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A connection forged through shared experiences

SERVING in the Australian Defence Forces can have long-lasting impacts – not only on the veterans themselves, but also on their partners and families.

Open to any current or former partner of a member of the Australian Defence Force, the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA) is a national not-for-profit ex-service organisation which offers friendship, support, information and guidance to the partners of military veterans, including those experiencing the effects of current conflicts.

The PVA lobbies all levels of government on behalf of partners and families, many of whom join the PVA to help alleviate feelings of isolation caused by the war-related illnesses of their veteran partner.

In Hobart, PVA’s Tasmania Branch offers a range of activities designed to improve the health and wellbeing of members, and therefore their partners and families.

A walking group meets on Wednesday mornings at various locations in the greater Hobart area, followed by a coffee and a chat at different venues.

Members who don’t wish to walk can also meet for coffee in South Hobart on the first Friday of each month.

Various other events and outings to places of interest across the state are organised throughout the year.

PVA has also assumed responsibility for organising Hobart’s annual Field of Remembrance, a memorial of small wooden crosses which appears each ANZAC Day.

An Ecumenical service will be held at St David’s Cathedral on 24 April before the Field of Remembrance is relocated to the Hobart Cenotaph on ANZAC Day, with the public invited to plant a cross in memory of those who served their country.

Donations go towards an educational bursary for a Tasmanian descendent of a veteran.

PVA Tasmania Branch president Kitty Cole said the group’s members enjoyed interacting and forming friendships with like-minded people.

“We speak the same language, thanks to our shared experiences,” she said.

“Members say the group ‘opened up my world’, as we have contacted other members in Tasmania and other states through emails and Facebook.

“We attend workshops and presentations in our communities that give us information on how to maintain the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our families.

“And we are also a voice to the Federal and State governments, so that they understand the ongoing impact military life has on partners and families.”

PVA always welcomes new members.

For more information, email taspresident@pva.org.au or phone 1300 553 835.

Caption: From left, local PVA president Kitty Cole with committee members Christine Fisher, Kathleen Casey, Jacinta Leahy and Noni O’Hara.