I am pleased today to be able talk about my recent visit to the Hall School Museum on behalf of Minister Berry. I was fortunate enough to be a guest at the recent Hall School Museum Anzac Day celebrations.

The celebrations included a tour of the museum’s latest Anzac exhibition, the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the opportunity to talk to volunteers and visitors. The unveiled plaque identified the men who left the Hall district and surrounds to fight in World War I and who had, for some reason, not been recognised on the original honour boards created after the war that were hung in local schools and the Wattle Park Church.

The part of the museum I toured was that of the ANZAC exhibition, When Hall Answered the Call. The museum utilised local resources to create an interesting and informative exhibition that put the stories of the Hall men who went to World War I into the context of the wider social issues at the time. These issues included conscription, casualty rates and post-war rehabilitation.

I would like to commend the curator of the exhibition, Allen Mawer, and the honorary curator of the museum, Phil Robson, for their hard work and dedication in putting together such a beautiful display. The morning tea, created largely by women in the Hall community, was quite exceptional.

Whilst on my visit I also witnessed the great social contribution the site makes to Hall and to the international community. Also located in the grounds is storage to support Rotary in their work on the Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children program, otherwise known as ROMAC.

I had the opportunity to see some of the fantastic work that they do on behalf of the ACT community. I met a young boy called Reedly and his mother Juliette. Reedly was born with Hirschsprung’s disease, which causes chronic bowel blockage. With the assistance of ROMAC, Reedly and Juliette were able to travel to Australia from their home in Vanuatu to have surgery at Canberra Hospital. This surgery saved Reedly’s life.

While in Canberra, when Reedly was having surgery, their home village was struck by the cyclone that tore through Vanuatu earlier this year. It was wonderful to meet Reedly and his mother and see how their futures have been enriched by Rotary Oceania. I wish Reedly and his family the very best of luck for their future.

I was also able to speak with representatives of the museum about their lease arrangements, and I encouraged them to continue to talk to the ACT Government about their needs and to come to an agreement on a lease as soon as possible.

I would like to thank everyone at the Hall School Museum for their incredible hospitality as well as commend them on their fantastic exhibition, upkeep of the site and ongoing work with Rotary Oceania. For those interested in visiting the museum, it is open every Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm and on the first Sunday of each month from 12 till 3 pm.