On the 9th of December 2015, acclaimed portrait artist, Mr George Petrou opened the Cross of Valour Portrait Exhibition at the Sydney Hilton Hotel. The exhibition coincided with the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt exhibition and presentation, hosted by Mr Ross Coulthart, Walkely Award winning journalist from 60 Minutes. It was a great honour for the recipients to also have one of their Vice Patrons present, Mr Ray Martin AM.
How these portraits came to be painted is a story in itself. In February 2015, George attended the Hearts of Valour Ball in Canberra and was so impressed with the story and achievements of all five Cross of Valour recipients that he approached the President of the Cross of Valour Association, Mr Allan Sparkes. George asked Allan if he thought the recipients would be interested in having their portraits painted. The initial response was yes, and so the journey began. As all five recipients live in four different Australian states and with Richard Joyes CV living in Canada, a portrait sitting for each was next to impossible. All five portraits were painted from various images taken on the day and night of the Hearts of Valour Ball.
The night of the Hearts of Valour Ball was a most auspicious occasion as it was the first, and possibly the last time, all living Cross of Valour, George Cross and Victoria Cross recipients assembled in the one place at the same time to celebrate their amazing achievements.
On the night of the exhibition, the five portraits were unveiled to an inspired audience of guests kindly assembled by The Findex Group, one of Australia's largest privately owned financial advisory and accounting services business.