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Tasmania Defence Day Archery

Support via sport for Tasmanian Defence Community

Invictus Australia Veteran Engagement Managers Vanessa and Justine recently visited Tasmania, showcasing our approach to connecting and enabling sporting bodies, ex-service organisations and community groups to benefit veterans and family’s health and wellbeing through sport.  

This multi-day trip evolved following an invitation from Jo Lovell to attend the opening of the new Veterans’ & Families’ Hub in Burnie. Established by the North West Tasmanian Veteran Welfare Board, the hub will provide a range of services to veterans and families with a particular focus on health and wellness support, provided by general practitioners operating on site. 

Jo discovered Invictus Australia’s community work after being selected for Team Australia, currently competing in the 2024 DoD Warrior Games. She recognised the importance of sport and adaptive sport for the Defence community, after seeing the positive impact it had on her wellbeing and wanted veterans and family members back in Tasmania to experience the same.  

Jo from Tasmania at the warrior games
Team Australia’s Jo Lovell prepares herself to compete in the women’s recumbent cycling at the Warrior Games 2024. Image credit: ADF

In Tassie, I think a lot of veterans would benefit from not only the physical side of fitness, but by having a purpose, a sporting group to attend.”



Jo’s local connections played a key role in connecting Invictus Australia with Tasmanian Defence communities. 

A day of celebration and connection 

The Burnie event offered a chance to not only celebrate the new hub and make connections with locals, but advocate for how impactful sport can be to support transition from military, develop camaraderie in the civilian world through a shared passion, build mental & social wellbeing for at-risk veterans, find a sense of purpose and create crucial support systems for families – all themes highlighted in the Royal Commission into Defence & Veteran Suicide. Vanessa and Justine were able to share stories of impact with Matt Keogh MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel and Senator Jacqui Lambie, when they weren’t battling it out in an indoor rowing competition! There was also time to update Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Barnaby Joyce, who was also in attendance.  

Following the opening festivities of the Hub, Invictus Australia’s focus shifted to community engagement. Over the next three days, Invictus Australia hosted come and try sport days for various Tasmanian Defence communities, to showcase the multiple national sporting partnerships that can be activated in local communities around Australia.  

Burnie tries their hand at bowls 

A group of veterans and family members enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon at the Burnie Bowls Club, trying their hand at bowls. A special thanks goes out to Gavin Pearce MP and Teeny Brumby, Mayor of Burnie, who showed their support by participating in the activities. 

Pickleball takes centRE court 

Next stop was Ulverstone, where Invictus Australia introduced the community to the fast-paced and exciting sport of pickleball. Many participants were new to the game, but, in true Invictus Australia event spirit, the sport soon transformed it into a community favorite. A big thank you to Ulverstone Pickleball for hosting the event. 

Hitting the bullseye with archery 

The Tasmanian adventure concluded with a visit to the Paringa Archery Club. Here, veterans and families had the chance to connect and hone their aim with archery. It was great to have Launceston Mayor Matthew Garwood, Attorney General Tasmania Guy Barnett MP, and Danielle Watkins, Community Support Advisor, DVA attend the event and give bullseye a go! 

An invaluable experience 

When reflecting on the events, both Vanessa and Justine agreed that it was a great chance to connect with veterans and family members in an area new to them, as well as introduce new sports into these communities.  

“Seeing veterans and families come together, trying new sports, and forming connections was truly heartwarming. Sport has a unique ability to break down barriers and create a sense of belonging, and that’s exactly what we witnessed in Tasmania.” – Vanessa Broughill, Veteran Engagement Manager – SA 

“It was a privilege to be part of something that not only promoted physical activity but also fostered a strong sense of community support for our Defence personnel and their families. We were warmly welcomed to Tasmania by the community and were so grateful for this.” – Justine Lugg, Veteran Engagement Manager – South East Queensland 

While this was a visit to Tasmania for the Invictus Australia team, we believe it is critical to have a permanent Veteran Engagement Manager employed on the ground to effectively support our Defence community in this region. If you can support with funding, please get in touch. 

Stay connected with your local Defence community 

Our Veteran Engagement team runs come and try events such as these across the country each day. To keep up to date with what is happening in your area, join your local Facebook group. 

About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia is the NFP responsible for organising the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. We carry on the legacy of the Games every day in local communities, as all veterans and their families can benefit from involvement with sporting communities, particularly ‘at risk’ veterans. As well as promoting the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport, Invictus Australia shines a light on the unique needs of younger veterans and the challenges they face as they transition from military to civilian life. Find out more at