On this day in 2013 ANVAM’s founders were first introduced to the former Repatriation Commission Outpatient Clinic at 310 St Kilda Rd (310SKR), Southbank, while searching for a place to run community art programs for veterans.
As it turned out, 310SKR was the perfect place to think big about making a real difference to veterans’ wellbeing through the establishment of a cultural institution incorporating galleries, performances, studios, archives and more.
Investigations into 310SKR’s background revealed a place steeped in history and heritage for veterans’ health and wellbeing. Built in 1937 for WWI veterans, it catered for over 1,000 veterans each week.
It has also been witness to veterans from all wars, theatres and campaigns from Gallipoli, and even the Boer War, through to the Vietnam War. It seemed appropriate in 2013, some two years ahead of the Centenary of the landings at Gallipoli, to seek to preserve this site and to operate it in its original purpose; the wellbeing of veterans. Six Ministers for Veterans’ Affairs later (Snowdon, Ronaldson, Robert, Tehan, McCormack & Chester) and the Centenary of WWI almost complete, 310SKR remains in place without an outcome.
The team at ANVAM remains committed to realising the vision of creating a unique cultural institution supporting veterans and families. In doing so it will shine a light on the impact veterans have had on Australia’s national culture and identity; an impact that in its own right deserves prominent recognition that 310SKR would provide.
In Melbourne alone the city is awash with permanent public art by veterans from WWI and WWII (Waller, Bass, Nolan, Anderson, Bowles & Ewers).
As we look forward to a positive outcome for 310SKR we note the supportive words of the Prime Minister and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs that offer hope for their ongoing support:
“The best way to honour the courage and sacrifice of the diggers of WWI is to support the servicemen and women, the veterans and the families of today.” Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to putting veterans and their families at the centre of everything that we do.” Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.