On Saturday 27 July 2013, the Victorian AIDS Council / Gay Men’s Health Centre (VAC/GMHC) celebrated their 30th anniversary with the launch of a commemorative book and website, Under the Red Ribbon, produced by Way Back When over the course of twelve months. The history was officially launched by the Hon. David Davis, Minister for Health and Ageing, at a birthday party held at the Positive Living Centre in South Yarra. Partygoers, including many people who have been involved with the organisation throughout its history, enjoyed hearing the memories of guest speakers Caroline Hogg (Health Minister in the late 1980s) and Phil Carswell (the VAC's first president), as well as readings from the book.
Under the Red Ribbon traces the history of the VAC from its formation in 1983 in response to the impending HIV crisis, to its continued and unfailing commitment thirty years later to the hope of the eradication of HIV. The website features the full text of the book, as well as a timeline and lots of multimedia material, including audio documentaries, digital stories and films created from interviews with key people involved in the organisation over its history.
This project was truly a team effort, involving all four members of Way Back When, and was certainly a project that touched all of us deeply. It was a great privilege to tell such an inspiring and important story, and to work with an incredibly passionate and dedicated community.
For more photos of the launch, click here.