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Breaking Boundaries: Australian Defence Apparel and Indigenous Design Labs Forge Pathways for Indigenous Youth in Uniform Design and Production

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) proudly announces an industry-first collaboration with Indigenous Design Labs (IDL), marking a significant milestone set to champion and showcase Indigenous youth creativity and community engagement.

Chris Dixon, CEO of ADA, emphasised the significance of this collaboration within the Defence and manufacturing sectors, stating, “This pioneering partnership not only represents a groundbreaking endeavour in crafting new apparel, but also underscores ADA and IDL’s commitment to driving positive change and fostering cultural appreciation within Australia’s apparel manufacturing landscape, aligning closely with ADA’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Through innovative design, community engagement, and social responsibility, ADA and IDL are poised to set new standards for inclusive practices.”

Phase one of the collaboration will see IDL creating modern and contemporary print artwork applicable to uniforms , bringing a fresh aesthetic to ADA’s warehousing and manufacturing operational crew .

Phase two of the collaboration will launch an 8-week training program, integrated into a real-world uniform development project, where IDL youth will collaborate with ADA designers to develop a new clothing range from concept to prototype and manufacturing. The launch will coincide with Closing the Gap Day on 21 March 2024, amplifying the initiative’s significance and sparking conversation around social cohesion and economic empowerment.

Leigh Harris, Indigenous business owner of ingeous studios and IDL Founder highlighted, “Indigenous Design Labs consist of a team of young creatives focusing on abstract and contemporary designs that reflect a diverse representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. We view every opportunity as a chance to contribute to and expand upon the ongoing narrative of Indigenous design.”

Sheree Jacobs, IDL Torres Strait Mentor, added, “We are passionate about ensuring equal opportunities for individuals in regional areas. Partnering with a significant organisation such as ADA, not only grants access to urban opportunities but also empowers us to showcase what is possible. This collaboration enables regional youth to access opportunities previously out of reach, breaking down barriers and paving the way for a brighter future.”

Casey Demko, Designer at ADA, who is leading the partnership, shared her insights: “Growing up in rural Victoria, I was really excited about this partnership with IDL. I understand, first-hand, the difficulties faced by young Australians wishing to pursue creative career paths and the lack of industry partnerships available to remote communities, which can be really empowering for young people . This program will be a platform to connect indigenous and non-indigenous communities through clothing and art, representing ADA’s commitment to driving meaningful change and nurture diversity and inclusion amongst the wider community whilst representing ADA’s values and commitment to meaningful change.”

Mel Suares, Lead Design Manager at ADA, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “The ADA and Indigenous Design Labs partnership connects our shared desire to shake up the clothing industry while amplifying the voices of young and diverse Indigenous creators. We are thrilled that these talented designers will be recognised for their exceptional work, which will soon be available for all of our local makers, teams, and broader community. This collaboration represents an exciting new frontier for young artists, opening up conversations that support Indigenous youth and create a world of possibilities for their future.”

Chris Dixon, CEO of ADA, says, “This initiative not only provides valuable paid creative work and mentorship opportunities for young First Nations people but also injects funding into creating real-world opportunities for them to activate their creativity and upskill in the digital and creative design space.”

Sizing collation and fitting for ADA team members are set to occur in mid-May 2024, with final orders set for delivery to ADA HQ by mid-August 2024. The eagerly awaited launch event to celebrate this transformative collaboration will see the Indigenous youth creatives and mentors being flown down to Melbourne from Far North Queensland at the end of August 2024.

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ADA Steps Forward: Unveiling a Comprehensive Modern Slavery Statement for a Fairer Future

At ADA, we understand that modern slavery is a complex and evolving challenge that requires our proactive engagement. This statement reflects the efforts we have made to prevent, identify, and mitigate the risks of modern slavery within our business and throughout our supply chain. It also highlights the areas we have identified where we can make improvements and have an impact within our industry.

The exploitation of human beings for financial gain continues to persist in various forms and across diverse industries. ADA recognises the risks within our industry and the significance of our role in combatting Modern Slavery. This Modern Slavery Statement is our fourth under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and sets out the actions ADA has taken to understand and mitigate our modern slavery risks during our 2022 – 2023 financial year from 1st June 2022 to 31st May 2023. It is a reflection of our dedication to addressing modern slavery risks within our operations and supply chains, as well as our commitment to fostering a society where every individual can live a life of freedom and dignity.

There has been little change to the company structure, our operations and our supply chains during this reporting period. Therefore, these sections of this statement closely resemble those from the FY 21-22 Statement, with updates to numbers and statistics as required.

In this Modern Slavery Statement, we have outlined the steps we have taken, the progress we have achieved, and our ambitions for the future. We commit to regularly reviewing and enhancing our strategies, practices, and outcomes as we continue to develop our ethical sourcing program and modern slavery framework to combat modern slavery within our supply chain.

There is still much work to be done.

➡️ Click here to view our latest Modern Slavery Statement: ada.com.au/our-responsibilities/

Chris Dixon

CEO, Australian Defence Apparel

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Palmerston North creates defence warehouse, clothing 12,000 personnel

Palmerston North’s building its case as our Defence Force capital — along with nearby bases, it now has a new warehouse home to the nation’s military uniforms.

After 31 years in the Air Force, Shar Carson knows all the tips and tricks to putting together a tidy uniform. Now she’s using her experience to help kit out the front lines.

Today, she showed 1News around the new warehouse, storing nearly 300,000 items to support around 12,000 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.

“Some get eight pairs, some get five. They’re very well catered for, there’s a shoe for every purpose,” quality and compliance manager Carson said.

The new distribution centre is bringing in dozens of extra jobs and mayor Grant Smith said it was a boost for the city.

“It’s pretty huge. Fifty-five jobs but also the multimillion-dollar build and possibly more to come,” Smith said.

Australia Defence Apparel New Zealand chief executive Chris Dixon said “conversations are underway” with emergency services about storing their uniforms at the Palmerston North hub too.

“We won’t be stopping here. We see opportunities in law and healthcare, fire and other first responder sectors in the industry,” Dixon said.

But for former Air Force personnel like Carson, her new job is a chance to continue serving the country.

“The thing is, when you join the military you are in it for life. It’s something about being part of a family and a camaraderie built within that. This job enables me to be connected, and still close to that.”

By: 1news.co.nz

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Military precision major component of Defence Force’s newly-opened apparel centre

All the kit a New Zealand soldier, sailor or aviator can wear or carry has started passing through Palmerston North’s newest distribution centre.

ADA NZ’s leased warehouse near Milson Airport has been officially opened and is fully operational with room to grow the business.

The 3000 square metre warehouse and offices are the centre for receiving and distributing some 2000 different pieces of uniform and gear for more than 12,000 personnel in the NZ Defence Force.

Chief executive of parent company Australian Defence Apparel, Chris Dixon, said he was delighted with the purpose-built facility, which was more than just a warehouse.
“The site will allow NZDF personnel to receive the highest quality care and service, complemented by high-tech apparel systems to enable them to perform their duties comfortably and efficiently, taking less time away from training and fieldwork.”

The bulk of the centre is made up of the warehouse, with storage racks designed for seismic strength, and pick and pack areas arranged with highest-demand items in the most accessible areas.

There is no paper, and clever layouts enable staff to quickly and efficiently collect 120 items an hour.

The orders include combat clothing and service dress, boots, socks, gloves and badges, packs and bags and everything that goes in them, including water bottles and laundry bags.

Outside the main warehouse, a full canopy enables under-cover drop-offs and pick-ups from 70 trucks a week.

The facility is also home base for ADA NZ’s procurement, contract management, demand planning and quality control staff, and for research and development.

One of the development projects in the final stages of validation is the Bodd 3D scanner, which promises to take all the tape measures and personal preferences out of dressing service men and women.

In charge is development manager for wearable systems Graham Fordy, a scientist with a background in physiology.

The portable scanner equipped with a series of cameras and lenses created a 3D image of the person who stood on the rotating base for about a minute.

From there, it calculated the correct sizing for the complete set of garments from head to toe.

Fordy said it would ensure every person was dressed to the standard uniform fit, nothing looser or tighter, and it would save time.

Using traditional systems, it could take two days to measure up a batch of 120 recruits. With three scanners operating, the work could be done in three hours.

The orders came to the Palmerston North centre for dispatch to Defence clothing stores run by ADA NZ at each base through the wearables supply and managed services contract.

Last week, the first refurbished army clothing store was opened at Trentham, with upgrades planned for the remaining bases.

Chief Joint Defence Services Brigadier Rob Krushka said the facility would provide employment – 25 staff are based there – and other economic opportunities that would bring “a positive impact to the community in which we live and work”.

The facility was close to bases at Ohakea and Linton, and to convenient national transport links to other bases.

Dixon said Palmerston North’s industrial and distribution cluster provided an ideal location for distribution to New Zealand’s defence bases, and the project had been well supported by the city council and Central Economic Development Agency.

There was capacity within the centre to take on uniform supply contracts for other customers in future.

By Janine Rankin – Stuff.co.nz

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Australian Defence Apparel New Zealand opens multi-function logistics hub in Palmerston North

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) subsidiary ADA New Zealand announced it has opened its multi-function logistics hub in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The 3,000 square metre facility will serve as a hub for design and development, data-driven wearable systems, logistics, and warehousing, catering to the needs of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

ADA New Zealand secured a significant clothing contract in 2022, aiming to provide high-quality apparel services to over 12,000 NZDF personnel. This strategic move to Palmerston North was made possible through a collaborative partnership between ADA, Palmerston North City Council, and The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA).

ADA CEO Chris Dixon said, “The strategic move to Palmerston North was a collaborative partnership with ADA, Palmerston North City Council, and The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) to create employment opportunities across the Manawatu region.”

“The grand opening of the new ADA Headquarters and Logistics Hub demonstrates a significant commitment in the partnership with NZDF by ADA NZ. This facility will provide a logistics hub and R&D facility enabling ADA to service the needs of soldiers, sailors, and aviators of the NZDF. The construction and ongoing operation of the facility has, and will, continue to provide an economic impact through employment, supply chain, and services opportunities in the Manawatu region and beyond. The NZDF is proud to see our partnership with ADA NZ bring a positive impact to the community, in which we live and work,” said Brigadier Rob Krushka, Chief Joint Defence Services.

Palmerston North was chosen as the location due to its strategic position as a central logistics hub in the Lower North Island, facilitating efficient national distribution. The city’s forward-looking, large-scale infrastructure program aligns with the goal of delivering supply chain efficiencies and proximity to a substantial portion of the NZDF’s personnel.

ADA NZ Program Director, Sarah Pender, emphasized the facility’s role in enhancing apparel management efficiency, stating, “This facility furthers ADA NZ’s ability to provide greater efficiencies in total apparel management for 12,000+ personnel within the NZDF. We anticipate that in the future, the site will be used as an advanced distribution hub across a multitude of clients.”

Tony A. P. McQuillan, Director – Defence Equipment Management Organisation – Defence Logistics Command New Zealand Defence Force, added, “The completion of the new ADA NZ headquarters and logistics facility in Palmerston North is a fantastic milestone for ADA NZ as the newest NZDF Strategic Partner. It enhances the industrial base of the Manawatu Region and provides state-of-the-art and resilient wearables supply, and design and development capability within the geographic centre of mass of the NZDF.”

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REVOLUTIONARY CLOTHING STORE ENHANCES NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE

In a historic partnership between ADA NZ and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), a remarkable transformation in apparel systems for NZDF personnel is set in motion with the opening of the first refurbished store at Trentham Military Camp Clothing Store. This momentous event not only modernises the clothing management system but also elevates the operational readiness of NZDF.

The event, held on Tuesday 26th September 2023, was inaugurated by ADA NZ representatives, Program Director Sarah Pender, and Kate Maloney. Expressing gratitude to ADA NZ and NZDF for entrusting them with the task of transforming the clothing stores as part of the NZDF Wearables Supply and Managed Services contract, Sarah Pender emphasized the commitment to efficiency, precision, and excellence in clothing systems.

“Inaugurating this refurbished store is a testament to our unwavering commitment to better equip our Defence personnel and enhance their operational readiness, ultimately contributing to the safety and security of our nation,” stated Pender. Kate Maloney, who played a pivotal role in the store’s opening, added, “Today, we are not just unveiling a physical structure; we are symbolising our shared vision of a future where our Defence personnel have access to the very best in clothing management.”

ADA CEO, Chris Dixon expressed his pride and support for the project. “This is a monumental moment for ADA and the NZDF. We are committed to modernising our facilities and providing the best possible support to our Defence personnel and the teams who support them,” Dixon said.

John Bird, Clothing Coordinator of the Trentham Military Camp Clothing Store, shared his insights into the significance of the occasion. Bird remarked, “My passion for ensuring that our Defence personnel have the best clothing and gear to carry out their duties is what keeps me going. I find it immensely rewarding to support those who serve our country; every customer is important.” He said.

As part of the Trentham opening event, an exclusive first-look tour of the newly refurbished site was offered, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to witness the state-of-the-art facilities up close.
Tony A. P. McQuillan, Director, Defence Equipment Management Organisation of Defence Logistics Command of NZDF, expressed his excitement about the upgraded Trentham Clothing Store and ADA’s commitment to modernising facilities.

McQuillan stated, “The opening of the upgraded Trentham Clothing Store is an exciting milestone in the partnership between ADA and NZDF. It is a clear demonstration of ADA’s commitment to investing in modernising our facilities to enhance the user experience of our sailors, soldiers, and aviators.”

MAJ James ‘Jim’ Maguire, Officer Commanding Trentham Regional Support Centre, also shared his perspective on the event, highlighting the importance of adapting to the new generations of personnel needs and requirements.
Maguire said, “This shows that we’re prepared to adapt to the new generation of soldiers, sailors and aviators, who bring different skills and expectations to the job. Expectations of the future of new recruits, I believe, will include more support and a more welcoming environment to the job and for a supply store like ours.”

Brigadier Rob Krushka, Chief Joint Defence Services, commented on the partnership, saying, “This opening event marks a momentous occasion as we celebrate our partnership with ADA NZ. Together, we are committed to supporting our service men and women and fostering a thriving community.”

The opening of the refurbished Trentham Military Camp Clothing Store is just the beginning of ADA NZ’s efforts to enhance the clothing management experience for NZDF personnel. Further upgrades and improvements are anticipated across other Camps and Bases in the coming months, reaffirming the commitment to delivering excellence and efficiency.

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Industry praises troops as Legacy torch relay passes Bendigo

The Australian defence industry has paid tribute to defence personnel, frontline workers, and the efforts of Legacy Australia as the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023 passes through Bendigo in Victoria.

The six-month Legacy Centenary Torch Relay travelled through Bendigo on Thursday, 21 September, with runners attending the Bendigo Legacy Club as one of the 45 Legacy Club locations on the journey before concluding in Melbourne on 13 October this year.

The relay aims to raise more than $10 million to support the families of Australian Defence Force men and women who lost their lives or health in conflict.

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) chief executive officer Chris Dixon spoke at the conclusion of the Bendigo leg of the relay.

“We have clothed millions of personnel, and the needs of our frontline workers are at the heart of everything we do,” he said at the event.

“It has been humbling to work with Legacy, who are equally as dedicated to our national heroes and been at the forefront of caring for the families of those who have fallen.

“It is an extremely unique privilege but also seems natural that we have supplied uniforms for each of the 1,500 plus torch bearers participating in the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay.

“Just as we have done for those on the frontlines, we have designed and tailored these uniforms to ensure optimum comfort, style, and performance, as they have been supporting our torch bearers in the 55,000-kilometre journey from France to Australia.”

ADA, a corporate partner of Legacy Australia, has designed, manufactured and supplied the uniforms for over 1,500 torch bearers for the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023. The company’s 5,775-square metre dedicated uniform manufacturing facility in Bendigo produces more than 600,000 garments per year and employs more than 120 textile specialists.

ADA head of design and product development manager Melinda Suares said it originally took around five months from initial design concepts to deliver the Torch Relay uniforms.

“It is a true honour to have personally worn a uniform that I designed alongside ADA CEO Chris Dixon to represent ADA as torch bearers for the Bendigo leg of the relay, at a place where Bendigo holds so much significance for ADA,” Suares said.

“The key element of the design was showcased through a sublimated print. The centenary torch logo was an essential part of this uniform design, incorporating the red and blue hues from the logo.

“The design is then complimented with intertwining strips that emerge upon the Legacy logo on the chest.

“The light green and blue stripes form two helping hands, which touch the end of the torch relay logo. This represents (the) unity and harmonious help both Legacy and Defence Health do to support veterans and their families with stability, guidance, and care.

“It was about capturing the true essence of Legacy and what the foundation was all about. Understanding the meaning behind the 100-year centenary torch relay was important in the initial design concept stage.”

Robert Doherty – Defence Connect

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Military apparel specialist on a mission

With an esteemed history stretching back to 1912 supplying uniforms to Australian Defence Force diggers, Australian Defence Apparel Ltd (ADA) was awarded the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Wearable’s Contract in 2020.

Currently occupying temporary facilities in Palmerston North, ADA’s new purpose-built headquarters due for completion September this year is located next to Palmerston North Airport, and will include offices, warehouse and showroom.

ADA’s New Zealand Programme Director Sarah Pender says a key reason for choosing Palmerston North was the development of its new easy to access central North Island distribution and logistics hub.

“The location is known as a real growth area for distribution and logistics. Linton Military Camp and RNZAF Ohakea Base are also on our doorstep. Waiouru Military Camp is very hard to access apart from Palmerston North, and the NZDF Headquarters is in Wellington. So, they’re all in very close proximity for logistics, and that has enabled us to respond very quickly to demand.”

Sarah tells the story of a group of soldiers deploying out of Linton as part of the Cyclone Gabrielle response. The team included soldiers from Fiji who arrived at Linton on the Saturday, were measured for uniforms on the Sunday, and were helping on site wearing their new kit on the Monday.

ADA’s scope of responsibility is to manage the end-to-end supply chain for the NZDF, including procurement, inventory management and distribution. ADA NZ also manage the design and development process on behalf of the NZDF.

The substantial range of items sourced and supplied by ADA includes clothing headwear, footwear, gloves, packs, carrier vests, mess tins, sleeping bags and tents.

“We do individual ‘pick and pack’ for individual service personnel, and manage the clothing stores at the nine camps and bases, so the personnel can get sized and place an order. We have twenty-nine staff in the clothing stores, including a seamstress or tailor in each store for alterations.”

The team of 25 staff located in the new Headquarters includes warehousing and distribution staff, an operations team, contract manager, customer service and research and design.

“Our customer service team are all locally based, and we have also added a local HR Manager,” says Sarah. “Our accounts payable team is all local too, ensuring our New Zealand customers are serviced in a New Zealand environment. We do all the research and development and design and development, and have a textile specialist and a senior designer. “We even have a specialist with a PhD in Physiology who is a leading expert in integration of clothing system. For example, shirts must integrate with body armour or a pack. With a demonstrated history working in the apparel industry, Sarah was recruited by ADA in 2014, with the goal of targeting the NZDF contract and building valued relationships over time.

With a demonstrated history working in the apparel industry, Sarah was recruited by ADA in 2014, with the goal of developing key relationships in New Zealand and winning the New Zealand contract.

“ADA tends to employ people from the apparel industry who experts in their field, and everyone is very passionate about providing the right clothing to enable the personnel to do their job. We are very innovative in our thinking and because we’re still privately owned, we have the ability to be very agile. If an opportunity arises to improve on what we’re doing for the end user we can do make changes very quickly. At this stage we just have the contract for NZDF, but we will be looking at other government first responder contracts going forward.”

Richard Loader – Business Central  NZ

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Australian Defence Apparel Officially Opens Canberra Multi-Function Logistics Hub

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) has officially opened its Commonwealth Hub in Canberra on Thursday 13 April 2023. The space will serve as a critical multi-functional site for personnel across the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Commonwealth clients.

ADA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Dixon led the official opening and proceedings.

The 5000sqm central Canberra hub furthers ADA’s ability to provide greater efficiencies in total apparel management for 10,000+ personnel. Services include the design and engineering of uniforms and inventory management. Providing an overall improved wearer experience for the members, the space will also accommodate fittings, tailoring, returns and exchanges. To date, the hub has processed over 300,000 items for personnel within the AFP and ABF.

ADA are leaders in uniform technological advancement and total apparel management systems, a first responder core focus spanning defence, law enforcement, healthcare, government and corporate industries.

Chief Executive Officer of ADA, Chris Dixon said: “Centrally located in Hume, our facility is perfectly positioned to best support our Commonwealth clients. The official opening of the ADA Canberra Commonwealth Hub is instrumental in delivering on our commitment to combine leading textiles and new technologies to best serve our diverse clientele. We trust that the ADA Canberra Commonwealth Hub will allow ABF and AFP personnel to receive the highest quality care and service, complemented by high-tech apparel systems offering them an increased sense of pride and allow them to perform their duties with comfort and ease and take less time away from work duties.

“We are delighted to open this state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility that includes an expansive showroom, store and warehouse facility office space. The facility provides a unique, seamless and special experience for fitting, kitting and distribution,” Mr Dixon said.

All attendees were given a formal tour of the facility, led by ADA CEO, Mr Dixon. There were exclusive opportunities for networking, meet and greets, photos, a first-look official tour of the hub, and refreshments provided.

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Legacy Centenary: Australian Defence Apparel supplies torch relay regalia

Australian Defence Apparel camouflage is a common sight on Aussie troops, but now the defence manufacturer has partnered with Legacy Australia to supply 1,500 uniforms for The 2023 Legacy Centenary Torch Relay.

The torch relay, presented by Defence Health, starts in Pozieres, France on 23 April this year and travels 55,000 kilometres around the world in the arms of 1,500 torchbearers. It also carries special significance as the 100th year of Legacy Australia.

The relay leaves France on Anzac Day and treks to London, then Perth, and around Australia passing through more than 112 locations before arriving at the finish in Melbourne for the Centenary Conference around 13 October.

The six-month event stops at all 45 Legacy Clubs and aims to raise more than $10 million to support the families of Australian Defence Force men and women who lost their lives or health in conflict.

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) lead designer Melinda Suares, who created and put the 1,500 torchbearer uniforms into production, said initial design concepts and meetings had been worked on for around five months before the final product was made.

“The key element of the design was showcased through a sublimated print. The centenary torch logo was an essential part of this uniform design, incorporating the red and blue hues from the logo,” she said.

“The design is then complimented with intertwining strips that emerge upon the legacy logo on the chest.

“The light green and blue stripes form two helping hands, which touch the end of the torch relay logo. This represents (the) unity and harmonious help both Legacy and Defence Health do to support veterans and their families with stability, guidance and care.

“It was about capturing the true essence of Legacy and what the foundation was all about. Understanding the meaning behind the 100-year centenary torch relay was important in the initial design concept stage.”

ADA chose a validated fit for the t-shirts, shorts, and trackpants and worked with Perfect Events to make minor changes and cater to the people who would be wearing it, she said.

The Australian defence manufacturer will also be contributing to the event at various community days, profiling individual torch bearers, manufacturing bespoke products to support the relay and hosting a Bendigo Factory tour with Legacy volunteers.

Legacy Australia chairman Eric Easterbrook OAM, said the relay is a wonderful opportunity to commemorate 100 years of Legacy supporting veterans’ families.

“Legacy’s centenary is an important commemoration for our nation. It recognises the sacrifice of so many families over the past century as well as the efforts of countless volunteers who have supported them throughout grief and hardship,” he said.

“Their support will help Legacy remain strong for another 100 years and continue to support and empower all our veterans’ families to build their best future.”

By: Robert Dougherty – Defence Connect

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