Photo for group: Permanent Memorial Project in Victoria

Permanent Memorial Project in Victoria

Created on 17 Dec 2009 by Andy Calder.
14 members.

About this group

Road Trauma Memorial

Your ideas and thoughts needed!

Death and serious injury on the roads has directly or indirectly affected almost every member of the Victorian community. Thousands of Victorians have been killed or seriously injured during the last hundred years. Each individual’s connections to family and friends is/was irreplaceable, and each individual’s life aspirations and contributions within the community have been lost or changed. We are all the poorer through such loss.

Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) is a community-based counselling service funded by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). As an organisation, we support people in their grief and their desire to suitably commemorate their loved ones. Grief takes many forms, and so the types of memorials may also take many forms. RTSSV believe that there is a need to commemorate people killed and injured in the past and in the future. Given the shocking loss of life and rate of injury/disability, the community needs a range of expressions for the loss and grief experienced.

In addition to formal rituals/funerals held, the placement of roadside memorials has gained prominence and proliferation, particularly over the past decade or two. This is also consistent with a similar trend internationally and has been a source of comfort for many people seeking to perpetuate the memory of a loved one(s). In 2006 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria held a Forum about roadside memorials for its volunteers and members. The forum supported the installation of safe roadside memorials. There was also support expressed for the development of a permanent memorial.

Since 2001 Road Trauma Support Services has organised an annual Time of Remembrance ceremony, designed to support people directly affected by road trauma. This is held on the third Sunday of November, designated by the United Nations as World Remembrance Day for Road Crash Victims. Following a meeting in 2007 with the Hon Tim Holding, Minister for the Transport Accident Commission, discussions were held with TAC staff and other interested parties to further develop this vision of a permanent memorial. The TAC has provided initial funding support for the project, and the Uniting Church is providing the necessary infrastructure.

A Steering Committee has been established, its members being: Mrs Jeanette Suhr OAM Ambassador RTSS Ms Samantha Cockfield Road Safety Manager TAC Ms Sue-Anne Ware Landscape Architect RMIT Ms Jane Woollard Playwright and Artist Andy Calder Project Manager.

A series of consultations with affected groups and individuals is now taking place, to learn about what people believe should be incorporated in such a memorial. If you would like to offer your thoughts and ideas, please go to where there are slides outlining the project, and forward your comments to

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Latest news

Free Playback Theatre performance

Published: 30 Jul 2010

As part of this Project we are reaching an exciting and important phase, with concepts being developed by 2 teams sselected by RMIT. Details below and please spread the word widely!!




                      Memorial for people killed and injured on Victorian roads


Invitation to attend Playback Theatre Performance


In 2009 the Road Trauma Memorial Project commenced. Its purpose is to establish a response within Victoria which acknowledges the enormous loss of life and serious injury as a result of road crashes. The Uniting Church in conjunction with Road Trauma Support Services, with initial support from the Transport Accident Commission, has been developing this initiative.


The Road Trauma Memorial Project is concluding its consultation phase. As part of the project, extensive consultations with affected groups and individuals have been undertaken. Forums have been held with both metropolitan and rural communities, and a range of online feedback has also been received.


Over the weekend of 13-15 August, RMIT's Design Research Institute has generously offered to host and assemble two interdisciplinary teams, comprising expert landscape architects, designers and artists to develop concepts from the feedback received. As part of that weekend people affected by road trauma are invited to participate as part of an audience with PlayBack Theatre, a highly regarded and sensitive improvisation troupe, which works with stories people wish to share at the performance.


You are warmly invited to attend this free performance by Playback Theatre,

and also hear an update of the Project's progress.


            When              Friday August 13, 2010, 4.30 - 6.15pm

Where             RMIT Melbourne, Building 8 (enter opposite Swanston/Little LaTrobe corner). Take lift to Level 11 Theatre (Room 68).

Public transport is excellent.  Commercial parking is available behind the Oxford Hotel, 427 Swanston Street, and also at the Queen Victoria complex, entered from Russell Street.


Light refreshments available upon arrival.

RSVP by August 9 to


Andy Calder

Project Manager or 03 92515489

See all news articles >


Photo for user ANN LEWIS

ANN LEWIS | 14 Aug 2010

Having been involved in initial talks and suggestions about the Memorial for road trauma, I was interested to attend the Playback Theatre performance and see what it involved.

Arriving at the RMIT with some other volunteers, we waited in the lobby with some trepidation for the lecture taking place to end. We had been told that the performance was to involve the audience, and we would be asked questions and hopefully participate, so it was a little unnerving, but intriguing also.

There were a respectable number of people in the audience before the performance started, and Andy ably explained the point of the show to us, and the progress of the proposed memorial.

The presenter appeared, complete with four people who were all dressed in black and carrying some equipment in preparation for the show. It was explained to us that we would be asked some questions, and then the actors would perform a short interpretation of the answers we gave. We were asked if there was anyone who would like to contribute, and as no one else offered, the presenter looked towards me and asked how I felt and if I would like to come to the front of the audience and tell my story. I walked to the front, somewhat disturbed and knowing that it was going to be very emotional for me. There was also trepidation about the questions I would be asked and my response to them.

I was very aware that everyone was looking at me, but the questions were asked in a sensitive way, and afterwards the actors produced a small dialogue about my answers. I’d told them that on Sunday 15th August it would be the seventh anniversary of me losing my daughter Jane in a road accident, and various other things about our relationship and how I would feel on Sunday.

The actors then pretended they were Jane and I out shopping, which we’d loved to do together. They then depicted me wearing a suit of grief, which started to fray and show the light through…all very clever. Then it depicted me helping others through their grief by being a supporter, and then finished with raising their pretend glasses in a toast to Jane with her favourite drink, Strongbow cider. I walked back to my seat feeling a little elated, and touched at the sensitivity and insight of their performance.

I found it very confronting, but felt much stronger for having done it. I guess each experience we have of that nature helps us to listen to ourselves, and hopefully make some sense out of it.

Thank you to all involved. Andy, who is working so hard to make the Memorial and all it entails successful. The Road Trauma support services team, who were a great comfort and support, including the volunteers present of course. The designers of the Memorial, who are putting so much work into giving us what we require, and of the Playback Theatre, for giving us such a thought provoking and emotional experience.

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