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April 24, 2019

“The War Vets” turns 80

This ANZAC Day RSL LifeCare celebrates the 80th Anniversary of “The War Vets” Village, Narrabeen.

To celebrate the Village’s birthday we have produced a short video using archive footage and interviews to showcase the history, dedication and love that has made The War Vets such an important part of the community.

Our story of veteran care began in 1911 at Bare Island, La Perouse. But the story of “The War Vets” (RSL ANZAC Village) started with Bill Wood and Stephen Stack, both WWI veterans, who saw the tidal wave of need for a generation of veterans of the First World War, “men prematurely aged by their war service and unable to make provision for their future by their disabilities.”

These two men, along with Legacy, RSL and many like-minded supporters, campaigned and raised funds tirelessly to secure a “haven on the hill”, a place of respite. “The War Vets” was officially opened at 3pm on ANZAC Day 1939 by Lord Wakehurst with an Honour Guard provided by the 17th Battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel FG Galleghan who had served with the 34th Battalion in France and would do the same with the 8th Division during WWII. There were more than 5000 people present amidst newly planted trees and shrubs and the ceremony was broadcast on radio 2BL and 2CH.

Legacy Park 13 June 1939 men and dog

In his speech Wood conceded that when the foundation stone had been set twelve months previously there were many who felt that the scheme was too ambitious, but he declared that the “committee’s hopes have been more than realised.” There was great applause when he also announced that the Home had opened free of debt.

Over the past 80 years “The War Vets”, as it is affectionately known, has been home to countless veterans of every campaign in which Australia has played a role. We are proud to care for our community’s veterans. We are proud to have done so in such a peaceful environment.

RSL LifeCare now welcomes all to live in its Villages and Care Homes, regardless of veteran status. In opening its doors to all retirees we now care for the generations of Australians for whom the first veterans fought. They fought for us. We may walk in the shadows of “the originals”, but we will never forget them.

Legacy Park 13 June 1939 men walking in sun

 

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