With great pride, I recently joined more than 300 community members at the Violet Town RSL sub-branch for the unveiling of the Women in War memorial mural, a project conceived in 2019 by RSL member Jenni Kennedy to honour local women who have served during times of war. The scope of the project evolved, with the mural now reflecting the diversity of roles that women have undertaken within Australia’s defence forces over time, from World Wars I and II to the Korean and Vietnam wars—as nurses, doctors, peacekeepers, fighter pilots and tank drivers—and reflecting the first women to hold significant military ranks. Warrant officer Kim Felmingham NSC OAM, the first female regimental sergeant major of the Army, who features in the mural, spoke passionately at the unveiling about how the leadership of women in defence is progressing.

Benalla based artist Tim Bowtell and his son Sam painted the mural from historical photographs. The artwork is 17 metres long and almost two metres high. It has been supported by and contributed to by so many in the community. The mural will be a lasting legacy that honours the memory and dedication of women who have served our country, and the people of Violet Town should feel very proud about what they’ve achieved together by bringing this project to life. Congratulations to all involved! This is not only a significant memorial and attraction; it’s an inspiration to young women everywhere dreaming about how they, too, can serve their country.

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