The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) had its advent in the Vietnam Veterans Action Association formed in the late 1979 as a result of the perceptions of Vietnam Veterans that exposure to chemicals was causing problems with their health and the health of their children. The chemicals, known by the generic name of Agent Orange included 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, a byproduct of which is the extremely poisonous substance TCDD or dioxin. The problems ranged from minor irritation to lethal, with symptoms such as skin blisters, itching, flushes, nasal problems, blurred vision, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, gastro-urinary muscular and nervous system disorders, cancers and tumours. This was often exacerbated by psychological disorders caused by what was later diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder.
For a more detailed reading please go here for the VVAA National site. .
While serving as the New South Wales State President of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, Mick Scrase JP, and the then NSW Secretary, Denise Burke came to the conclusion that the Association should have a badge, a national symbol by which members could be recognised.After many sketches, they came up with the proposal for:The map of Vietnam, with the North shown in red to represent communism, and green to represent the free South and the jungle.The Rising Sun, as a continuation of the ANZAC tradition, representing the Army.
The White Ensign for Navy, and the Plane for Air Force.A C130 or C123 used for the spraying of chemicals.The central orange background to represent Agent Orange, the most widely known of the chemicals which were used in Vietnam.The outer circle in black to represent those who who have died, directly and indirectly as a result of the Vietnam war.
This was the final draft that was put to the National Council (Phil Thompson was the National President at this time) and the New South Wales. In those days, both worked side by side out of the HQ, which was at the rear of the Granville RSL Youth Club Hall in Blaxcell Street.The design was agreed, quotes were sought from a number of companies and Perfection Plate was given the order to manufacture. The design number was 582/82.The badge was well-accepted at first, but a few years later the VVAA was advised that RAN members did not think that they were represented. Their opinion was that the Rising Sun represented the Army, and the plane represented the Air Force.
At the same time, attendance at what was then Long Tan Day services dropped off because Navy and Air Force thought that it was for Army only. The Committee discussed these serious problems, and a change to the colour of the flag on the badge was moved and carried unanimously. With these changes, the badge now shows the White Ensign for Navy, the Rising Sun for Army, and the Plane for Air Force.