The Story Writing and Arts Competition (S.W.A.C.) is a popular annual event conducted specifically for members of the Victorian ex-service community. It attracts hundreds of entries each year in categories of Art/Painting, Craft, Photography, Story Writing, Poetry and Woodwork.

The Competition is a joint initiative of Victorian ex-service community, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. It receives generous sponsorship from the Corporate and Community Sectors. The competition began in 1962 at the Repatriation Hospital as therapy for returned soldiers and has grown in popularity ever since.

Participating in S.W.A.C. plays an important part of enhancing the health and well-being of the ex-service community. The Competition provides an opportunity for veterans to develop new skills and interests through sharing experiences with others; it also helps Veterans to live challenging and fulfilling lives.

The Competition also provides entrants with the opportunity to have their works publicly acknowledged and where appropriate, recorded for posterity. Stories submitted under “True Wartime Experience” category are retained in the private records collection of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

S.W.A.C. Steering Committee

There are 15 ESO members of the Steering Committee, they are as follows:

• Ruth Bland – Department of Veterans Affairs and Steering Committee Chairperson.
•  Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association.
• Ian Rainsford – Defence Reserve Association.
• David Fry – Defence Force Welfare Association (Victoria)
• Melbourne Legacy.
• Ray Gill – Naval Association of Australia (Box Hill & District Sub-Branch).
• Marie Ben – Rehabilitation Work Group, Austin Health.
• Michael Fidler – RSL Victoria.
• RAAF Association (Victorian Branch).
• Bill Smith – RAR Association (Victorian Branch).
• Jeff Freeman – TPI Association (Victoria).
• Amat (Aff) Binnoore BEM – Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (Victorian Branch).
• Suzanne Hall – War Widows Guild of Australia (Victoria).
• Robert Winther – Austin Health.
• Siobhan Hodgins – S.W.A.C. Coordinator (Austin Health)
• Bill Smith – Austin Health.
• Joe Virgo – Department of Veterans Affairs.

Your VVAA Victorian branch representative, Amat (Aff) Binnoore can be contacted on if you have any queries on the competition.

Entries for the competition open on 2nd of April each year and close on the 31st of July each year.