Veterans invited to paddle, walk or ride

An introduction to the world of ocean racing in outrigger canoes will be held at Gwandalan this weekend, as part Veterans Health Week.

Purple Warriors Australia Outrigger Canoeing will hold the come and try day on Saturday, October 23, starting at 11am on Lake Macquarie at the Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre on Kanangra Dr.

On November 4 at Long Jetty, the Terrigal Wamberal RSL Sub-Branch will stage a Health Week Ride & Walk event.

The event at Saltwater Creek Park on The Entrance will be held between 10am and 2.30pm and involve a 5km bike ride or 2km walk, followed by a barbecue.

Participants will need their own bike, helmet, chair, hat, water bottle and appropriate attire.

During the event, a clinical psychologist will address the group on mental health matters.

These events are among 720 being held to focus on veteran wellbeing during the largest Veterans Health Week held in the country.

The Australian Government has provided a record $540,000 funding for Veterans Health Week activities that focus on enhancing the overall health of our veterans and their families.

Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel, Andrew Gee, said this year’s theme, Get Moving, is promoting physical health and encourage veterans and their families to stay active.

“I’m delighted this year’s Veterans Health Week is the biggest yet, with ex-service organisations and community groups coming together to host more than 720 events around the country until the end of November,” he said.

“We know that staying active can have many flow-on benefits to our physical and mental health, and so I encourage veterans and their families to get out and get involved in Veterans Health Week.

“As part of the event calendar, veteran charity Swiss 8 has also been supported to host barbecues across the nation during Veterans  Health Week and in the lead up to Remembrance Day, to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health.

“Improving mental health starts with connection and meaningful conversations, and where better to have a chat and check-in with your mates than with a snag by the barbie.

“I’d like to thank all our ex-service organisations and community groups for showing their support and putting on a raft of fantastic COVID-safe events and activities for veterans and their families to participate in,” Minister Gee said.

“Among the planned virtual events is the Bravery Trek Challenge 2021 run by the Bravery Trust, which challenges veterans and their families to walk, run or cycle 100km to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“I encourage you all to check out the events on offer near you, and perhaps broaden your network by participating in virtual activities outside your local area.”

A full list of Australian Veterans’ Health Week events and information about how to register is available on the DVA website or by calling DVA on 1800 838 372 or email

Sue Murray