On the 5th of April Tony Dell our Field Contract Coordinator for CPAFR and his wife Alison had the honor of attending the Soldier On Gala Ball at the Arboretum in Canberra. 

Here’s Tony’s view on how the evening unfolded. 

“We flew down to Canberra on the Friday morning and arrived in the Nation’s Capital in some not so nice weather for what we are used to in here in Queensland.

We arrived at the Arboretum around 1830 and moved inside out of the wind and rain. At the entrance we were warmly welcomed by the staff of Soldier On, we then moved through to look at some of the live and silent auctions items for later in the night. Some pre-dinner drinks were also available.

Our seating was arranged, with each table having 10 – 11 seated. We were very lucky to have the Manager of Education department from Soldier On seated at our table. Over the night we held discussions on programs and opportunities Soldier On provides for our veterans. The meals were absolutely amazing and complemented with its elegance.

The MC for the night was Hugh Riminton, Australian Correspondent and Soldier On ambassador. Hugh has a long history with the ADF and veteran affairs.

The keynote speaker was Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia Mr. Vasyl Myroshnychenko, also previously the Defense Minster of the Ukraine in 2022.  He spoke on the relationship between Australia and Ukraine and the current conflicts in his country. He praised the resilience of his people and how Australians continue to support each other when times are hard while finding new and initiative ways to survive.

Throughout the night there were silent auction conducted. These items raised money for Soldier On. A live auction was also conducted, which included dinner experiences in Melbourne to 8-night stay in the French Villa and booking to the 2025 ANZAC day ceremony in Gallipoli. The item I found most intriguing was the box of nothing! Yes, a box of nothing which went for $3500 dollars. Rumor has it that it does have a great prize and the winner keeps it a secret.

The night concluded following the auction with the RMC Military band playing and the dance floor was in full swing.”