Highlights of the year

Lists highlights of the year.

Engagement with the ex-service community

Throughout the year, the VVC continued its engagement with the veteran community and with ex-service organisations. The VVC received regular updates from ex-service organisations, such as the Returned & Services League of Australia (Victorian Branch) (RSL Victoria) and Melbourne Legacy through its representatives on the VVC. 

The VVC also met with its stakeholders, including: 

  • visiting Austin Health’s Ward 17 and taking part in Austin Health’s Veterans Consultative Group
  • taking part in a Department of Health roundtable on Victoria’s new suicide prevention and response strategy in response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System
  • taking part in consultation roundtables on implementing the Veterans Card Victoria
  • meeting with members of the Queensland Veterans’ Council
  • taking part in a panel discussion during the Queensland Veterans’ Council inaugural planning session. 

The VVC also met with and heard presentations from: 

  • Victoria’s Veteran Employment Advocate Major General David McLachlan AO AO (Mil) (Retd) and Ray Cadmore (Jobs Victoria) on Victoria’s veteran employment programs
  • RSL Victoria’s Chief of Veteran Services Ben Webb
  • Melbourne Legacy’s Annabelle Wilson on the Victorian Veterans Family Services program, which provided support to families during the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. 

Members of the VVC also met with staff from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and took part in national ESO forums hosted by RSL Australia. 

Bruce Mildenhall attended and presented scholarships for the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre, which the VVC supports as a patriotic fund trustee.

Victorian Veterans Sector Study 2022 

At the request of the Minister for Veterans, the VVC commissioned its third Victorian Veterans Sector Study in 2022, following on from previous studies in 2008 and 2015. The 2022 study focused on: 

  • veteran housing and homelessness
  • veteran mental health and suicide
  • veteran employment and education
  • the impact of COVID-19 on the veteran sector and the organisations supporting our ex-service community. 

In 2022–23 the VVC considered the findings and presented the study along with the VVC’s recommendations to the Victorian Government. Through its 2023 work plan the VVC started: 

  • responding to areas of concern noted by the study, including the inconsistency of definitions of ‘veteran’ across Australian states and territories 
  • exploring setting up a community of practice for veteran advocates and welfare officers to share knowledge and experience. 

ESO Summit 2022

Held on 6 August 2022, the inaugural ESO Summit was designed to promote collaboration and cooperation between the organisations that support Victoria’s veteran community. The summit was well attended, with 250 people taking part in person and online. Held under the theme ‘participate, discover, connect’, the ESO Summit featured keynote speakers including the former Minister for Veterans the Hon Shaun Leane MP and veteran Joel Sardi. There were also masterclasses, information sessions, showcases and panel discussions. 

Commemoration and ANZAC Day services

The VVC supports ANZAC Day and other commemorations and events in local communities through funds from the Victorian Veterans Fund. This funding is distributed under the Victoria Remembers Grant Program. 

This year VVC members attended services, commemorations and events across Victoria. These included the openings of the Sir John Monash water tower mural and the ‘Changed Forever’ exhibition in Charlton, and the opening of the ‘Remembering Vivian Bullwinkel at Devenish Silos’ project delivered by the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre. The VVC supported these projects through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program. The VVC also attended the Premier’s Anniversary of Anzac Day State Luncheon, as well as services including: 

  • RSL Victoria’s Springvale War Cemetery Remembrance Service
  • the City of Port Phillip’s Remembrance Service
  • the Bombing of Darwin Commemorative Service. 

Victoria Remembers Grant Program highlights

The VVC, through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program, is proud to support community projects that promote a better understanding of the service and sacrifice of Victoria’s veterans in war and peacekeeping operations. It also commemorates those who have died in the performance of service or duty. A complete list of grants awarded in 2022–23 is available in the Victorian Veterans Fund section.

Promoting education and understanding

The Victorian Remembers Grant Program supports projects that educate about and enhance understanding of the participation of Victorians in war and peacekeeping operations. This year, projects supported included: 

  • $30,000 to the Shrine of Remembrance to deliver an exhibition featuring the stories of Forces Entertainment veterans and entertainers
  • $15,000 to Musicult Inc. in partnership with Friends of Gallipoli Inc. to present a Gallipoli Remembrance concert from both Australian and Turkish perspectives featuring music in English and Turkish
  • just over $20,000 to the Museum of Chinese Australian History for its project to publish stories and interviews of Chinese Australians who served in the First and Second World Wars
  • more than $23,000 to Caroline Springs RSL to produce a documentary about Caroline Springs RSL including the stories of its veterans and volunteers and its contribution to the local community, with a focus on its commemorative services, veteran welfare team and its school education program.

Supporting commemoration and remembrance

The Victoria Remembers Grant Program supports the community to recognise the service and sacrifice of Victoria’s veterans. This year, services and commemorative events supported through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program included: 

  • the Battle for Australia Commemoration Ceremony
  • ANZAC Day services in the Borough of Queenscliffe
  • support for regional students to attend the annual ANZAC Schools ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance
  • the 81st anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin in 1942
  • support for Melbourne Legacy’s 91st ANZAC Commemoration Ceremony for Students
  • the Mt Macedon ANZAC Day Dawn Service
  • the Boer War Day Commemoration Parade and Service
  • a commemorative event for the Battle of Kalamata in honour of Australians and Greeks who fought in Greece in World War Two.

Supporting the preservation of Victoria’s wartime heritage

This year, wartime heritage projects supported by the Victoria Remembers Grant Program included: 

  • funding for the Shrine of Remembrance to preserve and display the Grimwade sea-chest and bell, as well as 13 handwritten diaries
  • funding for new display cabinets for Seymour RSL Sub-branch to improve the accessibility of its collection
  • more than $28,000 to preserve the wartime heritage of the Alma Doepel [1]
  • funding of $30,000 was also provided for the Trafalgar Holden Museum to restore and display its Wackett trainer aircraft, the first Australian-designed aircraft to see major service in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two. 

The VVC is proud to support the preservation of Victoria’s wartime heritage and looks forward to the successful completion of these projects.

ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund Grant Program highlights

Through the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund Grant Program, the VVC is proud to support the welfare activities of Victoria’s ex-service organisations. A complete list of grants awarded in 2022–23 is available in the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund section. 

Some of the recent initiatives and activities supported by the VVC in 2022–23 include:

  • more than $66,000 to support Aussie Veterans Social Programs to help veterans and their families make new social connections and friendships, take part in physical activities and connect with service providers and support networks
  • $150,000 to Carry On (Victoria) to continue its crisis accommodation pilot program and to provide direct welfare support to veterans and their families
  • $150,000 to Soldier On for its Vet Connect Victoria program to support ADF members in the process of transitioning from service
  • $50,000 to Melbourne Legacy for its Education, Upskilling and Training project to support families of veterans to achieve their academic and career goals and build a better future for themselves post-service
  • $30,000 to VetRide for its ‘Ride ANZAC’ event to support veterans to take part in a three-day cycling event to help build social connections


[1] During World War Two the Alma Doepel was used as an Australian Army supply vessel. The funding supports refitting the crew quarters with period-appropriate fittings, memorabilia and interpretive panels and improving access to the public.