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FORMATION OF

AUSTRALIAN NAVY IN VIETNAM VETERANS’ WELFARE

ASSOCIATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA (INC.)


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       In 1984, the HMAS Sydney & Vietnam Logistic Support Veterans Association was borne out of the complete disregard of any recognition of the contribution of the logistic forces of the Royal Australian Navy during the Vietnam War. The initial concept of forming an Association arose in discussions between Fred McLeod-Dryden and John Carroll in September 1982. The Association was formed in Victoria in 1984 with the founding members being F. McLeod-Dryden, B. McGurgan, C. McKenzie and J. Carroll. On 12th of November 1985 the newly formed HMAS Sydney and Vietnam Logistic Support Veterans’ Association was specifically mentioned in Hansard (page 2518 and elsewhere) with reference to allotment of HMA Ships during the Vietnam War and, as a result, the Veterans’ Entitlements Act changed in April 1986 to allow access to a range of benefits and entitlements for members and many others that served in a logistic support role.
    Distance and communication made it difficult for West Australian members to be involved in the initial stages. In the early days, West Australian veterans became members of the South Australian Branch. Michael Prowse, president of VLSVA (SA) was one of the prime movers for us to form our own Association in WA. On 28th May 1991, the inaugural meeting was held in the back room of “Sonny’s” coffee shop in Hay Street, Subiaco. The founding members who attended the meeting were:- John Bellwood; Bob Flett; Ric Gilling; David Green; China Hammal; Bill Hinds; Don Hitchenson; Glen Ridgwell; Geoff Royle; Geoff Walton and Graeme Winter. At the meeting a conscious decision was made to omit HMAS SYDNEY from the Association name so that all ships and units that served in Vietnam would be represented equally. The VLSVA (WA) was incorporated on the 7th of August 1991. From the founding members present, the following Committee was formed:-  

    President Ric Gilling; Vice President Geoff Royle; Secretary Don Hitchenson; Treasurer Bob Flett; LOGSUP Editor Bob Flett/Don Hitchenson and Welfare Committee John Bellwood, China Hammal, Glen Ridgwell, Geoff Walton and Graeme Winter. 

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Welfare Association

    The formation of Australian Navy in Vietnam Veterans’ Welfare Association of Western Australia (Inc.) (ANVVWA) was born out of the Vietnam Logistic Support Veterans Association of Western Australia (Inc.) (VLSVA) by Mr China Hammal.   Welfare has always been a priority of the VLSVA (WA) since it's formation on 28th May 1991.  As Welfare Officer of the VLSVA (WA), Mr China Hammal became aware of individuals who were in emergency situations and who were unable to get financial assistance from other organizations because they did not qualify. As the need for more and more assistance in claims and welfare work grew. Some members of the VLSVA raised concerns about the involvement of the VLSVA with advocacy work and after much discussion and investigation of the matter, it was decided to form an Association separate from the VLSVA for the purpose of Welfare assistance. A great deal of work was done in setting up the Association and in preparing a constitution. China  obtained permission from the Royal Australian Navy to register the name of  "AUSTRALIAN NAVY IN VIETNAM VETERANS’ WELFARE ASSOCIATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA  (INC.)" and thanks to the support of members, DVA, Perth RSL and a few prayers, the inaugural meeting was held to form the Welfare Association  on 17th April 1997.

Mr Jim Dalton,  Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs addressed the meeting, stating that he felt the formation of the Welfare Association was an important process.  His involvement with ex-service members of the community was necessary to help him reflect the views of the members to Government and his Department.  Mr Dalton also advised that once the funds had run out of the  “Australian Vietnam War Veterans’ Trust Fund (Agent Orange)” which wound up in December 1996, then the formation of this Association would help fill a gap in the welfare field.  Since it's formation the Association has achieved well in excess of 1,000 successful applications for disability pensions, service pensions and war widow pensions with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Military Compensation & Rehabilitation Service, the Veterans’ Review Board and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. 

        Initially formed to provide assistance to Navy Vietnam Veterans, with the passing of time and the changes in the world scenario, we now offer our assistance to all members of the Australian Defence Force, both serving and ex service veterans from all theatres of operation.
   
   
   
  When  we first formed, some discussion went on as to what could the motto be. The  words “Care and Support” were spoken and without hesitation this became the motto. Our Association is operated by a dedicated band of volunteers and it is great to see this mateship is still there as our Advocates and office staff willingly assist veterans and their families
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    We have been most fortunate in being supported by the Australian Army who allow our Association to utilize the office rooms under the medical centre, Building 18, at Leeuwin Barracks in Fremantle.

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AUSTRALIAN NAVY IN VIETNAM VETERANS’

WELFARE ASSOCIATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA INC.

 AIMS

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        To provide information and assistance to any serving or former members of the Australian Defence Force, in preparing applications for the Service Pension, and Disability claims with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and for Compensation claims with the Military Compensation and Rehabilitation Service.

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To provide information and assistance to widows or widowers of former members of the Australian Defence Force in preparing applications for Widow/Widower Pension.
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To continue, as one of the Associations responsible for the construction of the Australian Navy in Vietnam Memorial on Monument Hill, in Fremantle , Western Australia , the ongoing role of Custodian of the Memorial, as long as the Association continues to actively exist.   To rededicate the Memorial and honour the fallen Royal Australian Navy Personnel of the Vietnam War every year on the 30th November.

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CONSTITUTION of the ASSOCIATION 

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  Copyright 2001 ANVVWA all rights reserved