The Anzac Centenary has highlighted many aspects of Australia’s participation in WWI. It is also an opportunity to remember all Australians and their families who have served in wars since, including those serving today.
In WWI 300,000 Australians served, 60,000 died and a further conservatively estimated 90,000 suffered physical and/or psychiatric war injuries. These injuries often translated into serious lifetime disabilities. Many died directly as a result, soon or sometime after the war. Many carried burdens of trauma so unique to war, their quality of life was significantly compromised, despite near average longevity.
Finally at home, returned servicemen were given peace and care. That care and lifetime support rested primarily with their loved ones. The mothers, wives and even sisters and daughters delivered this service, quietly and uncomplainingly with little or no recognition, for sometimes many decades after the war.
A group of women have formed an association called ‘Women Caring for Veterans of War Inc.’ (WCVW). They have sought to give these forgotten civilian heroines some belated recognition and commemoration. WCVW is comprised of wives of (mostly Vietnam War) Veterans and can easily relate and empathise with the plight faced by these WWI veterans women and their families, in much harder times. It is a timely reminder too, that the impact of war today has the exact same consequences and this is not just of historical interest.
WCVW have commissioned, completed and will now erect a life-size statue of a civilian woman, circa 1918, to commemorate the enduring sacrifice women relatives made in caring for WWI Veterans. It will be placed in Victory Gardens, Ascot Vale on the prominent corner site of Epsom and Langs Roads. The dedication Ceremony is planned for the 29th August 2015 at 11am. The statue will co-exist nearby to a long standing WW1 memorial to the Fallen of the area. If you live in the local community, or are going to the Races or the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, stop by and pay her your respects.
WCVW wish to gratefully acknowledge Grants received from the Commonwealth Government, Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program through the Federal Seat of Melbourne and from the Anzac Centenary Community Grants Program, Victorian Veterans Council and for the unstinting support of the Moonee Valley City Council.