THE already impressive National Vietnam Veterans Museum at Newhaven is set to double in size, confirming its status as one of the region’s most important drawcards. The museum, with the help of Bass MP Ken Smith and Neville Goodwin, acquired one of the massive sheds used at the desalination plant during the construction phase. It was dismantled and the material trucked to the Newhaven site where it lays waiting to be erected, pending the rezoning of adjacent land.
To help prepare the grand plans that will guide the museum well into the future, the museum received a $40,000 State Government grant announced last week by Mr Smith. “In addition to the $40,000 Victorian Government grant, the museum will contribute $8500 to the $53,500 project, with Bass Coast Shire Council to provide a further $5000 funding and in-kind support,” Mr Smith said. “The Victorian Coalition Government funding is provided through the $100 million Putting Locals First Program, which is a component of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Smith said. “The museum’s success to date is testament to the hard work of local volunteers, all of whom are Vietnam veterans who have spent 15 years developing the facility, and it is vital that their legacy is preserved for the education of future generations.” CEO Gary Parker said the expansion can’t come quick enough.
“We’re at the stage where we can’t put everything we have on display. “It’s not a military collection, we’re a military museum. “It’s not about the war, it’s about the individuals who were there. “It’s a story from a period that needs to be told, and I’m delighted with where we are at and where we are going in our efforts to tell these stories.” With more room will come more exhibits to complement what’s already on display. “We have no trouble getting in aircraft from the United States. They ask whether we’d like something, and we’ll say ‘Yes, we do’, and worry about where it will go later!” The strategic plan will guide the development of the museum up until 2025, a year that will mark the 50th anniversary since the end of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.
Mr Smith thanked those involved in the application process including Laurie Paton, the Community Development coordinator from Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, and also Peter Francis, the Economic Development manager from Bass Coast Shire Council who coordinated the application process which reaped a record allocation from the funding program. ‘Putting Locals First’ supports a diverse range of local projects that matter to regional communities, with a focus on building for the future and providing a better quality of life for all Victorians.
For more information about the Putting Locals First program, please visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/putting-locals-first.
Open Invitation: Vietnam Veterans Day Service at NVVM
Colonel Jan McCarthy (Rtd) to speak
The annual Vietnam Veterans Day Service will be held at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum on Sunday 11 August at 11 am and everyone is welcome. There will be no admission charges until Mid-day when the Ceremony is over. Guest speaker will be Colonel Jan McCarthy (Rtd), a former Director of Army Nursing, current president of the Returned Nurses RSL Sub-Branch and a Vietnam veteran who served at the 1st Field Hospital in Vung Tau, South Vietnam between 1968 and 1969. NVVM CEO Gary Parker said, “We are very pleased to have Colonel McCarthy speak at our Vietnam Veterans Day service. As a nurse who served in Vietnam, Jan understands only too well the impact of war at close hand. It is especially fitting that she address our service when the last, 521st, official death of the Vietnam War was an Army nurse, Barbara Black. This service is also the start of Vietnam Veterans Welfare Badge Week where volunteers will be selling badges until the 18th August which is the traditional Vietnam Veterans Day. At the completion of the service, attendees are invited back to Phillip Island RSL who are co-hosting light refreshments.