Memorial for the LARC Tragedy

Living Tapestry
Screenshot 2024-06-13 120638 LARC
Brisbane Floods – 1974

During the Brisbane floods of 1974, two soldiers were accidentally killed on the Brisbane River in Bellbowrie, when the vehicle in which they were travelling came in contact with high voltage overhead power cables. Their vehicle, a LARC-V1, was transporting a number of people to safety. The soldiers who lost their lives were CAPT Ian Kerr and CPL Neville Hourigan of 40 Transport Platoon (Amphibian). It was 28 January 1974.


On the 28th January 2024, exactly 50 years after the accident, a fine memorial was unveiled, commemorating the sacrifice of the two soldiers. Despite rain, heat and high humidity, a large and appreciative crowd was present for the dedication of the memorial by the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Adrian Schrinner. Also present were the Federal Member for Ryan, Ms Elizabeth Watson-Brown; the RACT Head of Corps, BRIG Natasha Ludwig; Corps RSM, WO1 Lance Keighran, CSM; State Member for Moggill, Dr Christian Rowan and Councillor Greg Adermann, Councillor for Pullenvale Ward.

Most important was the attendance of members of the families of Neville Hourigan and Ian Kerr – Mrs Helen Kerr, her daughter, Sally, and son, Nigel, and their families; and Mrs Margaret Downing (formerly Hourigan) and her daughter, Sue, and family.

Moggill Historical Society

The main impetus behind the memorial came from the Moggill Historical Society, ably supported by COL (retd) Dennis Scanlan and many others. The Society, working with the Brisbane City Council, guided the project to its successful conclusion. The Memorial design and concept were undertaken by 6 Engineer Support Regiment, Amberley. Other ADF involvement, on the day, were contributions of soldiers of 35 Water Transport Squadron, 10 Force Support Battalion, Townsville, who formed the Catafalque Party, and members of the Australian Army Band, Brisbane, who provided musical elements, including The Last Post and Rouse.

The memorial is located at Booker Place Park, Bellbowrie. The full story of the events of that sad day in 1974 is available for download from the Moggill Historical Society website.

Click here to read the story!

by Arthur Woodroffe, Librarian and Volunteer, Army Museum South Queensland