That work has continued and during WWII the tradition of Legacy Week was founded and continues to this day. The selling of badges at this annual national appeal helps raise awareness and funds for the important work Legacy does supporting families of our incapacitated and deceased Veterans. It is held in towns and cities big and small across Australia and supported by young and old.
The funds go towards assisting approximately 70,000 widows and 1,900 children and people with disabilities Australia-wide, with essential services such as, counselling, special housing, medical, advocacy and social support.
There are thousands of Australian Defence Force personnel currently deployed overseas. Legacy stands ready to assist their families should the worst happen. You can help these families by becoming a Legacy volunteer or donor now. All funds raised will help continue their essential role in the community.
My former employer Thales Australia is a one of Legacy’s national partners and in 2010 they ran a competition Australia-wide to see who could raise the most money selling badges, with one of the first iPads being the prize to the highest fundraiser. Since my partner Stelios was living in Athens at the time looking after his parents and knowing that he wanted to get an iPad I was determined to raise the most money for Legacy!
That same iPad, which I won after selling $2,500 worth of badges, is with me now in Athens with an e-version of Paul Ham’s new book Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth, as I prepare to visit Passchendaele to honour my grandfather Harold Lilja, severely wounded on the first day of that battle 100 years ago. Meanwhile, I recently discovered that on the site of my home in Ashfield, there once stood a heritage property called Apacris that was owned by Sydney Legacy before they sold it to the developers who built the town houses we call home. I can’t help but wonder if my grandfather Harold ever visited it?
In 2014 while attending Legacy’s special ceremony at the Cenotaph in Martin Place to launch Legacy Week I met Wal Scott-Smith OAM, the Chief Cenotaph Attendant. According to a SMH article published for Anzac Day 2013:
For 67 years, Walter "Wally" Scott-Smith has been the chief custodian of the Martin Place Cenotaph – and he has never missed a dawn service. In fact, Mr Scott-Smith has stood guard over the sacred spot for a total of 4355 services, with 65 services being held at the site each year.
The humble 90-year-old from Kingsgrove was on Thursday morning named one of three Anzacs of the Year, the announcement following the dawn service drawing cheers and hearty applause from the 20,000-strong crowd in Martin Place.
Since he began his duties in 1947 after appointment by the RSL, Mr Scott-Smith and his team have tirelessly tended to the sombre memorial - "rain, hail or shine" - cleaning it and arranging the floral tributes, standing guard and providing a friendly face for those who come to pay their respects to the fallen.
The Cenotaph itself, the focal point of the Anzac Day Dawn Service each year, and up until the closure of George Street for construction of the light rail, the start of the annual Anzac Day March. The permanent new route is still unclear at this point in time as marching down George Street will no longer be possible.