STATUE UNVEILED: Ben Roberts-Smith at Victory College yesterday where he unveiled the school's new Anzac statue.
STATUE UNVEILED: Ben Roberts-Smith at Victory College yesterday where he unveiled the school's new Anzac statue. Philippe Coquerand

Aussie hero unveils new statue at Victory College

FORMER soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, Ben Roberts-Smith, visited Victory College today for the official opening of an Anzac statue.

The statue is of a young boy wearing a slouch hat with an emu feather.

School principal Brett Costin said the statue took two years to complete.

Army hero Ben Roberts (right) at Victory College
Army hero Ben Roberts (right) at Victory College Philippe Coquerand

"It's significant in the sense that when our students walk into school they remember the tradition, honour and it helps them to think about the fact they aren't on their own, they aren't just individuals, they are working for a whole community,” Mr Costin said.

After the official ceremony, Mr Roberts-Smith spoke to the whole school on the importance of leadership and on his time spent in Afghanistan on various missions.

"This school has particularly done a great job with their memorial. To have a statue of a child holding a slouch hat is really symbolic to what the memorial is all about, and that is to remember the sacrifice that all those generations before us went through so we can live this way,” Mr Roberts-Smith said.

He said it was important to never forget.

"We can never forget. It's not about glorifying war, it's not about video games and the things we see today promoting that type of warfare and violence,” he said.

"It's about understanding that unfortunately there are those in our history that have had to fight for our freedom, and the message I would leave with any Australian child, is that freedom is not free.

"Somebody else has paid a price for it.

"Leadership in Australia is something we need to continually work on. It's not good enough to just hope that someone will take a leadership role.

"It's about maintaining who we are as people. We need leadership in our culture to promote the values that are necessary for this country to move forward into the next generation but in a positive way.”

Mr Roberts-Smith dismissed the notion that young people of today are disrespectful and not engaging with the Anzac spirit.

"My view, having travelled around the country and speaking at lots of different schools, is that like every generation there is different personalities and different people involved but in the main, the youth of today really understands what the Anzac legacy is,' he said.