18 April 2019
Austin Health is inviting the community to take part in its annual ANZAC Day observance on Wednesday, April 24 at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Ivanhoe.
Directing of Nursing at the Repat, Nonie Rickard, said events to commemorate ANZAC Day have been held at the Repat since the early 1980s.
"The Repat has built an amazing tradition of acknowledging ANZAC Day and sacrifices of the men and women who have served Australia in times of war," Ms Rickard said.
"This event is very much driven by our Veteran Liaison Officer, Rob Winther, and receives wonderful support from members of the Veterans community, their families, local MPs and Austin staff.
"The ANZAC service has become a true community event each year and we are expecting more than 400 people including local school children and families to join us on Wednesday.
"There are a range of services now available at the Repat but this event is directly linked to the Repatriation Hospital's original role caring for returned men and women who were injured in the Second World War," she said.
Ms Rickard said another tradition of Austin Health's ANZAC Day service, a donkey in honour of World War I legend John Simpson, will continue in 2019.
"We are lucky enough to again have a donkey coming all the way from a shelter in Tongala in northern Victoria to be part of the event this year," she said.
"We will also have children from St Pius Primary School in West Heidelberg and Ivanhoe Primary School taking part as well as children from the Childcare Centre at the Austin attending to ensure there is a link between the past and future generations."
Ms Rickard said much has changed at the Repat site since the Hospital first opened in 1941.
"The Repat has strong links to the returned services community but today we also provide a suite of modern services used by patients from all walks of life," she said.
"The Surgery Centre at the Repat performs more than 10 000 elective surgery procedures each year and a range of outpatients services are also available.
"These services, along with new mental health facilities, aged care services and health and rehabilitation services, can all be accessed at the Repat.
"However, there remains a strong link to the past at the site through the names of roads and buildings, and events like the ANZAC Day observance," Ms Rickard said.