THE National Vietnam Veteran’s Museum on Phillip Island has received $5 million from the Federal Government to help build a new home for their extensive collection, which boasts more than 20,000 artefacts.
At an announcement attended by around 150 people, including staff, volunteers and community supporters, Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the capital will assist the museum to see their new museum site go from conception to reality.
Museum chairman Kingsley Mundey said the total estimated cost for the redevelopment is $35 million and the Federal Government funding will work as a springboard to help move the project forward.
“There are always people in society who tell you what can’t be done – but this museum today is filled with can-do people; people who get off their butts and get things done regardless of challenges,” Mr Mundey said.
“Some people have said that we’ll never raise $35m to complete this new museum, that we’re simply dreamers.
“Well, I can tell you that I am a dreamer and if I could speak on behalf of Vietnam Veterans, I would simply say ‘never under-estimate our passion or our tenacity’.”
He said the work at the museum becomes more urgent as every day passes, adding that this past year, they’ve lost two of the five Vietnam Veterans serving on the museum’s board.
“I have never heard a Vietnam Veteran ask for a hand out – all they seek is respect and this timely contribution by the Turnbull Federal Government, from their ultimate commander-in-chief, is not only a mark of deep respect, but is also a tremendous contribution towards the legacy of Vietnam Veterans.”
Mr Mundey said he’s had people approach him asking why the Phillip Island museum isn’t in Melbourne.
“In some ways our location reflects the isolation from mainstream society felt by many Vietnam Veterans, but the soul of this place could never be closer to the spirit of our veterans.
“The museum is a cathartic place for veterans to remember, talk, and reflect on a time and place that so significantly impacted their lives.”
Mr Mundey also thanked the local shire for their support, and Mr Rod Patch and his consortium for donating five acres of land on the airport site to assist the museum’s expansion.
$5m springboard for museum