Women at the Front 5 March 2020

 Today, women represent almost a fifth of all serving members of the Australian Defence Force. Ahead of International Women’s Day, hear a tri-service panel of women candidly discuss their experiences of the modern military.

Date: Thursday 5 March, 6pm
Location: Education Centre, Shrine of Remembrance
Cost: $5, free for Shrine Friends


Lieutenant Commander Helen Ward RAN


Helen signed up to the Royal Australian Navy in 1987, a few years after women were first integrated into the RAN, and was first posted as an instructor to the Weapons Electrical Engineering School at HMAS Cerberus. In her more than thirty-year career in the RAN and the Australian Naval Reserves, Helen has served on many Australian naval ships and undertaken active service deployments on Operation Catalyst (Baghdad 2007–08), Bushfire Assist Vic (2009), Indo Pacific Endeavour (2017) and Joint Task Force 646 Op Bushfire Assist 2019–20.

Bruna Norrish


Bruna enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in 1988. During her 17-year career in the Army, Bruna undertook postings around Australia and was deployed twice to East Timor. Bruna’s first deployment was in 1999 as part of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and again in 2003 as part of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Bruna currently works for the Australian Public Service in the Department of Defence as Operations Manager, Armoured Vehicle Division, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).

Flight Lieutenant Kelli Mitchener


Kelli began her nursing career as a civilian in Melbourne hospitals and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2006 as a specialist reserves intensive care nurse. In 2008, Kelli deployed to Afghanistan as a member of AUSMTF2, a 10-person critical care, and surgical team embedded in the Dutch Army role 2 facility in Tarin Kowt. During this three-month deployment Kelli cared for NATO soldiers and local Afghani civilians. Kelli is currently Executive Director of Clinical Governance and Medical Operations at Central Gippsland Health in Sale, Victoria.

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