Honouring Women and Families United by Defence Service 2019
2019 celebrates the Year of Peace, following the centenary of WWI ending last year. In celebrating peace, we honour those who have made sacrifices for that peace; and for those who continue to make those sacrifices on a daily basis.
Over 500 people joined us in honouring the service and sacrifices of women and families united by defence service on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 in Canberra.
Collaborative Project led by the War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW and Legacy
The major organisations in the veteran space in Australia identified the need to acknowledge women and families united by defence service and joined forces to drive this project. It is driven by a committee comprised of leaders from the major organisations supporting veterans and veterans’ families.
Honouring Women and Families United by Defence Service Event
The goal of the Honouring Women and Families United by Defence Service event is to bring together women, families, political leaders, community leaders, defence leaders, business leaders, and leaders in the veteran space to explore the power of women and families; and how, if we all work together, we can create better understanding of the needs of women in uniform, and women and families on the home front.
The Last Post Ceremony and Dinner commemorated and honoured all women and families whose lives have been impacted as a result of their own service or that of a loved one.
Last Post Ceremony at Australian War Memorial (AWM)
Honouring Women and Families United by Defence Service 2019 commenced with a Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial (AWM), where women and families who have been impacted by service and their guests were invited to attend the Ceremony.
Last year’s ceremony attracted over 400 attendees. Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition put differences aside to jointly lay wreaths to honour women. This year the ceremony was again dedicated to the service and sacrifice of women veterans over the last 100 years who gave their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for their country, with over 250 people in attendance.
The following politicians and VIPs attended the Ceremony and laid a wreath:
- His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, the Governor-General of Australia, and Her Excellency Mrs. Linda Hurley
- Senator the Honourable Linda Reynolds, Minister for Defence, representing the Prime Minister of Australia
- The Honourable Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, representing the Leader of the Opposition
- Mrs Julie Duhaut-Bedos, Deputy Head of Mission, representing the Ambassador of France, and Captain Philippe Petitdidier, Defence Attaché
- The Honourable Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel
- Mr Phillip Thompson, Member for Herbert
- Mrs Liz Cosson, Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs
- Mr Andrew Bridgman, Secretary of Defence, New Zealand
- Ms Gwen Cherne, representing the Chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial
- Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial
- Mr Tom Mayberry, Chief of U.S Support Team to the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation
The following organisations and groups were represented in wreath laying, with a total of 30 individuals laying a total of 13 wreaths on behalf of:
- Legacy Australia and states
- War Widows’ Guild of Australia and states
- WWII Veterans
- WWII Widows
- Korean Widows
- Families of Veterans
- Mothers of Veterans
- RSL Australia and States
- Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA)
- Contemporary Widows
- Defence Widows
- Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS)
- Honouring Women and Families United by Defence Service Committee
The OZY Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service performed the National Anthem. Members of the youth choir are children of serving or ex-serving parents.
The second HWUDS National Dinner drew 500 attendees, including political, community, business and defence leaders, as well as leaders of the major organisations that support veterans and veterans’ families, and women who are connected to defence by their own service or the service of a loved one.
Guest speakers this year include:
- His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE
- Dr Brendan Nelson AO, Director of the Australian War Memorial
- The Honourable Linda Reynolds CSC, MP, Minister for Defence
- Minister for Veterans Affairs – The Honourable Darren Chester MP
- Lieutenant Colonel Tina McBride
- Renee and Gary Wilson
- Video stories of women and families united by defence
- Australian country singer-songwriter Beccy Cole
- The OZY Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service
- The Band of the Royal Military College (RMC Band)
- And more…
This year’s dinner was held in The Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra.
Recognised for their service to this nation
Women and families were acknowledged and honoured for their sacrifices and contributions for the defence of their country.
They included: serving and ex-serving women, widows of partners who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation, and all women and families whose lives have been affected as a result of loss of a loved one through service, or who have a returned veteran who is wounded, injured or ill.
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
TIMES AND LOCATIONS
Last Post Ceremony
4.55 pm – 5.30 pm – Australian War Memorial
(arrive by 4.30 pm)
7.15pm – 10.45 pm – Parliament House
(arrive from 6.15pm,
allow 30 mins to get through security)