REMEMBER: Vietnam veteran Eric Law and Robert Langton reflect on the Boys from Barambah near the new totem poles in Cherbourg.
REMEMBER: Vietnam veteran Eric Law and Robert Langton reflect on the Boys from Barambah near the new totem poles in Cherbourg. Jessica McGrath

Carvings stand tall for Cherbourg's indigenous soldiers

ENGRAVING the stories of Cherbourg's soldiers was important to honour their descendants still living in the community.

Cherbourg craftsman Robert 'Rocko' Langton carved out totem poles for the shire's Anzac Memorial Park to remember those in the Cherbourg community who had served in the war.

The 12 poles coincide with the stories in the 'Boys from Barambah' exhibition at the Ration Shed Museum.

"It remembers the young boys who volunteered to go to fight in the war, and there were about 40 of them from here," he said.

"But we found out there were more, but some of them weren't accepted into the army because of their skin colour."

The collection of carved and painted box gum and iron bark poles extends the exhibition and provides an opportunity to further educate the community and visitors of Cherbourg's military past.

"It's something new to us, but we like to expand ourselves," Mr Langton said.

Mr Langton said he put the collection together with Cherbourg elders like Eric Law to tell the stories of the soldiers and respect their families.

"It's worth telling because of the rest of the extended family that lives here now," Mr Langton said.

Mr Law has a rich military history with his own service in the Vietnam War and his father who fought in World War I.

"When we first thought of the idea of the poles, I had no idea it would be like this," he said.

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The Vietnam veteran said the project received no funding and cost the museum nothing as the poles were recycled and Mr Langton volunteered his time.

"We gave Rocko the go-ahead and he produces these things, he's a talented man," Mr Law said.

They plan to re-turf the memorial area and put in seat-blocks so visitors can sit and appreciate the pole collection.

Visitors can see the totem poles at the Cherbourg War Memorial, located at Fisher St and Barambah Ave.