Australia’s military involvement in the Vietnam War was the longest in duration of any war in Australia’s history. That involvement lasted over eleven years, between August 1962 and June 1973.
One way to discover more about this period in Australia’s history, the events of which are now more than a generation in our past, is to visit the Vietnam Veterans’ Museum in San Remo, which is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting memorabilia from the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Veterans’ Museum currently has over 5000 artefacts, pieces of memorabilia and photographs which are displayed either under glass or in walk-through areas, which allow the visitor to fully appreciate what it was actually like to be ‘in country’ and absorb the era which was Vietnam.
The outdoor area contains exhibits as large as a Centurion tank, a Wessex helicopter. a 105 mm howitzer gun and several Land Rovers. A recent arrival is a AH-1F Hueycobra complete with a 20mm Gatling gun, TOW launchers and rocket pods.
The story of the museum’s evolvement is almost as fascinating as the artefacts. Vietnam veteran John Methven and his wife Krishna drove a Land Rover and trailer full of odds and ends of personal memorabilia around Australia, in what was regarded as an embryonic mobile museum. More and more equipment, photos and stories were added to the collection both during and following this tour.
A garage space was arranged when the Methvens returned to San Remo, but very soon they were so short of space, that they took the plunge and arranged a site in 1999 which had previously been five shops.
With the challenge of a growing collection of artefacts and increasing interest in the Vietnam era of Australia’s history, new and larger premises are currently being created in Churchill Road South, Newhaven, on nearby Phillip Island. If you are planning to visit the museum pre-Christmas, check the website www.vietnamvetsmuseum.org for the latest location news before you go.