On 8 August 2014, I proudly launched the RSL Virtual War Memorial – the VWM.
I indicated at the time that the Board of the RSL in South Australia had given significant consideration to a meaningful commemorative gift for all South Australians for the Centenary of ANZAC. We were looking for something fresh and modern which would appeal to all age groups.
At the launch I stated that there was nothing like the RSL Virtual War Memorial anywhere else in the country and it would be an outstanding community asset of which the people of South Australia would be proud. The RSL Virtual War Memorial remains the only memorial of its kind, nationally and internationally. It is an outstanding digital memorial, purpose built to preserve the stories of the personal experiences and records of those who have served the nation in times of conflict. It has attracted praise and support around the country and has been embraced by the community just as we hoped.
We launched a very sophisticated website and we have worked hard to retain a pre-eminent position by introducing new technical capability and adding vital content in order to ensure that the user experience is both engaging and rewarding. We have experienced strong growth in Registered Users and, as a result, a substantive increase in user generated content. The incorporation of the Education Portal which supports the innovative Schools Program has added an important dimension to the website. The feedback from teachers and students has confirmed that we have designed a learning experience of great value and all participants are proud to be contributing to the building of this new memorial.
It is important to recognise that success of the website has been achieved as a result of the support and dedication of many organisations and individuals. There are too many to list here but I view them very much as part of the VWM Team, and it must be said their collective passion and support has been outstanding.
- Steve Larkins (Conceiver of the VWM and past Deputy State President RSL-SA)
- Sharyn Roberts (General Manager of the VWM) and Elsa Reuter (Manager School Program), and their team of volunteers - Bob Kearney, Nick Egan, James Fitzroy, John Edwards, Nathan Rohrlach, Elizabeth Allen, Deb Mason, Karen Standen, and Faithe Jones
- Peter Williams (Chair of the VWM Advisory Committee) and Andrew Fletcher (Past Chair)
- MindVision Interactive our Technical Partner and especially Achilles Vafiadis
- Bill Park CBE AM
I also acknowledge the wonderful support of the Government of South Australia, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson AO and the staff of the Australian War Memorial, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the State Library of South Australian and State Records SA.
Each day the VWM takes on a new dimension with the addition of new content or a new product. We have so much more planned for the future and look forward to working with all of our supporters to ensure we realise our aspiration of being the outstanding national commemorative website.
Tim Hanna AM
We have come so far in the last two years, but we still need your help. Please consider making a donation, or head to a profile of a loved one to leave a dedication. This will help us to:
- Create profiles for everyone who has served Australia in conflict,
- Improve the user experience, helping veterans, families and the wider public to contribute to profiles,
- Ensure that these stories and experiences are preserved for commemoration and the education of current and future generations.
We are a charitable organisation, and all of your donations are tax deductible. Click here to visit our donations page.