The sacrifice of many Australians in the armed services becomes very obvious every ANZAC day. And rightly so. Many paid the ultimate price and many returned physically and mentally damaged. What is less obvious is the role women played during the first world war.
Many women were involved as nurses and in other active service duties and contributed support through their military service. Other Australian women were also closely connected with the war through male relatives and friends away on military duty.
On the home front, women dealt with the consequences of war—managing children and family responsibilities alone, shortages of resources, as well as their fears for the future, and the grief and trauma of losing loved ones.
Courageous women are found in every period of time and every walk of life. Most of us only need to look at our own mother to see a courageous woman.
Gwen is a 92-year-old mother who is just starting to slow down. Despite facing some medical challenges, she continues to actively respond to the needs of those in the community through her local St Vincent de Paul Society. She has become affectionately known as 'Aunty Gwen'.
As the breadwinner in the family, she ensured that the needs of her nine children were met. In the absence of paid maternity leave. Gwen took her youngest child to work and continued her teaching with a child on her back.
Despite the passing of two husbands, two children and three grandchildren, Gwen remains ever-ready to give advice and to lend her support.
Mother's Day celebrations provide a focal point to acknowledge the love and courage of those women who are close to us. Let us always be mindful that their courageous love is not limited to a single day.
Happy Mother's Day to all of our mothers!
And a special Happy Mother's Day to my Courageous mum, Gwen.
Rob Crothers Principal