A Christmas Message from Joan Hughes, CEO AVCAT

What a year 2020 has been!

Joan Hughes CEO AVCAT

From years of drought for people in rural and remote areas to the bushfires and then the pandemic, 2020 has been a year of readjustments and uncertainty. We have learnt the importance of connection and finding new ways, often simple, to keep moving forward each day.

What has impressed me this year is the courage and determination of our scholars. I have been buoyed by lots of positive stories, messages of love and hope, acts of human kindness by strangers to others as well as neighbours checking in with each other. Our neighbours got together weekly during the very isolating time. We had ‘dinner get togethers’ in our driveways, physically distanced and sharing a few laughs. 

I was having a quiet Christmas with my husband and son however our son may not be able to visit us as we live in the Greater Sydney area and travel restrictions are in place for people visiting this area from other states and territories. My son’s favourite Christmas salad is a chicken, mango, and cashew salad with a curry mayonnaise. It’s one of those salads that is done on the day, so hopefully still on the menu for a later celebration.

As I write to you and listen to the news on the coronavirus, it’s a reminder that we can’t be complacent. We all thought that we would have a COVID-19 free Christmas. For many Australians that won’t be the case, so physically distancing, wearing masks in public areas and hand sanitising are still important, and of course listening to health advice.

Enjoy your Christmas and holiday season whatever form it takes. I hope that you can connect with family and friends in some meaningful way and cherish those moments.

Here’s to a better and more certain 2021.

My regards as always


The AVCAT office will close at noon 23 December and reopens Monday 4 January 2021.

You might also enjoy these stories ...

AVCAT Scholar – Georgia Caire

I have been financially independent since I moved away from home at 18. Receiving the Long Tan Bursary has been life changing. By Georgia Caire Georgia and her Pop For...

Jayanna Gibson

By Jayanna Gibson My name is Jayanna Gibson, and I am one of the incredibly grateful 2019 recipients of the Brisbane Water (NSW) Legacy (BWL) Scholarship through the Australian Veterans...

Larissa Whelan

By Larissa Whelan Larissa's first day of teaching at a rural school My name is Larissa Whelan and I’m the daughter of a veteran who did three deployments to Iraq...
Scroll to Top