A unique bond defending Australia

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Minister for Human Services

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

The Australian War Memorial today dedicated a statue, Elevation of the Senses, to a team that has helped save many Australian lives in theatres of war around the world – Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) and their handlers.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Stuart Robert, joined with the Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, and TV veterinarian, Dr Harry Cooper, to dedicate an impressive sculpture honouring the commitment and relationship between the dogs, their handlers and the Australian Defence Force.

Minister Robert said the artwork was a fitting acknowledgement of the vital task performed by military working dogs and their handlers.

“Explosive Detection Dogs and their handlers have risked all in defence of Australian servicemen and women as well local communities in war zones and conflicts since the First World War. In short, dogs and their handlers have saved lives,” Minister Robert said.

“This sculpture, designed by Melbourne artist Ewen Coates, truly captures the close relationship between the dogs and their handlers – a vital partnership that saved many lives at considerable risk.”

Australian War Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, said the sculpture epitomised the close relationship between the EDD dogs and their handlers.

“The sculpture commemorates the life of handlers such as Sapper Darren Smith, killed in Afghanistan alongside his beloved dog, Herbie,” he said.

“A number of these dogs have been killed while on active service in Afghanistan and their names are inscribed on the statue.”

Elevation of the Senses is located in the Memorial’s Poppy’s Café courtyard.  It complements the two Afghanistan memorial plinths, which were brought back from Australian bases and serves as a visiting place for Australian men and women who served in Middle East conflicts over more than a decade.

Media Contacts:       
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s Office) 0477 391 174
Allan Yates (Australian War Memorial) 0421 150 229

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)
can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling.
Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)