VC Auction Result


Story Details

Peter Badcoe would be amongst the bravest, if not the most courageous soldier to leave South Australian soils.

And he was a proud South Australian. Major Peter Badcoe was born and bred in Adelaide. He had a special affinity with the city and wherever his career took him he always called SA home.

He won numerous medals for valour while serving in Vietnam including the Victoria Cross. He was killed in the process. His VC was the last of only four won in Vietnam remaining in private hands.

The VC and Major Badcoe's other medals are a significant part of the nation's, and particularly South Australian history, and were in danger of ending up in foreign hands.

Concerns that the medals could leave our shores were heightened by a statement to Today Tonight from our newly-created Veteran Affairs Minister Michael Atkinson, saying the State Government would not be bidding at the auction. It also stated that Major Badcoe did not fight for this state and the medals were the Federal Government's responsibility.

But between our story going to air and the medals going under the hammer there was a significant change of heart, with Kevin Foley saying: "we were not going to enter the bid and that was a clear Government decision, however as I said, after taking a telephone call from Mr Stokes I took the decision as my capacity as Acting Premier that we would bid and I stand by that, I think it's the right thing to do," says Kevin Foley.

So yet again, Channel 7 Chairman Kerry Stokes came to the rescue of Australia's history, purchasing the VC with the State Government joining him in the act of public benevolence.

"I neither sought nor expected such generosity but it's a clear commitment that in Australia we have people like Mr Kerry Stokes and his family who are prepared to give and give in a very generous manner and I would like to nationally applause Mr Stokes for his great generosity," Mr Foley says.

Two VCs previously purchased by Kerry Stokes were donated to the National War Memorial in Canberra, which is where Major Badcoe's medals may end up after a 12 month stay in our state.