Members of the Veterans MC Federal Chapter have for years met on a Saturday morning to have a coffee at a venue around Canberra such as Canberra Harley Davidson or Canberra Motorcycle Centre. During the first lockdown of the pandemic in 2020 all venues were shut down and we all stayed home. As life began to open up again many places did not so the club decided to organize their own coffee catch-up at the clubhouse in High Place Queanbeyan.
Club President Bones approached Defence Health about a sponsorship for the event and the club recruited local Veteran Owned and Operated business Ironside Coffee to come along and provide their great brews. It was an immediate success with event advertised as being for all veterans and their families, not just for club members.
The Coffee Bunker ran for most of 2020 including two weekends where all coffee and bacon and egg rolls were provided free of charges thanks to a sponsorship to support Veterans Health Week.
The club wanted to keep the Bunker going as a permanent event with a large venue and car park available at the clubhouse and decided to apply for a Veteran Grant through the ACT Government. This was successful and along with a grant from Defence Health and the support of Canberra local business Cosmorex Coffee, the Bunker was re-launched on 24th April 2021.
With around 100 people in attendance including ACT Veterans Minister Emma Davidson, QPRC Mayor Tim Overall and Deputy Mayor Michelle Biscotti and Nicola from Defence Health, the Coffee Bunker was opened officially by Bones.
The aim of the bunker is to offer a place for veterans to catch up and have a brew and meet likeminded people in a comfortable setting. As Bones said at the re-launch, if it helps only one veteran it has done its job.
There are several veteran coffee catch-ups in the region including:
Veterans Support Centre, 9 Burkitt St Page – Wednesdays 1000-1200
Coras Coffee Connection, Lonsdale St Braddon – Thursdays 0900-1100
Woden RSL, Mulley St Holder – Fridays 1000-1200
The Veterans MC Coffee Bunker is the only one done on a Saturday so that those who work can also get there and make new friends or catch up with old ones. The Bunker has continued support from others outside the club with Nicola from Defence Health and Rob from Open Arms volunteering their time to make a brew alongside the club members.
The Coffee Bunker is run most Saturdays except for on a long weekend or public holiday.