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Memorable day at Veteran Central

Thank you to Mike for writing up this report of the recent trip to ANZAC House.

Coffee & cake

Memorable day at Veteran Central

THE SUCCESS of our first excursion of the Covid era was mainly due to the venue – Perth’s recently opened ANZAC House Veteran Central.

This striking redevelopment on St George’s Terrace has an amazing story to tell. So for those of us who were having so much fun at lunch, here’s the important detail:

Built on the site of the old ANZAC House (1934), this stunning $29-million “spiritual home” for the Returned & Services League of Australia WA Branch Inc. (RSLWA) has a different name to represent a groundbreaking new approach to serving the needs of veterans. For the first time in Australia, a wide range of services is now available under one roof.

The purpose-built seven-storey structure, with sweeping views over Government House to the Swan River, is designed for modern efficiency while retaining subtle elements of the defence forces’ long traditions. Memorabilia has been retained from the old building, with additional items reflecting the closer association with the Karrakatta Club, the oldest club for women in Australia.

The striking lobby has a concierge ensuring a warm welcome, and is adjacent to a coffee lounge and flower shop. The ANZAC Club is the members’ space, available for lunch, dinner and social gatherings. While the sub-branches retain their social component, Veteran Central offers a dining area and bar.

Medical, mental health, hearing and dental services occupy the next floors, with consultants in advocacy, welfare assistance, aged care support, transitioning and employment. There is ‘pop-up’ office space for those who need it.

RSLWA headquarters occupies the level below the two top floors, which comprise Perth’s premier function facilities, catering for corporate gatherings, seminars, training sessions, reunions and weddings.

The dynamic, groundbreaking development is contained in the central levels. For the first time, a truly collaborative and centralised model of service delivery will support the core aims of veteran health-care, well-being, transition, welfare, advocacy and DVA assistance, commemoration and aged care.

Over the next five years, RSLWA will work even more closely with other ex-service organisations and civilian veteran service agencies to provide a wider and more diverse range of services for WA’s 25,000 veterans through Veteran Central – hence the new name.

The model places veterans and their families at the centre of the circle of services and support to provide more easy access. The functions of the new Veteran Central will be supported by strategically located veteran ‘hubs’ located around the metropolitan area and in regional centres in WA.

In the words of the Hon. Kim Beazley, Governor of WA, in opening AHVC in November: “As a community, we have inherited the freedoms forged by our forebears. And as a community, we need to continually strive to support those who have supported us for so long.”

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