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About Legacy

Australia has lost around 100,000 service men and women in conflicts around the world. Sixty thousand of those were in World War I alone. Beyond that, there are many more badly injured, both mentally and physically.

Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families who are suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their Defence Force service. It was founded by ex-servicemen in 1923 when a promise was made to a World War I Digger in the trenches, that his family would be looked after.

Ninety years on Legacy continues to keep this promise. There are 49 clubs across Australia, each responsible for the widows and their families living in the local area.

Legacy is run by over 5,900 volunteers, called Legatees. Legatees act as mentors and give their personal time and effort to support Legacy widows and their families.

Legacy relies on donations from the Australian public to continue its important work. It also calls on the community to volunteer and participate in Legacy events and fundraising activities such as Legacy Week.

Who Legacy helps

Legacy currently cares for around 90,000 widows and 1,900 dependants, ranging in age from 14 months to 109 years of age.

The people Legacy help includes:

  • Young families and children
  • Widows
  • Disabled dependants.

How Legacy helps

Legacy provides a broad range of support and services for Defence families such as:

  • Counselling
  • Special housing and housing maintenance assistance
  • Medical support
  • Social support
  • Assisting widows with pension claims
  • Sssisting with training or obtaining qualifications for widows re-entering the work force
  • Supporting children’s education by contributing to school fees, books and uniforms
  • Access to youth development programs such as Outward Bound and Young Endeavour
  • Holiday camps
  • Recreational and social activities.

Today, Legacy continues to care for Defence families from past wars, as well as from current conflicts or peace keeping missions, humanitarian or disaster relief operations, hazardous service or training at home or overseas.

Legacy is an iconic cause that is part of Australia’s history and culture. Legacy was founded on the ANZAC tradition and represents important values such as mateship, compassion and service that should be celebrated and sustained.



About Legacy (PDF), 1.5 mb

Stan Savige

Who was Stan Savige?

Stan Savige was a World War I serviceman who, on his return to Australia, became one of the key founders of Legacy. This is his story.

Savige, one of eight children, was born and raised in Morwell Victoria, and at age 12 left school and joined his local cadet unit. In March 1915 he enlisted in the 1st AIF and was posted as a Private to the 24th Battalion. He worked his way through the ranks and in November was commissioned in the field to 2nd Lieutenant, remaining at Gallipoli until evacuation in December 1915.

He went on to serve on the Western front. By January 1918, he was a Captain and had been awarded the Military Cross. Soon after, Savige was given a secret mission to lead a small special force to attempt a rescue of 70,000 refugees who were trying to defend their people from the Ottomans and raiding horseman that continued to attack them. The refugees had been cut off in the area of Lake Urmia in north western Persia.

Savige placed himself and his small force between the enemy and the refugees. In a daring and innovative move he was able to convince the enemy that he had a much larger group. He did this by creating dust clouds and lighting camp fires every hundred yards along a ridgeline over an extended distance. This gave the impression of a large and confident British force. The plan worked and over the ensuing weeks the column of refugees moved hundreds of miles to safety.

Savige was subsequently decorated with the Distinguished Service Order for his efforts on this occasion, and later wrote a book about this Special Forces operation, “Stalky’s Forlorn Hope”. He had a dedicated passion to support the children of fallen comrades and developed the initial Legacy Charter.

Savige went on to serve his nation again in World War II. For his service to his nation and the British Empire, he was Knighted in 1950 and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1953, he travelled to London to represent Legacy at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. He died of coronary artery disease at his home in Kew, Victoria on 15 May 1954.

Who was Stan Savige? (PDF), 1.5 mb