Redcliffe RSL has come a long way since a group of ex-servicemen met at the Seabrae Hotel to discuss how they could support veterans suffering ‘war conditions’ in 1920.
Soon after, they formed the Redcliffe Sub-Branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) with 15 members, which was later expanded to include airmen.
They met at members’ homes and hotels until the Woody Point Memorial School of Arts Hall was built with the help of Redcliffe City Council in 1922.
That building is now heritage-listed.
In 1948, the Sub-Branch secured land where the RSL is presently located and in 1954 the first section of the Conference Hall (as it was known then). The following year, a Liquor Licence was granted and the Redcliffe RSL and Ex-Services Club was formed, separate to the Sub-Branch.
Since then, the building has been renovated and extended five times.
In 2001, the Sub-Branch and club merged, with a single board of directors. Profits are used to fund support for veterans through the Vic Reading Pension and Welfare Centre on site.
Redcliffe RSL celebrated its centenary with invited guests at a luncheon on September 18. It was a celebration delayed by 12 months, due to COVID-19.
During the event, President Neville Cullen recounted the history of the Sub-Branch and announced VC recipient Dan Keighran as Redcliffe RSL’s patron and recipient of the service award bearing his name.
Mr Keighran could not be present for the event, but his representative Marcus Randall accepted it on his behalf.
Mr Cullen was also recognised for his service to the RSL and presented with a tie pin.
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Support for veterans vital
RSL National President Greg Melick travelled from Hobart for the celebrations.
He said there were 1154 Sub-Branches across Australia and the RSL was making progress in its discussions with government about the need for better support of veterans.
“We’re the oldest, the proudest and most effective (organisation),” he told the audience.
Mr Melick said to keep going for another 100 years, the RSL had to embrace younger members and make them welcome. He said he had heard good things about Redcliffe in this regard.
Also in attendance was ex-servicewoman Avis Hall who turned 100 the same year as Redcliffe RSL, State Member for Redcliffe Yvette DÁth, Mayor Peter Flannery and Councillors Karl Winchester and Sandra Ruck.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the event and will be displayed on the outside of the RSL building near the front entrance.
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