Remarks at the concept launch for Sufferings of War and Service Sculpture

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SWS Sculpture - Digital Render

Dhawura nguna dhawura Ngunnawal

Yanggu ngalawiri dhunimanyin

Ngunnawalwari dhawurawari

Today we meet on Ngunnawal country.

And I too pay my respects to elders past and present.

I extend these acknowledgements to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people with us here this morning and to the veterans who have served, are still serving and the families that support them. 

Good morning everyone and welcome.

I welcome the Honorable Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel.

I welcome members of the Sufferings of War and Service Stakeholder Committee.

I’d particularly like to welcome:

Ms Karen Bird – mother of Jesse Bird, who died tragically on 27 June 2017 at the age of 32 and the contribution made by;

Ms Kate Bird – Jesse’s sister;

Mr Brendan Bird – Jesse’s brother; and

Ms Connie Boglis – Jesse’s partner;

And finally, welcome to Ms Gwen Cherne – Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner and widow of Sergeant Peter Cafe who passed tragically in February 2017.

We are here today to announce the Sufferings of War and Service sculpture at the Australian War Memorial, which will commemorate those who have experienced and witnessed the ongoing trauma that can result from military service.

Over the last three years, the Memorial has worked with a committee of veterans, their loved ones and representative organisations to discuss the impact and consequences of war and military service on individuals, families and communities.

 As a result of this process, the Australian War Memorial is commissioning a major work of art for the Sculpture Garden, which acknowledges the long-term suffering that can result from war and service.

The Memorial has commissioned leading Australian artists and architects to produce memorials for the Sculpture Garden since it opened in 1999.

The garden offers a place for quiet contemplation of the sacrifices of Australians who have served their country, and their families.

It is hoped that the Sufferings of War and Service sculpture will do just this, by providing overdue recognition and understanding of the turmoil experienced at war and perhaps more importantly, the residual suffering that effects not only individuals, but their families and society at large. 

It is hoped that this work of art, can assist in recovery for them and their loved ones.

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