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April 2019 Update

Horses for Courses

Robbie Bishop is riding through life with an equine companion called Jacka – an Australian Stock Horse named after WWI Victoria Cross recipient Albert Jacka.

The pair compete together in the rodeo sport of barrel racing where they navigate a cloverleaf pattern of barrels set against the clock, in a true test of team work.

Robbie wants veterans to know support is available, no matter their interest.

Read Robbie’s story and find out how Veteran Sport Australia can support your passion.

Australia’s Warrior Games team named 

VSA would like to congratulate all 24 wounded, injured and ill active and veteran defence personnel selected to represent Australia at the Warrior Games 2019 which are being held in Tampa (USA) from 1-9 June.

Be sure to read next month’s edition of the newsletter, where we will provide a preview of the team representing Australia.

The team was chosen after a series of Australian Defence Force (ADF) adaptive sport camps that put more than 40 participants through their paces on the court, in the pool or at the track.  The camps offer coaching support and training techniques so that all participants, regardless of their selection, have skills they can apply to their daily training regime and ongoing rehabilitation.

More than a training opportunity, the camps open the door to more sporting opportunities, which supports participants’ rehabilitation.

Australian competitors will be among 300 wounded, injured and ill current and ex- serving defence personnel from six nations including USA, Canada, United Kingdom Denmark and the Netherlands.

A range of sports are on offer including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing and powerlifting.

In an exciting development for the Warrior Games and its competitors, this year’s event will offer golf, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby for the first time.

Australian competitors at Warrior Games 2018 © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Lest we Forget

As cities and towns across Australia and New Zealand paused as a show of gratitude to our service men and service women at ANZAC Day commemorations, VSA marked the occasion with representation at events in Sydney and Melbourne.A host of veterans rose early to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge where they arrived at the summit in time for dawn. The Last Post rang out across the bridge as attendees took a moment to reflect.

In Melbourne, veterans Jake White and Troy Burgess refereed the rugby league match between the Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Defence Force which was played as a curtain raiser to the game abetween the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors.

Burgess and White are graduates of Battlefields to Footy Field’s, an initiative of the NRL delivered in partnership with VSA. The program gives veterans an opportunity to become qualified NRL officials with access to mentoring.

Prior to their ANZAC Day referring duties, the pair trained with the elite NRL referring squad at Victoria Barracks and visited Hyde Park memorial (pictured).

Steve Clark, the NRL’s referee development programs lead said the early graduates are relishing a new challenge.

“Troy’s enjoying life and said he never saw himself being involved in refereeing, but he absolutely loves it, it’s given him a new direction and some structure” Clark said.

“Since we’ve had him, we’ve taken him to Dubbo for a footy carnival, brought him to Sydney to officiate ADF games down here and it’s given him a new lease on life.”

Credit: National Rugby League 

Also in Melbourne, stories of resilience and overcoming adversity were shared by Australian Invictus Games competitors Matt Brumby and Ben Farinazzo and New Zealand Invictus Games competitor Daryl Burton, at the Essendon ANZAC Day supporters brunch (which was held prior to the team’s game against Collingwood). The trio were joined on stage by VSA Engagement Specialist Rachel Kerrigan, who is also an Invictus Games competitor, to discuss the value of sport to their mental and physical rehabilitation to the room of more than 900 supporters in attendance. We thank Essendon Football Club and the Essendonians for their support.

You too can support Veteran Sport Australia’s work by making a donation

Credit: Rachel Kerrigan 

What’s On

There’s something for everyone as yoga, sailing and strength training headline this month’s opportunities. Like our Facebook page for regular updates on upcoming sporting events and recreational activities.

New South Wales

Sailing – Veteran’s are invited to attend the Soldier On twilight sailing event hosted by the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Toronto. This is a great opportunity to join a race crew and learn yacht racing skills. Beginners are welcome!


Yoga- Revive Yoga & Wellness Centre in Ipswich has teamed up with Young Veterans Ipswich to offer a monthly yoga class for veteran’s, first responders, and their families.


Accessible Yoga – Blind Tiger Yoga provides yoga, meditation and healing arts classes to veterans, first responders and their families based in and around Melbourne. Their Yin Yoga classes are accessible to anyone, regardless of age, experience or injury background

Western Australia

Strength training – Box33 is a veteran owned and operated personal coaching experience based in Myaree Western Australia. Box33 specialise in movement based training and kettlebells are our primary discipline. Their goal is to equip members with the skills they need to train without a coach. From understanding how to improve mobility, strength principles and understanding programming. Strength training is a great way to develop mindfulness and joining a like-minded community is often recommended for mental health conditions. As Box33 is veteran owned and operated they understand the unique needs of veterans. With a passion for community and helping veterans.

Please get in contact if you would like further information on any of the above opportunities.

We want to hear from you!

Does your business or organisation offer sport or recreation services for veterans? Our team would like to speak to you. Contact us and we can work with you to promote your service on our website and in a future edition of our e-News.

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