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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC


7 September 2018

Celebrating veterans' artistic talent

TODAY we celebrate the launch of the 56th year of the Story Writing and Art Competition, encouraging and highlighting the artistic talents of Victoria's ex-service community.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said the competition, run jointly by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Austin Health and the state's ex-service community has played an important role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of participants.

"For many in the veteran community the competition has helped to heal the impact of war on their lives and provided an opportunity for them to have their work publicly acknowledged," Mr Chester said.

The success of the competition over such a long period has been a testament to the high regard Australians hold for the veteran and defence community and their families.

"It is wonderful to see the impressive artistic endeavours and talent of entries demonstrated this year from arts and crafts to photography and writing.

"I thank all those involved with the competition, importantly the sponsors and many volunteers over the years, as without you this event would not have been possible.

"Congratulations to all the entrants who have participated over the years, I hope many Victorians come to view the exhibition in the coming week."

The competition began in 1962 as therapy for returned soldiers at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. Entrants have been from young and old including veterans, widows, war widows and their families from across Victoria.

"Caring for our veterans and their families is the best way to honour the service and sacrifice of all those men and women who have served our nation in uniform over the past century."

Current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, who have completed at least one day of full-time service, including Reservists with any period of continuous full-time service, are eligible. The mental health condition does not need to be related to service.

The Veterans and Veterans' Counselling Service (VVCS) provides free, confidential counselling, case management and group programs as well as afterhours crisis counselling helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week — call 1800 011 046.



Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP, Canberra.


Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit