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Hundreds from Veteran community enjoy Invictus Australia’s Sport Day

The Canberra Defence community experienced the power of sport at Invictus Australia’s inaugural Defence Community Sport Day.

multi-sport ‘come & try’ success

On Saturday 5 November, Invictus Australia, supported by Defence Health and a number of our sporting partners, hosted a Defence Community Sports Day. Over 300 veterans, their families, friends and sporting mates made their way to Tuggeranong Archery Club in Canberra for the free event which offered guests the chance to try their hand at a range of sports, including some adaptive options, and the chance to experience the benefit of sport for themselves. 

My kids had a fabulous time and have already asked to try the wheelchair rugby and Archery after the day.  It was great that there were the smaller games for my 3 year old.”

“Thank you for a wonderful family day out. With cost of living so high lately having a free event like this that we could do with the three kids really lifted us up as a family.”

 The people on the day were amazing I’ve already told many of my friends that they should go to the next one.” Local veteran participants

The Invictus Games shines a spotlight on the unconquerable spirit of the world’s wounded, injured and ill veterans. After a Games, the job is to shift that spotlight, to extend support and amplify the power of the Invictus movement, to benefit Australia’s almost 600,000 veterans plus their families, friends and support networks. The Defence Community Sports Day represented Invictus Australia’s dedication to doing just that. 

Come & Try – variety of local sports on offer 

Tuggeranong Archery Centre was the perfect venue to showcase the great range of sports available locally. Attendees were able to give Archery, Bowls, Table Tennis, Pickleball, Wheelchair Rugby League, Indoor Rowing, and Frontline Yoga a go, with the support and assistance of our sporting partners.

The wallops of the wheelchairs, pickleball paddling, Archery accuracy (or lack thereof!), rivalry on the rowing machines, virtual reality adventures and the Ahhh-sanas on the yoga mats were only trumped by the palpable sense of community, camaraderie and fun. 

ACT Indoor Rowing Coach & Umpire Catherine Garrington

Special guests and extra-special performances 

Guests of the Defence Community Sports Day were treated to an incredible archery demonstration from Bhutanese Archery. This group of archery enthusiasts formed not only to promote the traditions of Bhutan but also archery as a recreation and competitive sport. They were joined by Para-archers, Olympians and the best youth archers who gave advice and demonstrated their own incredible individual archery talent. Invictus Australia would like to extend a special thanks to Craig Newbury, Christopher Jackson and Mark Bartlett, what a treat to see you all in action!  

Former Invictus Games competitors Steve Slack, Chris O’Brien, Tiffany White, Gary Wilson and Ben Farinazzo were also in attendance, along with their families, service dogs or mates. These special guests shared their own Invictus Games experiences with the community, joined in on the action and were a reminder of how important your support crew is, whatever form they take.

Gary Wilson indoor rowing training
Gary Wilson, former Invictus Games competitor, indoor rowing

And, it didn’t end there. The Defence community were also treated to beautiful performances from the Australian Military Wives Choir and Old Salts & Diggers Music Group.  

The event also drew the attendance of local ministers and representatives. We welcomed David Smith MP, Nicole Lawder MLA and Councillor Bryce Wilson. 

Thanks for having me at the Defence Community Sports Day.  It was so wonderful to see veterans and families enjoying themselves.  Well done to you and all the Invictus Australia organising team.” Nicole Lawder, Member for Brindabella

no sport without volunteers

Research tells us, and we witness it every day, that volunteering in any capacity provides benefits mentally and socially. Giving back, being part of a team and absorbing the collective energy of positive living is a great way to stay active & connected.

And this event was no different. It couldn’t have happened without a wonderful cohort of volunteers contributing to the successful running of the Sports Day. This group worked tirelessly to facilitate the day, from preparing the club (Steve Slack and the Tuggernong Archery Club, we’re looking at you) cooking the sausage sizzle, directing the traffic, packing down, coaching the guests and so much more.   

Volunteer Army for Defence Sport Day
The team of volunteers who made this day happen

This, along with the 10 ex-services organisations who set up and provided activities for families, whilst offering information about the veteran community services they provide, made for a top event.  Working so positively and collaboratively with other organisations in this space, all to deliver direct impact to the local Veteran & Defence community is testament to the Invictus philosophy of #UnconqueredTogether.

The Defence Community Sports Day could not take place without an army of volunteers, incredible sporting partners dedicated to supporting veterans and providing adaptive and welcoming clubs, local government, business and media support, corporate partners and passionate supporters. Invictus Australia and the Defence community would like to thank you all for the continued support. 


Thank you and all who participated in making it such a great day,  we are only to pleased to help with such a great cause. I can only say that we were busy all day and all seem to have a good time. The next day, which is our regular day for new to archery (Come & Try), we had several people who had come along on the Saturday, I hope that all the sports can say the same thing.Tuggernong Archery Club

To support Invictus Australia and its work with Australia’s veteran community visit  

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kroll

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