7 September 2023
The town of Uranquinty came alive with pride on August 24, as the local memorial water tower mural was unveiled.
The water tower's new artwork portrays World War 2 First Nations Air Force pilot Len Waters (1924-1993) flying the Wirraway aircraft, while Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) mechanics, then stationed in Uranquinty, work diligently alongside.
The mural, created by artist Damien Mitchell, honours Mr Waters and highlights the area's historical connection to the ADF and our contribution to the region.
The event included a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony and was attended by Mr Waters’ daughter Julia and Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal Glen Braz.
The opening marked the exact date of the 81st anniversary of Len Waters’ enlistment and 30 years since he died.
RAAF Base Wagga Indigenous liaison officer Flying Officer James Evans led a group of Indigenous pre-recruitment program participants at the event and played the didgeridoo during the Welcome to Country.
“It is amazing to see the water tower mural, especially as a local Wiradjuri man, knowing the significance of Len Waters and his service as an indigenous Air Force pilot,” Flying Officer Evans said.
“As people see this beautiful mural, it will spark conversations and allow us to share Len Waters’ connection to Uranquinty.
“The artwork will act as a visible and accessible cultural education tool,” he said.
100 Squadron pilot Flight Lieutenant Andrew Bishop flew the Wirraway for the flypast, paying homage to the past, while showcasing 100 Squadron's commitment to preserving history.
The significance of the flypast was made all the more poignant thanks to Flight Lieutenant Bishop’s personal connection to the aircraft.
Going back to 1943, his grandfather, Flight LIeutenant Ron William Bishop, was stationed at 52 Flying Refresher Course, where he also flew the Wirraway.
This connection is a testament to the history 10 Squadron holds with this iconic aircraft.
The Uranquinty memorial water tower mural encapsulates the synergy between history, heritage and the ADF.