PT session at Government House

In the early morning of 30 October, the Governor-General His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Mrs Hurley hosted a physical training event for around 90 Canberra-based veterans. The event, which was part of Veterans’ Health Week, sought to highlight the importance of physical fitness, which can help with mental wellness – this year’s theme.

12 December 2019


An elderly man lifts a bell weight on an expanse of lawn with about forty people doing exercises in the background.

About thirty people doing exercises on a lawn.

An elderly weight lightly boxes with another man on an expanse of lawn with other people running around, and a lake in the background.

The Governor-General (above) and about 90 other veterans break a sweat as part of Veterans' Health Week. 

Many of the veterans were current serving and came from all three services of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Others had long since left the armed forces, having served as far back as the Vietnam War.

The work-out was conducted by PT trainers from training establishments such as the Royal Military College – Duntroon. They guided the enthusiastic participants through three stations set up on the manicured lawns around Government House, which is set among 130 acres overlooking Lake Burley Griffin.

‘We were looking for an opportunity to promote Veterans’ Health Week and this is a brilliant place to come to,’ the Governor-General told Vetaffairs.

‘Mental wellness is multifaceted. It’s about nutrition, about social connection – not isolating yourself. It’s about physical fitness. We have that discipline in the service years so why not continue it? It doesn’t have to be as tough as it was then. But keep yourself well.

‘It’s part of sending a bigger message out to the Defence and veteran community. It’s a serious message: stay connected. If you have any concerns, reach out. Put your hand up. There’s no weakness in it.

‘There’s a natural tendency for people [in the ADF] to keep issues to themselves but there’s a lot of help for people out there who put their hands up. People often think their experience is one that other people won’t understand but then they find that there are people who’ve been through similar situations who have reached out and been assisted. You’ll have a guiding hand; they’ll understand.’

More information on the benefits of exercise is on the Open Arms website