Invictus Australia turns One
12 months ago, on October 28th 2021, Australia become the first country to take the Invictus brand beyond the Games, as Veteran Sport Australia became Invictus Australia. This significant alignment with the global Invictus movement and Invictus Games Foundation allows us to reach more veterans and families around Australia with the transformative benefits of local sport, whether wounded, injured or ill, or using sport as a proactive and preventative way of managing mental, social and physical fitness.
And with almost 600,000 veterans in Australia, an approximate 6,000 transitioning out of the ADF each year and close to 20% discharged for medical reasons out of their control, we know the Invictus philosophy can positively impact more in the veteran population, beyond the Games.
While our new name may just be a year old, we have already had wide-reaching impact on Australia’s veteran community and are just getting started.
To mark our birthday, our partners at NEC Australia hosted our birthday celebrations at the Anzac War Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park, which included an entertaining and insightful panel discussion hosted by Erin Molan and featuring NEC Ambassador and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott OAM and Invictus Australia Patron General Sir Peter Cosgrove (Retd), discussing the power of sport to transform lives. We acknowledge and thank all these wonderful guests for donating their time, energy & profile to support our mission.
We couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful, appropriate and moving backdrop than the Anzac Memorial. We thank the Trustees for donating this space for the event, as well as all logistical support, as part of their ongoing commitment to creating a special home for veterans and their families, to acknowledge service, sacrifice and remembrance.
The invictus family reunited
The Invictus family is far reaching, deeply passionate and fiercely loyal, so it was wonderful to have representatives from various members of the community who we have supported or collaborated with this year.
We had former-serving competitors from the Invictus Games in The Hague, members from the Team Veteran Australia Surf Life Saving Team recently back from competing in Italy, and local veteran and runner Rodney Rocket Cottam who is raising funds to support our work.
We were delighted to have our partners at the Australian Defence Force Adaptive Sport Program present, who we partner with to deliver Team Australia for international adaptive sporting events such as the Invictus & Warrior Games.
Our partners at NEC Australia extended their support of our work by taking the opportunity to film an episode of their Creating Value Series with Sir Peter Cosgrove, to shine a light not only on the previous Chief of the Defence Force and Governor General’s life, but his role in bringing the highly acclaimed Invictus Games to Sydney in 2018, and the ongoing impact of that legacy today.
The Creating Value Series delves inside the minds of politicians, CEO’s and everyday Australian’s who are achieving the extraordinary, through a positive mindset, and looks at how leaders, innovators and change makers create value, in an ever-changing world.
The fantastic partnership between NEC Australia and Invictus Australia allowed us to bring together the legends that are NEC’s Ambassador and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott OAM and Invictus Australia Patron Sir Peter Cosgrove for this amazing conversation, which we look forward to sharing soon.
We were lucky enough to film in the RUSI NSW Ursula Davidson Library, with the generous donation of the space for an upcoming episode of NEC’s Creating Value.
It was wonderful to have our other Premier Partners in attendance – Professor Emma Sparks, the Rector at UNSW Canberra and representatives from ipar, as well as supporting partners including Humble Productions.
As well as support from the government with Dr Marjorie O’Neill MP, Member for Coogee, and the Hon. Greg Warren MP, as the shadow minister for Veterans in NSW, joining us. As a passionate Surf Life Saver and rugby player, Dr O’Neill had plenty of stories to share with guests.
We are lucky to have an engaged, generous group of ambassadors who regularly donate their time to support our community, and also do so much themselves to continue advocating for the health of veterans and families.
Ambassadors in attendance were Erin Molan, who also acted as MC, bringing a lifetime of experience and personal anecdotes to the event. As a daughter of a veteran, Erin understands sacrifice, service and the importance of ongoing support for the entire family unit better than most.
Gold medal Paralympian and Invictus Games alumnus Curtis McGrath joined us, as did World Champion Blind Surfer and Paralympian Matt Formston and Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner, Gwen Cherne. Thank you to all our wonderful ambassadors – we couldn’t ask for a better bunch.
James Brown, Chairman of Invictus Australia said of the afternoon, ‘We talk about the Invictus family and we do that for a reason – the way we’ve always operated is through partnerships and as a one year old, it’s great to have some adults in the room.” He was referencing and went on to acknowledge, all the supporters in the room and how they have worked tirelessly to bring this concept of sport for recovery of wounded, injured, ill veterans to fruition, from the Invictus Games in Sydney four years ago, to the organisation we are today.
He continued, “We’re really proud that in 12 months we’ve achieved so much, and on behalf of the board, we’re really looking forward to continuing that success, with all of your ongoing support and goodwill.”
Sam Iacono from NEC said, “We are proud to be partnering with this incredible organisation and have a strong passion to assist in any way possible to further the development of the Invictus Australia program and those future competitors who may be heading to the Games in 2023 and beyond.
As an organization, NEC Australia has a passion for creating value for society. It’s deeply embedded in the DNA of our company values. To be more than just a leading technology business, but to support the meaningful work of organisations such as Invictus Australia and the values they uphold.”
We thank the Government and Department of Veterans’ Affairs for their ongoing support and funding of Invictus Australia. We were delighted that members from DVA NSW joined us to mark this special occasion, representing ongoing support and a historic relationship dating back to the Sydney Games in 2018.
This event, while a moment to reflect and celebrate, importantly acted as a reminder that we can collectively do more when we work together #UnconqueredTogether.
Invictus Australia focuses on the mental, social and physical health benefits of sport, supporting the Defence community to participate, volunteer of otherwise get involved sport, whether at a local club level, or representing Australia at the Invictus Games or other international events. As a not-for-profit organisation, Invictus replies on the generous support of Government, corporates and communities. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support our work, visit invictusaustralia.org.