Viet vets boost
$5m for new museum tribute to Diggers
A DISUSED aircraft hangar will be transformed into a state-of-the-art Vietnam War museum on Phillip Island.
The ambitious project, created and sustained by local volunteers, will today be given a $5 million boost through federal government funding.
The National Vietnam Veterans Museum, which started as a mobile exhibition almost two decades ago, has collected more than 20,000 artefacts from the campaign, educated locals on the war and provided a “spiritual home” for Vietnam veterans across Australia.
It comes after the recent 50th anniversary of the Battle of Coral-Balmoral — the biggest and longest Australian battle of the Vietnam War.
The funding marks the beginning of a five-year $35 million project to be completed by 2023, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of the last of the 60,000 Australian troops from Vietnam.
It is hoped the project will draw on the millions of tourists who already visit Phillip Island each year for the famed penguin parade and motorsport events, including MotoGP and the V8 Super Cars.
Museum chairman Kingsley Mundey said the funding, which will be used to buy more land, preparation, and for infrastructure such as roads, water, sewerage and access, was welcome news for the local Phillip Island veteran community.
“This 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 said.
“Our task now is to deliver the dream, and present our Vietnam veterans in a light which does them and their future generations justice, and reinforces their pride in their service and sacrifice.”
Federal member for Flinders, Greg Hunt said the investment would provide much-needed assistance to the museum to continue to educate the public and provide a fitting tribute to veterans of the war.
“This injection of funds will provide the museum with the capital to undertake necessary works to see their new museum site go from conception into reality,” Mr Hunt said.
An artist’s impression of the new museum.