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Established for women, by women, the Australian War Widows NSW Ltd is a not-for-profit membership-based organisation whose mission is to promote and protect the interests of widows in NSW. The organisation was founded in 1946 by Mrs Jessie Vasey, widow of Major-General George Alan Vasey.

Originating as a craft guild for war widows to supplement below-basic-wage-level pensions, the organisation has been relentless in working to improve the lives of war widows. Gained entitlements include the War Widows’ Pension, tax-free and indexed to the CPI; the Domestic Allowance; Income Support Supplement and health and medical entitlements. Other successes have come in the form of concessions for transport, water and council rates, free car registration and drivers licences.

War Widows NSW provides a range of services to war widows and operates with significant volunteer input from its thousands of members and its small staff.


War Widows NSW is governed by a board of directors. Our members elect up to nine directors who are responsible for the organisation on behalf of the members. Two-thirds of the directors must be members and one third are not members but must bring to the organisation professional qualifications, business skills and experience.

The directors develop, formulate and oversee the implementation of policies and plan and set directions for the future.

Directors are required by law to operate in the best interests of the organisation and its members. The company must also comply with the requirements of the extensive range of Commonwealth and State legislation which affects its operations.

The directors are accountable to the members of the organisation. They are required to provide annual audited accounts and a report of the organisation’s activities to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), in addition to providing access to the latest annual audited report. Members are also entitled to obtain a copy of the annual report on request. Information about the organisation’s finances and activities are provided to members at the Annual General Meeting and in the Digest.

At the Annual General Meeting, held in July each year, the directors report to members. All members are entitled to attend the meeting and to raise any matters about the organisation’s operations.

War Widows NSW has a small staff under the leadership of a Chief Executive Officer. The staff manages the day to day operations in accordance with the overall direction set by the board of directors.

The State President is nominated by members and appointed by the Board. She is also a Director of the company. Since 1998, the maximum term of office for a State President is three years. The role of the State President is to undertake representational, ceremonial and symbolic activities for the organisation.

The Chair of the Board is a non-member Director elected by the directors.


The Australian War Widows NSW Ltd has a Constitution which sets down how it will operate as an organisation. Members agree to be bound by the rules of the organisation when they join. A copy of the Constitution may be obtained at the cost of $5 if purchased in person, $7 if posted, or viewed at the organisation’s head office. Please contact us to purchase a copy.


War Widows NSW is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee, which was set up to promote and protect the interests of war widows. It is a public benevolent institution with deductible gift recipient status.

Since the inception of the organisation in NSW in 1946, prudent financial management has enabled an investment in housing for members and a diversified portfolio of shares/growth assets and interest-bearing securities.

As the average age of members rises (currently 84 years), the organisation’s regular income, primarily from membership subscriptions, donations and investment income, is not sufficient to cover the costs incurred in providing an expanding range of assistance and services to war widows. As a result, in the past few years, the organisation has had to draw down part of its accumulated funds to continue to support our members.

War Widows NSW does not receive any recurrent funding from the government, although the organisation has received small grants for particular projects which benefit the members.

Bequests and donations to War Widows NSW are gratefully received and directly support our ageing members.

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