Current serving ADF personnel who have begun the process of transitioning out of their Service are being effectively assisted to transition to life as a civilian in Townsville, and the ex-ADF Community is connected and fully integrated into the Townsville Community. The ex-ADF Community is respected, vibrant and enabling a thriving Townsville.
By managing the coordination of services, support, training and engagement with and between other organisations and services from Government (including Townsville LGA, Queensland and Federal Government (esp. Defence and DVA)), NGO, NFP, charity and volunteer community-based organisations that have as their mission to affect the social determinants of health and wellbeing for the Townsville Community with the interests of the ex-ADF community at the centre. This coordination is first and foremost effected with and between the ESOs in Townsville.
Through an appropriately located and sized facility maintained and supported by grant funding, contracted services and philanthropic business sponsorships and donations, and run by a professional management team which is supported by volunteers of The Oasis Townsville.
A thriving, respected, vibrant and well supported Ex-ADF Community enhancing the economic and social prosperity of Townsville.
The Oasis Townsville is to provide a 'single front door' for all members of the ex-ADF community in Townsville and their families, as well as current ADF members who have begun the transition journey, to transition connect and integrate into the Townsville Community.
Name and Logo
The name and logo of The Oasis Townsville are symbolic of the philosophy underpinning our mission.
An oasis is described in the dictionary as: a fertile or green area in an arid region (such as a desert); somewhere that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast. An oasis is often associated with palm trees around a water hole. The area chosen for the site in Oonoonba had several palm trees which remain prominent on the site. In our view, the arid area is civvy-street, as it is often perceived by serving ADF men and women before transitioning out; and we see our HQ building in Oonoonba and the organisation that runs it as being the refuge and providing the relief.
We believe we represent a ‘junction point’ between two areas of operation (AO). We sit between a life inside the discipline of the ADF (inside the wire) and the 'chaos' of civvy street (outside the wire).
The framing of the title is intended to support the opportunity for any other group to create their own Oasis in their own area and simply change the last word to represent their area. For example, The Oasis Mackay. This would offer familiarity to service personnel who would simply know to head to ‘The Oasis’ to be supported finding what they are looking for in the area.
The logo is a clever pattern of interlinking colours. They represent similar, but not the same colours, as those of the Navy, Army and Air Force, blending with colours more likely to be found in the world outside the wire.
The neat symmetrical aspect of the logo demonstrates discipline of the ADF but in an artistic, colourful, and almost ill-disciplined way. That is a theme followed through in the naming of Dirty Boots Café.
The linking is significant to our mission in that the effect we want to achieve is all about connections. We link veterans and families to jobs, businesses, and services; and we facilitate the linking of the various elements of the ex-ADF community. These elements include Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs), associations, interest groups and individual veterans and families - to each other.
Objects of The Oasis Townsville Limited are all or any of the following:
1.1 To support the direct relief of poverty, suffering, destitution, helplessness, distress, misfortune or other disabilities of Australian Defence Force veterans and their families and notably the relief of any of the aforesaid which impedes upon the education, development, health, advancement and employment of Australian Defence Force veterans in need.
1.2 To facilitate emergency accommodation of Australian Defence Force veterans and their families facing homelessness or in need or emergency respite housing.
1.3 To provide a common facility for Australian Defence Force veterans to access transition service providers, education service providers, employment referrals and other veteran orientated support organisations to encourage positive and meaningful post-separation employment.
1.4 To promote the engagement of Australian Defence Force veterans who are vulnerable and at risk of disengagement from the labour market or long-term unemployment due to service-related mental health concerns.
1.5 To educate and promote the social engagement of Australian Defence Force veterans to alleviate the pre-cursors that lead to suicide, self-harm and mental health problems relevant to the veteran community.
1.6 To do such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of all of the above objects.
The original old DPI Building in Oonoonba (The Village) that was promised to the ex-ADF community in November 2017 at the Queensland State Election.
The idea for a 'referral hub' originated in the early 2000s from a collaboration of the leadership of several of the Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) in Townsville. They were concerned that the services provided by each of their organisations were dispersed throughout Townsville, related to specific types of service and in some cases to specific veteran demographics; and it was particularly difficult for members of the ADF transitioning and those already transitioned in the ex-ADF community to identify which ESO could help with any particular problem or circumstance.
The rise in veteran suicide caused an additional impetus to do something. In August 2016 the PM announced a national suicide prevention trial for veterans and their families to be conducted in Townsville to examine innovative ways of reducing the suicide rate in the veteran community. The trial became known as Operation COMPASS. The trial involved many of the ESOs and veterans and family members keen to do something about the suicide problem and in most cases were touched by a lived experience. The lessons identified led the Townsville veteran community to the same conclusion regarding a 'single front door' for redirection to an appropriate service.
The potential solution for a single entry point to support and for camaraderie gained significant momentum in 2016 with the offer of a building (old tennis courts on Ingham Rd near the Showgrounds) for 'The Services Hub' by the Townsville Mayor, Cr. Jenny Hill. However, this site presented problems in that it was only useful as a small meeting place and each ESOs would need to be represented or at worst they would need to have volunteers staff it. The ESOs then began to discuss an online Services Directory that would assist in finding the the necessary services. It was recognised however that this did not encourage social connections which is one of the significant benefits of the ESOs and veteran associations. These issues confirmed the need for a staffed facility with significant meeting spaces.
In the lead up to the Queensland election in November 2017, the Labor Party adopted an unsolicited proposal for $5mil to refurbish the old Department of Primary Industries (DPI) building in Ooonoonba, Townsville. They made an election pledge to do that and subsequently formed Government. The Oasis Townsville is located in the State Electorate of Mundingburra (with the 2017 changes to electoral boundaries) and Coralee O'Rourke (Labor) won the seat and fortuitously was appointed Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. Ms O'Rourke was a very strong supporter to ensure the process remained on the right path to achieve the effect the veteran community wanted and needed.
As the work to re-design the 5000m2 site progressed, it was apparent that the Queensland Government grant would not be sufficient to complete the full redevelopment of the site but was sufficient to commence operations and provide a basis for growth. The Federal election of 2019 however, presented an opportunity to complete the project. Commitments were made by both major parties to provide the remainder of the funds needed to complete the Oonoonba Home Base. The Federal Coalition Government's commitment of a further $5mil was sufficient to ensure The Oasis Townsville was completed. The LNP commitment also included $25mil to fund a further five similar wellbeing centres around Australia.
The Oasis Townsville's Home Base at The Village in Oonoonba was completed in May 2021.
History (before 1 January 2018)
OONOONBA, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, 1944-03-11. ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF OF THE 13TH PERSONNEL STAGING CAMP AT THE EMBARKATION ISSUES DEPOT FROM WHICH ALL TROOPS ARE EQUIPPED FOR NEW GUINEA. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE: NX56791 STAFF-SERGEANT D. ROBINSON (1); Q36919 CAPTAIN C. TILLIDGE, COMMANDING OFFICER (2); Q101615 CORPORAL J. CULHANE (3); Q113971 PRIVATE J.F. CORP (4); Q265784 CORPORAL R.D. TUDMAN (5); Q136513 CORPORAL G. BILNEY (6).
Courtesy AWM 2019
An air raid at 0025h on 29 July 1942 saw seven bombs fall in Cleveland Bay and one in a paddock at Oonoonba. The only casualties of Townsville's "most significant raid" were a fence post and a palm tree. The site of the bombing in Oonoonba is not far from The Oasis Townsville.
Given the military significance of the area many of the streets in The Village are named with connections to WWII.
The park to the south of The Oasis Townsville is named Rawdon Middleton VC Park. You'll find the Australian War Memoral information on this RAAF officer very interesting.