribute to soldiers

PENRITH RSL Club is commemorating Australia's war history in a new display.

In one corner, there is a wall sculpture of the Gallipoli campaign.

Alternating lights at the top mimic the flashes of Turkish gunfire, while three-dimensional figures of Australian soldiers cling to almost vertical hillsides.

The club's president, Neville Barnier, who is a Vietnam War veteran and also president of the Penrith RSL sub-branch, has visited Gallipoli.

"It looks just like that," Mr Barnier said, pointing to the sculpture. "I can't believe those soldiers got up that hill."

The display is divided into sections representing different parts of Australia's military history, such as World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and peace-keeping missions.

Glass cabinets contain medals and old photos of soldiers, sailors and airmen as well as other memorabilia.

One also contains a Lee Enfield 303 rifle, which Australian soldiers used from World War I to the Korean War.

In another corner an "eternal flame" sits, represented by a flame-shaped sculpture with different coloured lights.

Mr Barnier said the club asked Kingswood TAFE students to design the display to create a more modern image of Australian war history.

"It didn't look as much like an RSL club as we think it should," he said.

"There was something lacking in this space."

Mr Barnier said the display was still growing and would continue to do so until its official opening next month.

"We're getting people bringing stuff in," he said.

"Just recently we got a parcel full of magazines from the Boer War."

From 1899 to 1902, Australian and British troops fought the Boers in South Africa, who unsuccessfully resisted British expansion into their territory.

"Penrith is one of the strongest sub-branches and we've still got a strong RSL tradition," Mr Barnier said.

"A post here will have all the names of the fallen, from World War I to Vietnam, who came from the Penrith district."

Veteran Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon will officially open the Penrith RSL Club display at 11am on June 6.

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