Phillip Island National Vietnam Veterans Museum
The National Vietnam Veterans Museum located on Phillip Island, is extremely special. It was built by Vietnam veterans to help themselves and other veterans who took part in the Vietnam War. The War was fought from 1962 to 1975 and many Australians participated in it in different capacities. The museum was a way to help the veterans handle their war experiences better and also their lives after they return home.
While the Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island, is an independent museum, it strives offer visitors a unique and more comprehensive knowledge about the War, thereby strengthening the bonds between the community and Vietnam veterans.
The museum is not about history or how the War was fought. Rather, it is related to the 50,000 military personnel who were part of the 10-year War. It honours the Australian soldiers, both men and women, who took up arms to fight in the conflict and the horrendous and painful events and experiences they endured.
The Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island initially started out as a way to honour individual soldiers. The credit goes to John Methven and his spouse, Krishna, who drove around Australia carrying their own memorabilia in a Land Rover. This became a mobile museum, which got impetus from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Museum started out in a garage in San Remo, but very soon it became too small due to the items being donated by other veterans. From there, the Museum shifted to a new site, which had previously housed five shops. However, by 2003, even this space was insufficient. Phillip Island was chosen as the ideal location because it was affordable and so attracted thousands of people each year.
After housing the Museum on Phillip Island, it was officially opened on 9 March 2007 by the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks in the presence of 2,000 Vietnam veterans, their families and dignitaries. The opening got a lot of media coverage and this announced to the world that there was the Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island had arrived.
The Museum houses a large collection of small and large objects and artefacts from the Vietnam War. Most have been donated by veterans and their families. Some have been gifted by various institutions, including the Australian War Memorial and RSL. It is amazing to see a tank from that era, helicopters or a poignant letter written home by a soldier. The Museum is working on a life-size diorama to show the tunnel system and network used by the Viet Cong.
The Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island has gift shop that is stocked with souvenirs, clothing, memorabilia, caps, books, stickers and belt buckles. The items also can be bought online and are shipped to any part of Australia.
The Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island has the following opening hours:
During School Holidays: 10am to 5pm everyday of the week
Other Periods: 10am to 5pm from Wednesday through Monday
The Museum is closed on Tuesday as well as on Easter Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
There is a fee to enter the Vietnam Veterans Museum Phillip Island and check out the beautiful and moving exhibits.
Children from 5 to 15 years: $10
Children under 5 years: Free
Family comprising of 2 Adults and 3 Children: $40
Seniors, Vietnam Veterans, Pensioners and Concession: $12
The entry fee allows visitors free entry to the in-house café and gift shop.