Community groups and centres

Useful links

Defence maintains community centres and neighbourhood houses around Australia, where community group meetings or family-orientated activities can be held. Information on community groups and centres in the area is available from Your Community on the DCO website.

Buddies in the Bay

Buddies in the Bay is a group of Defence and civilian spouses who reside in Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay, Corlette and Anna Bay that meets once a month to share information, chat and have fun in an informal atmosphere.

More info: Visit their facebook page.


Charlestown Community Centre

Also known as ‘The Place’, Charlestown Community Centre is a not-for-profit community facility centrally located in Charlestown, Lake Macquarie - just a 10 minute drive from Newcastle.

More info: Visit their website, admin [at] (email) or phone (02) 4032 5500.


Hunter Defence Support Network (HDSN)

The Hunter Defence Support Network aims to support ADF members and their families posted to the Hunter region by working in partnership with the ADF and the Hunter community. The network provides community support and advocacy focused on improving the lifestyle of ADF families in the region.

More info: visit their website or contact [at] (email)amacgregor [at] (.)


The Canopy

The Canopy is a non-profit organisation that provides multiple services for families, children and the community. The Canopy operates its administration from Cameron Park Community Centre but services extend throughout the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle regions.

More info: Visit their website, info [at] (email) or phone (02) 4908 1140.  


Defence families on the Central Coast

A network of Defence families located on the Central Coast that meets to encourage support and friendship.

Email:  csherrin [at]
Facebook: Defence Families Central Coast


Defence Families Maitland

An informal group of Defence spouses located in the Maitland area. The group provides support for Defence families in the area through their regular morning tea, dinners and other social events.

More info: Visit their facebook page.



Defence Special Needs Support Group
Defence Special Needs Support Group
Defence Special Needs Support Group

The Defence Special Needs Support Group (DSNSG) provides peer support and a range of programs to support Defence families with special needs. DSNSG has coordinators and groups right across Australia including here in the Hunter region, including in Williamtown and Tamworth/Singleton.

More info: DSNSG has coordinators and groups right across Australia. To find a coordinator near you visit their website.


**Defence families with special needs**

Defence Community Organisation (DCO) provides practical assistance to Defence families who have dependants with special needs. This assistance especially focuses on reducing the impact of relocations and minimising any interruption to specialist services that the dependant needs.

In order to receive any of the assistance and support services available, you will first need to have your dependant with special needs formally recognised by Defence. Forms and details can be found on the DCO website.


Gan Family Centre

The Gan Gan Family Centre provides information, education and support to families with children aged 0-8 living across the Tomaree Peninsula. The Centre aims to ensure that parents are confident, connected to their community and equipped to support their children's development. The Centre offers a range of services and programs including child and family health clinic, new parent’s groups, mums and bubs yoga, parenting workshops run by local child development organisations, self-development courses for adults, and a toy and book library.

More info: Visit their website, jacqueline.orwell [at] (email) or phone (02) 4982 1767.


Newcastle Buddies

Newcastle Buddies is a group of Defence partners and families who reside in the Newcastle area, to help us get to know each other, support each other, have fun together and make new friends.

More info: Visit their facebook page.


The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia

The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA) is a nationwide support network for partners of past and present members of the ADF, offering support, friendship, information and understanding. PVA believes there is a great need for support for all partners/carers, widows/widowers and families of Australian veterans, both now and in the future.  

More info: Visit their website to connect with your local NSW branch, or find them on Facebook.


Parents of Defence Members

The Parents of Defence Members group provides an opportunity for parents of current serving ADF members to meet in a relaxed environment and provide support to each other.

More info: christina.jones [at] (email )or call 0414 871 870


RAAF Williamtown Playgroup

RAAF Williamtown Playgroup is a group where Defence families with children 0-5 years get together in a friendly, playful and supporting environment. The playgroup operates from Medowie every Tuesday and Friday morning. It offers lots of fun activities for the children and is a great place for Defence partners to meet other Defence families, find a social network and get support. The playgroup also organises "Mum's night out" on a regular basis.

More info: williamtownplaygroup [at] (email) or Facebook.


Soldier On – ‘Helping our wounded warriors’

Soldier On provides a suite of services and access to partner organisations to meet the needs of our wounded serving and ex-serving men and women so that they can start their journey on their road to recovery. They offer support staff, psychological assistance, links with local services and a support network of other veterans and families.

Soldier On also has Reintegration and Recovery Centres throughout Australia as part of its Reintegration and Recovery Network. These centres are located in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast.

More info: Visit their website, phone 1300 620 380 or like their Facebook page to find a centre near you and learn how to get involved. Soldier On are always looking for volunteers to fundraise and spread the good word!


Solid Rock Ministries logo

Solid Rock Ministries
Solid Rock Ministries
Solid Rock Ministries

Solid Rock Ministries is a group that provides support and encouragement for Christian Defence spouses and serving members. They hold fortnightly meetings at Williamtown Family Centre at Williamtown RAAF Base.  

More info: Send them an solidrockdefence [at] (email) or like their Facebook page.


Terrace Buddies

Terrace Buddies are a local support group for Defence and Defence civilian spouses that meet on the first Wednesday of each month, around Raymond Terrace and Medowie, usually in the morning and during the working week.

More info: thewanderingredhead [at] (Email), call 0419 227 681 or like their Facebook page for regular updates.


Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling

Open Arms provides counselling and support services to Australia's military community. If you have served one day of continuous full-time service in the ADF you can call them for support. They also support families, reservists and some peacekeepers. Call Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 for free, confidential counselling and group programs to support mental health and wellbeing.

More info: Check out the Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling website and group programs.


Williamtown Defence Family Group Inc.

This group helps connect local Defence families by organising regular social events, offering a support network and helping new families settle into their new homes.

More info: wlm.dfgroup [at] (Like) their Facebook page for regular updates.