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Dubbo parkrun, Invictus Australia and RSL

Unconquered Together – Invictus Australia and the RSL 

In this story we profile some of the fantastic collaboration we have had with the RSL in providing sporting opportunities to veterans and their families.

Our association with the RSL dates back to our foundations, where we operated under the banner of Veteran Sport Australia (VSA), and began life as part of RSL NSW (thanks to the support of the RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institution). VSA would later become a standalone program and independent charity.

The launch of Invictus Australia in October 2018 was recognition of the success of the VSA model, and through this approach Australia became the first nation to be formally licensed to carry the Invictus brand. A significant legacy of the highly successful Invictus Games Sydney 2018

Throughout this evolution, our strong desire to support the RSL community use the power of sport has remained consistent. It is only through relationships like this that we can collectively connect with the entire veteran community.

Dubbo RSL members, local Defence personnel and their families join Team Veteran and parkrun Australia 

parkrun Australia is a national initiative encouraging military veterans and their families to join free, inclusive events. Participants can walk, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s an all ages, all abilities, inclusive and non-competitive program promoting physical activity, camaraderie and being in the great outdoors. 

The Dubbo community is one of the many regions to embrace Team Veteran, parkrun Australia’s 3rd  largest community group – and its impact really shines. 

Army Captain, Clint Grose, volunteered as a tail walker. This position stays at the back of the field ensuring all participants cross the line and are accounted for at the end of the event. 

“Walk, run, a bit of a jog, have a chat, even a bit of old rivalry between the services for us – it’s fantastic.” 

Veterans' Health Week team veteran

Invictus Australia’s partnership with Bowls Australia open a range of opportunities for local RSLs 

There are many within the RSL who are active members of the Bowl community. Nationally, there are more than 1,800 affiliated bowls clubs – most Aussies would have access to a green! 

After launching our partnership with Bowls Australia, Invictus Australia co-hosted Veterans’ Family Days in the Hunter and other regional locations. And, it was a great success. Since then, we have held a number of Come and Try Days across the country exclusively for the Defence community which have all been positively received. 

The popularity of bowls and our partnership with Bowl Australia presents an opportunity for RSLs to grow their own teams and competitions. Jack Abernethy, President of the NSW RSL Lawn Bowls Association and President of the RSL National Lawn Bowls Council, agrees after witnessing the benefits firsthand.  

Invictus Australia and Bowls Australia unite

“We’d like to see more and more people currently in the ADF, and retired members, become involved in bowls,” said Jack. 

“The camaraderie when you are bowling as the RSL is exceptional. We all have a common background and because of that, we relate so much better. It’s one of the reasons why we play together.”  

We look forward to working with more RSLs around the country to bring the exciting sport of bowls to their local veteran communities. 

RSL sub-Branches get salty, sandy and sun-kissed with Invictus Australia 

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea. Isak Dinesen 

There really is something magical and healing about the ocean. Local RSL branches across the country have joined forces with Invictus Australia to help us offer free Learn to Surf classes to their communities. By working with the RSL network we have been able to host hundreds of veterans and their families on boards and in the surf.  

Surfing with Invictus Australia in Perth
Surfing with Invictus Australia in Perth

The impact made by local community organisations coming together to establish a veteran community based around surfing, family and mateship is boundless. With the continued support of RSL branches along the coasts, we look forward to introducing more veterans and families to the exhilarating sport of surfing. 

Working Together in support of the NSW South Coast Defence Community 

Veteran organisations – Invictus Australia, RSL Lifecare Veteran Services and Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling – have come together to support the Defence community at the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre

The Centre, which is owned and operated by RSL LifeCare, is one of six in Australia and the first-of-its-kind in NSW. All current and former serving Australian Defence Force members and their families can access the Centre and the services it provides. 

Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre Group Shot

“There’s a real sense of collaboration and connection being created by this Veteran Wellbeing Centre,” said Michael Hartung, CEO of Invictus Australia 

“It’s bringing all of these services together to work in partnership and in harmony, so veterans and their families are supported in getting active, to join new social communities, develop connections and look after that life beyond service.” 

Invictus Australia is proud to be a part of this significant service offering, in support of so many. 

Invictus Australia considers our partnerships with RSLs as crucial to amplifying our impact within veteran communities across the country. If you are an organisation that is interested in collaborating with Invictus Australia, please get in touch at  

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