Initially formed as a Remembrance Club post World War I in 1927, Launceston Legacy played an important role in the lives of veterans' families through World War II, and that commitment continues today.
Tasmania's Legacy connection began in Hobart in 1923, when Major-General Sir John Gellibrand established the southern Remembrance Club.
The spirit of mateship then spread North, with the concept of caring for the dependents of incapacitated and deceased Australian servicemen and women taken up in Melbourne and Launceston.
Launceston Legacy president Russell Hogarth, himself a legatee, discovered Legacy through his father Jack Hogarth, who joined the organisation after returning from service in World War II.
Mr Hogarth snr joined the army in 1939, at the beginning of the conflict.
Part of the 2/8th Field Regiment, with many members coming from Launceston, Mr Hogarth fought at El Alamein.
He was one of many returned service people who joined the Launceston branch upon his return.
"An awful lot from that [2/8th] unit came back and joined Legacy in the 1940s and 1950s," Mr Hogarth said.
"After World War II there were a lot of widows, but we also have children from other conflicts since," he said.
There were an awful lot of children who were looked after by Legacy in various ways.Russell Hogarth
Not just providing for returned service personnel and their partners, Legacy has a strong focus on supporting children.
"There were an awful lot of children who were looked after by Legacy in various ways," Mr Hogarth said.
"They organised things like Legacy picnics and Christmas functions. They tried to help families by doing something for the children.
"In those days it was all about the children. That's how I got involved," he said.
Launceston Legacy History
At a meeting of 15 Northern Tasmanian citizens on August 2, 1927, Launceston business owner William Gow was elected as the chairman for the newly-formed Remembrance Club.
The club was established with the purpose of "reviving and maintaining the spirit of comradeship that existed in the Great War", along with "other objects as may from time to time be determined by the members", William Gow's Anzac Diary, published by Launceston Legacy in 2014, stated.
These ideals were drawn from Sir Gellibrand's plans to "engender the spirit of mateship and support born at Gallipoli in helping returned soldiers and their families" when he established the Remembrance Club in Hobart four years earlier.
Smaller sub-committees were established in towns throughout the state's North, ensuring the club covered towns between St Helens and Smithton.
Bill Gow had volunteered for military service when World War I broke out and was one of five Launceston volunteers allocated to the Tent Sub-divison of C Section of the 3rd Field Ambulance.
The new military man left for Europe with Tasmania's first contingent of soldiers on October 20, 1914.
As William Gow's Anzac Diary author Julian Burgess says, "Looking at Bill Gow's long list of community and business involvements on his return from the war it is obvious he shared Sir John Gellibrand's concern for the welfare of his fellow soldiers and the widows and children of those who died in the service of their country".
The Launceston Remembrance Club became affiliated with Legacy in 1930 and received its Charter of Legacy in November 1933 at at meeting at the Brisbane Hotel.
Mr Gow chaired the early meetings of the Launceston Remembrance Club, before the club introduced a formal president.
During the 1933 Brisbane Hotel meeting Launceston's first legatee, Dr CG Thompson, who was also club president, was enrolled.
His induction was followed by that of other members at the meeting.
Mr Gow was a club member and served on various committees in Launceston Legacy's first two decades.
He was also a prominent member of the AIF Officials and associated with the Returned Services League, St John Ambulance and StGiles.
Launceston Legacy Now
The organisation's support and services now include the dependants of today's Australian Defence Forces who lose their lives, or their health, as a result of their military service.
Despite the numbers of those it supports dwindling, Launceston Legacy is as devoted to the cause as ever.
Moving on from picnics and functions for children, Legacy now provides support more tailored towards the individual.
One such individual is Kelsey Breward, of Carrick, who received support in the form of school uniforms, tuition fees and her leavers' dinner dress.
Launceston Legacy provided this support to Kelsey and her mother Maree Breward following the death of her navy veteran father Terry, shortly after she was born.
''At the time I was too young, and I was too young for a long time to understand what Legacy did for me," Ms Breward said.
''They paid for any school costs and were always there to support me - Mum didn't have to worry about those sorts of things.
''It is so important that people have this support.''
As a charity, Legacy branches around Australia care for around 52,000 beneficiaries.
Of those Legacy supports, 82 per cent are widows or widowers aged over 76 years.
Legacy is a voluntary organisation supported by veterans, servicemen and women.
This tradition continues at Legacy House, 59 York Street, Launceston.
"[Launceston Legacy] has been going for 92 years, which is a pretty good achievement really," Mr Hogarth said.
"We're still looking after widows, who are getting older, and legatees are getting older as well."
For more information, contact Launceston Legacy on 6331 9369 or via legacy.com.au
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