Cronulla RSL to Host War Animal Day Memorial Friday 24th of February

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Cronulla RSL is set to host a special service to commemorate National Day for War Animals on Friday 24th February in the Club’s memorial garden at 10am.

The garden features a bronze plaque dedicated to animals who have served during times of war and peace, which is the first of its kind at an RSL club in NSW.

The National Day for War Animals recognises the important roles that animals have and continue to play in war. Animals have been put to many uses in war serving as transport, beasts of burden, messengers, protectors, mascots and pets. Animals have played an important part in all wars in which Australians have been involved.

It is estimated that more than 8 million animals died in WW1 alone: 400,000 horses left our Australian shore – only one was allowed to return home. 20,000 dogs, 200,000 pigeons, camels, mules, donkeys and even insects all played their part in battle.

In 2019 Minister Scott Buchholz announced in Federal parliament that the 24th February would be Australia's official war animal day.

War Animal Day is a day all Australians can wear a purple poppy and think not only about our soldiers who gave their lives in war, but also spare a thought for the four-legged and winged heroes that fought and died alongside our troops.

The Chief Executive Officer of Cronulla RSL, Sue McNeill commented,

Our local veterans have educated us on the courage of animals who have served their country and the peace they have fought hard to achieve. It is only fitting that we commemorate our service animals on this day, acknowledging the sacrifices they too have made’

Cronulla RSL were announced a winner of the 2023 ClubsNSW Clubs & Community Awards, in the ‘Heart of the Community’ category, for their efforts in supporting animals impacted by war.

The Heart of the Community Award recognises the outstanding efforts of clubs that have had a significant positive impact on their community by contributing to and/or improving the social, cultural, financial or environmental wellbeing of the community.

The Club’s nomination “No Dog Left Behind” was based on these club’s fundraising efforts to support the Australian War Animal Memorial Organsiation (AWAMO) and the Sutherland Shire’s local Veteran War Dog, Manic.

Since 2021, The Club has raised $22,000 to support the cause. In addition, Cronulla RSL was recognised as the first RSL club in NSW to establish an AWAMO supported memorial plaque for war animals and the first club in Australia to provide a retired war veteran dog club membership.

AWAMO are currently working tirelessly to support and provide much-needed food, medication and ground support to those helping the innocent animals of Ukraine suffering through conflict, via their sub-branch Australian Animal Aid.

War Animal Day is a day all Australians can wear a purple poppy and think not only about our soldiers who gave their lives in war, but also spare a thought for the four-legged and winged heroes that fought and died alongside our troops.

We hope our ceremony will also raise awareness about the fantastic work conducted by AWAMO, their Military War Dog Assistance Program and Australian Animal Aid. We owe so much to animals impacted by war. We hope the wider community consider helping us make a difference.”

Locals are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the memorial, however it’s important to remember that dogs must be on a lead, and under the effective control of a competent person.

Local Veteran War Dog Manic and other service animals (both retired and currently serving) will also be attending.


Event Information

Where: Cronulla RSL Memorial Garden
When: Saturday 24th February 2024
Time: 10am

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