National President – Jenny Gregory
Jenny Gregory was appointed to the role of National President in October 2022. She joined Australian War Widows (Queensland) shortly after her husband’s death in 2013 and became Queensland State President in 2016.
Jenny holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing Science and a Graduate Diploma in Health Services Management. Jenny has worked for many years in aged care and understands many of the issues that face our widows as they prepare for residential care when it is needed and the sometimes, complicated process of obtaining Home Care.
Jenny’s passion in the aged care space was working with people with dementia and she became the inaugural President of Alzheimer’s Australia ACT (now known as Dementia Australia). At the tail end of her nursing career, she was a nurse educator in the field of Dementia Care.
Jenny’s husband was a veteran who served in the Army in Malaya, Vietnam and Singapore. When he transitioned to civilian life, he had a very successful private investigation business. They travelled the world together as he worked with many international colleagues on some very interesting cases. It was a very full life.
Jenny is passionate about her role as National President and working with the National Council to advocate for, and support, all defence and war widows. Jenny’s vision is for all states in Australia to celebrate National War Widows Day on the 19 October each year, our founder, Mrs Jessie Vasey’s birthday.
ACT State President – Mrs Robynne Mitchell
Robynne took on the role of State President for the Australian War Widows – ACT in May 2022.
Robynne previously held the role of Vice President of the ACT Branch.
NSW State President – Queen Dunbar
Queen took on the role of State President for Australian War Widows NSW in June 2022 and is honoured to step into the role.
Queen’s husband Adam enlisted in the army in 1996, reaching the rank of Major in the Artillery Corps before transferring to Intelligence and medically discharging in 2015 due to his PTSD. He saw active duty in the Solomon Islands in 2003, in Iraq in 2006 and in Afghanistan in 2011. Adam passed away in 2017.
Queen a mother to two teenage children, Joshua (19) and Sarah (15), a high school English teacher and 20 years plus career as a flight attendant. Queen comes from an extensive line of strong women and has found her home in this organisation that inspires women to live their best lives, no matter their circumstances.
Queen is grateful to the Board and members of AWW NSW for entrusting her in the role of NSW State President. Queen also pays her respect to those Presidents that have come before her. She feels blessed to have such an incredible alum of women, full of support and experience, to help and guide me over my term. Queen is excited about this appointment and their optimistic future.
QLD State President – Judy Smith
Judy Smith took on the role of State President for Australian War Widows QLD in November 2022.
Judy joined Australian War Widows Queensland in 2013 after the death of her husband, a World War 11 veteran. Before retirement, Judy worked as a registered nurse in children’s services in Papua New Guinea and Northern Territory in both government and community-based organisations. While living in Katherine. N.T. Judy was actively involved in community work as a volunteer in a variety of capacities over many years. She continued to be involved in community work after relocating to the Sunshine Coast in 1992.
Judy is the past president of Australian War Widows Qld, Maroochydore sub-branch, and a Board Director of AWWQ since 2019.
SA State President – Jan Milham
Jan Milham returned to the role SA State President in October 2023.
Jan’s husband served in Korea and Jan was widowed at the age of 45. Jan lived in the country and has since moved to Adelaide. Jan has three adult daughters, is a grandmother and great-grandmother.
Jan is a volunteer for Anglicare and is involved with Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Jan enjoys the theatre, movies, music and travel.
WA State President & National Treasurer – Emily Cook
Emily took on the role of State President for the Australian War Widows – WA in June 2020 and the role of National Treasurer in October 2022.
After completing a Diploma in Secretarial Studies, Emily worked at the Royal Perth Hospital as a shorthand typist. Emily continued her career at Royal Perth Hospital for 46 years.
It was while working at the hospital Emily met the love of her life – Warren. Warren had served in the Royal Australian Navy for 21 years. After retiring from the hospital, Warren became an advocate for the Vietnam Logistic Support Veterans Association WA, working out of an office at RAAFA Bull Creek. He continued to do this until his passing in 2017.
Emily greatly admired Warren’s tireless effort and dedication, and that of the other advocates at Bull Creek, assisting fellow veterans. By joining Australian War Widows, Emily hopes she will be able to contribute to the veteran community by advocating the needs of widows and veterans’ families.
Immediate Past National President – Rhondda Vanzella OAM
Rhondda held the position of National President from 2020 to 2022. Rhondda was NSW State President from 2016 until 2022. Rhondda is also a member of the Australian War Memorial Council.
Rhondda is a member of the Remembrance Driveway Committee, an Ambassador on the NSW Government Centenary of ANZAC Council, member of the RSL Ladies Auxiliary, an affiliate member of RSL Bundanoon sub-branch and President of the RSL Rural Commemorative Youth Choir.
Previously, Rhondda was Vice President of the Kangaroo Re-enactment March from Wagga Wagga to Sydney and spent 15 years as Electorate Chief of Staff and confidant to Dr. Brendan Nelson AO.
Banner photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial