On a beautiful sunny afternoon, the City of Maribyrnong officially launched the Saigon Welcome Arch in Melbourne’s western suburb of Footscray.
The arch, situated on the corner of Leeds and Hopkins streets, features a pair of Vietnamese Lac Birds alongside other motifs that resonate with Vietnamese culture such as the shell of the turtle, bronze drum, the boat and the egg.
The council has worked closely with the community and the design team which included architects McBride Charles Ryan and artist Khue Nguyen.
Costing almost $1 million, the arch has been made possible through funding from the Victorian Government, the Maribyrnong Council and the Vietnamese community.
It also celebrates the Vietnamese community’s contributions to Footscray.
Over 20 years in the making, the Saigon Welcome Arch has been inspired by the (then very young) first generation Vietnamese Australians.
“In a way, maybe a bit too long. Maybe governments and councillors should have been on board a bit sooner but I’m happy with what we’ve achieved here,” said Mayor Cameron McDonald.
The arch is part of a $5.4 million redevelopment of the the Little Saigon precinct that will include a new building with ground-floor retail and multi-level parking, as well as more street trees and streets-cape improvements.
– TiVi Tuan-san