Sgt Matthew Locke MG to be included on national memorial
FORMER Bellingen soldier, Sgt Matthew Locke MG, will be among a band of servicemen commemorated at a monument soon to be opened in Far North Queensland.
The first national memorial for fallen Australian soldiers in Afghanistan will be opened on June 22 at Yungaburra near Cairns and is to be known as the Avenue of Honour.
The opening ceremony will be performed by the Chief of Defence Forces, General David Hurley, accompanied by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Building committee volunteer Howie Thomas said the intention had been to construct a living memorial.
"To date 39 young soldiers have been killed during the conflict and we want the nation to remember them," he said.
"Everyone knows about it in our area of Far North Queensland but we now want the country to know more about as we prepare to hand it over to the nation.
"It is for all the fallen Australian soldiers from everywhere."
SAS professional soldier Matthew "Grub" Locke was killed in action at Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province (Afghanistan) on October 25, 2007, while leading a six-man foot patrol searching for Taliban militia and insurgents.
In his memory, The Grub Club undertakes building and education projects in East Timor and Afghanistan.
A bridge carrying his name was opened in 2009 at Raleigh and an annual charity rugby league match is played every February between former club mates at the Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo Magpies and Australian Army Thunder.
An appeal has been opened seeking donations to finish construction of the Avenue of Honour.