Viet vets boost

$5m for new mu­seum trib­ute to Dig­gers

Herald Sun - - NEWS - ROB HAR­RIS rob.har­ris@news.com.au

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.

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