Swans National President, Phil Johns, welcomes the crowd to the 2013 ANZAC Friendship Match. Photo, Stan Middleton.
National President of the Vietnam Swans, Phil Johns, reviews the 2013 ANZAC Friendship Weekend that has been praised from all quarters.
Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters
One week on from the 4th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match, I can barely believe that there have been just four. It’s history, heritage and tradition belie its age.
In the past week, the stories have been filtering in about lots of little things that lots of people were doing on the day and across the weekend to ensure it was such an outstanding success. It’s made me reflect upon Hawthorn Coach, John Kennedy Snr’s famous “Do Something” speech in the 1975 Grand Final. Ironically, it’s not the “Do something” words that resonate. Rather it’s when he says:
“At least you can come off (the ground) and say, ‘I did this’, or ‘I shepherded’ or ‘I played on. At least I did something.’ “
I think everyone came off the ANZAC Friendship Weekend being able to say, ‘I did this’ or ‘I introduced those people to each other’ or ‘I thanked the umpire. At least I did something’.
The one per centers off the ground were amazing. Everyone now understands what the weekend is trying to achieve and they do their utmost to try and make it happen. (Click here for a list of specific thank yous in ‘Long supply line feeds ANZAC Friendship Weekend’.)
L to R: Stan Middleton (1968 player and historian for the VFL), Ron Vernon (1967 VFL premiership player) and Dick ‘Johno’ Johnston (dual 1968 VFL premiership player) at the pre match formalities. Match balls donated by the AFL and Sherrin.
In attendance at the Lord Mayor’s Oval, we had Vietnam Football League (VFL) Footballers Stan Middleton, Dick ‘Johno’ Johnston and Ron Vernon in the line up for the pre match formalities. Each of these men have done much over the past four years to help build our ANZAC Friendship Match. In the grandstand, we were lucky enough to have two additional VFL premiership players: Ron Harding and Ken Mountford.
Also in the grandstand, we were lucky enough to have many other veterans, Vietnamese, relatives etc to enjoy a game of Australian Football on the Lord Mayor’s Oval in Vung Tau, 2013 – the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.
The McMillan Dinner that evening was a major highlight of the weekend. It was held at the 5 star Imperial Hotel which stands on the site of the former Peter Badcoe Club. The Peter Badcoe Club, named after Major Peter Badcoe who was post humously awarded the Victoria Cross, was an R&R club for Australian diggers during the War.
The McMillan Dinner was sold out with 220 guests. Guests included the chairs of the Vung Tau Tourism Council, Ba Ria Vung Tau People’s Committee and the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track. Preliminary feedback from them has been positive and we are very keen to work closely with these organisations for next year’s event which will be held on 26 April 2014 – the 99th anniversary of the landings on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915.
Speeches were delivered by the Presidents of the Jakarta Bintangs and Vietnam Swans; Dave Kainey, who presented the Kainey Cup to the Jakarta Bintangs; Dave McMillan, son of the late Kevin McMillan; and the big one, the Middleton Address which was delivered by Stan Middleton himself.
The McMillan Dinner, featuring the Middleton Address, was held at the 5 star Imperial Hotel which stands on the site of the former Peter Badcoe Club. The Dinner was sold out with 220 people attending.
Going forward, it is expected that the prestige and status of the Middleton Address will continue to grow. It will be a privilege for a speaker to be invited to deliver the Middleton Address. It will be an honour for the audience to listen to the nominated speaker deliver the Middleton Address.
Each year, there will be a growing sense of anticipation as to who will deliver the next Address.
Meanwhile, this year’s ANZAC Friendship Match footy record received individual contributions from 28 people. The contributions provide not just additional detail about the ANZAC Friendship Match but the history of footy during the war, how this match is used to support the Vung Tau Orphanage and Swim Vietnam. There were also articles that covered the other ANZAC games being played around South East Asia and included a summary of Australia’s history in those places.
These ANZAC matches provide an opportunity for some of us to learn about our history and, for others, to learn about what happens today in each of these countries.
Next year, we will return to the Lord Mayor’s Oval (Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track) on 26 April 2014. That night, we shall return to the Imperial Hotel for the McMillan Dinner and Middleton Address.
Meanwhile, the Ulysees Club has indicated that it would like to organise a postie bike trip from Hanoi to Vung Tau arriving in time for the ANZAC Weekend. It will be a charity ride with funds raised to be donated to Swim Vietnam and the Vung Tau Orphanage. And Phil Jordan’s Golf Life Tours is also wanting to organise a tour that will incorporate the ANZAC Weekend. They are proposing to raise funds to donate to Swim Vietnam.
The ANZAC Friendship Weekend in Vung Tau is very much becoming a catalyst for action. Each year, the significance of the Weekend and its positive impact reaches even higher levels. And the higher levels simply inspire us to climb even higher.
Would you like to place a bid for amazing items of memorabilia – click here for photo? We have some left over items of memorabilia from the ANZAC Friendship Weekend. If we can sell these items now, we can donate the money to Swim Vietnam and the Vung Tau Orphanage and that money can be put to good use immediately.
- GWS jumper signed by GWS (current bid: $200)
- Brisbane Lions “away” jumper signed by Coach, Michael Voss and Captain, Jonathon Brown
- Yellow Sherrin footy signed by the West Coast Eagles
- Penrith Panthers jumper signed by team (current bid: $200)
- A “Lest We Forget” RSL token
- Two nights’ accommodation at the Novotel Nha Trang, including breakfast
- Timber jewellery boxes made by 1968 dual VFL Premiership player, Dick “Johno” Johnston
- Timber wine box made by 1968 dual VFL premiership player, Dick “Johno” Johnston
The Swannies will only sell these items for charity if appropriate bids are received. Please email me if you would like to place a bid.
Again, to all who helped out at the ANZAC Friendship Weekend, both on and off the field, thank you from all the Vietnam Swans.
At least we did something.
Go you Swannies!!
- For photos of McMillan Dinner and Middleton Address, click here.
- Shortly, a full account of all money raised for charity on the ANZAC Friendship Weekend will be published on this website by our Treasurer.