20 October 2023

War widows honoured across NSW and ACT

| Jarryd Rowley
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War widows met in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.

War widows across NSW and the ACT have been recognised as part of War Widows Day. Photo: Supplied.

War widows from across the state have been honoured as part of NSW’s second annual War Widows Day which took place on Thursday 19 October.

The NSW Government designated the date in 2022 as the day to support those who have lost spouses while serving as part of the Australian Defence Force.

Nineteen October marks the birthday of the founder of the Australian War Widows Guild, Mrs Jessie Vasey.

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Mrs Vasey, widow of Major General George Vasey, who was killed en route to New Guinea during the Second World War, founded the NSW War Widows Graft Guild, a self-help organisation to support women widowed in war to come to terms with their loss, while creating opportunities to support themselves and their children financially.

According to the State Government, there are more than 15,000 war widows in NSW alone with more than 1200 veterans transitioning from the ADF each year.

This year, the Guild, now known as Australian War Widows NSW, is partnering with Legacy to recognise war widows and celebrate their contributions to their families, their communities, and the nation.

Minister for Veterans David Harris said, “From the Great War and Second World War, through to more recent conflicts and peacekeeping operations, the service of our veterans is acknowledged and commemorated at various times throughout the year.

“Yet, every veteran has a family, and we must not forget the important role that family plays in the lives of veterans and the sacrifices that families also make that allow veterans to serve their country.

“Families of our veterans are their primary support network, and families too can be affected by the service of their loved ones.”

Mr Harris said he was delighted NSW had a War Widows Day.

“The NSW Government designated this day last year, and it is great to see this gaining traction around the country.

“NSW is leading the way in many aspects of veteran support, and with thanks to Australian War Widows NSW we are now paving the way for support to families too.”

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Australian War Widows CEO Renee Wilson said the day marked an important time for everyone who had been affected by war, not just the soldiers.

“It is a special day as war widows from around New South Wales have come together to acknowledge War Widows Day, in honour of our founder, to celebrate the contributions to our families, our communities and our nation,” she said.

“I invite you to continue to stand with our war widows and widowers, and to show your support through purchasing a limited release lapel pin or support our ‘Buy a Widow a Coffee’ campaign, to help raise much-needed funds to help us deliver our social connections program.”

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