A highlight as always of the ANZAC Friendship Weekend is the McMillan Dinner and like the rest of the day late changes meant we were at our new Official AFL Watching venue in HCMC the Jackaroo Bar in the heart of District 1 HCMC. It was fantastic to be at such a great venue with everyone enjoying drinks and food celebrating the day. Thanks to the Jackaroo staff for going out of their way to accommodate us on short notice. Great way to fully embrace our new home off ground venue in the South!


The Middleton Address is a key piece of the weekend. A rich history of informational and entertaining addresses over the year have helped build the tradition and significance of this weekend over the years. Names like Alex Jesaleunko, Stan Middleton himself, Warren Williams have previously delivered fantastic addresses but this year’s was one of the most special. Ailsa (and Ron) Vernon are part of the fabric of the weekend and having Ailsa give her perspective gave everyone in attendance a great understanding of what has come before us, invaluable after the disruptions of the past few years.

Ailsa had the crowd enthralled with insights including:

  • How Stan became a part of the friendship weekend and connected the VFL from back in the war days to our modern day matches.
  • How Ron’s involvement in the VFL then returning to Vietnam and wanting to make a difference, finding and bringing amazing support to the Vung Tau and now Long Hai Centre’s for Children’s Protection.
  • How the centre’s have developed and the fantastic work they do in supporting children in need to this day.
  • Some great context around the beginning and growth of the ANZAC Friendship Weekend and what it means to the Swans and our community.

It was great to hear such an insightful Address from someone who has been such a valuable part of our club and this weekend. Thanks both Ailsa and Ron for everything you have done and continue to do for our club!


One of the key parts of the Macmillan dinner is our chance to acknowledge and reward some of our club’s best contributors. We do this in the form of Life Memberships and Hall of Fame. We were able to announce 4 fantastic Life Members at this years event, all fantastically deserving in their own rights.

The criteria for this very important award is as follows:

Life Members should have made a significant on- and/or off-field contribution to the Vietnam Swans

The minimum period of involvement with the Club should be 5 years, with at least 2 years of conspicuous service to the Club.  

Tim Pickert

Throughout the years in and out of the country Timmy has always been a key contributor to the Swans. Now as the Men’s National Coach he’s helping to take our playing stocks to new heights. A very deserving Life Membership!

Read more about Tim’s Life Membership here…


Shane Macfarlane

As a key player, member, committee member and sponsor Shane has been larger than life to the Swans since hitting Vietnam. His contribution hits all areas of the club and is well deserving of this announcement.

Read more about Shane’s Life Membership here…

Jake Norris

Jake has been the inspirational leader of the Swans in the North for years. In and under packs and off the field Jake leads the way and was very deservingly acknowledged.

Read more about Jake’s Life Membership here…

Katie Walsh

Katie herself is always a shining light in our women’s program and any social event bringing her warmth and fun vibe on all occasions. She has been a cornerstone of our AFLW story and in introducing her daughters to the Swans helped make sure we have remained strong in the AFLW space.

Read more about Katie’s Life Membership here…


Thanks to EVERYONE who took part playing, spectating, sponsoring,  organizing or any other role in this years ANZAC Friendship Weekend.

It was a challenge but we were able to get a result that has maintained the magic of the weekend and in the circumstances provided everything the weekend stands for. Who knows what 2024 and beyond hold but it will definitely continue to be a huge weekend for the club and our communities, HONK!