History of the RSL

The Returned and Services League of Australia has some 1500 Sub –Branches with an Australia-wide membership of about 250,000. It is the largest service association in Australia.  With headquarters in Canberra, it has Branches in each State.  Within each State Branch are Sub-Branches in almost every town and Leongatha Sub-Branch is one of these.

The RSL came into existence during World War 1 at a conference in Melbourne on 6th June 1916, but had been preceded by the development of a Returned Soldiers’ Association that had sprung from Returned Soldiers’ Clubrooms which provided a meeting place for invalids and wounded soldiers returning from New Guinea, Egypt and, later, France.

The original name of the new Australia-wide organisation was The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA).

The Leongatha Sub-Branch received its Charter in 1919. The first office-bearers of the new Sub-Branch were Dr.H.Pern (President), Mr.A.Bryan (Secretary) and Mr.W.W.Wilson (Treasurer).

The Leongatha RSL Club rooms were opened on the 19th of July 1952 by Lieutenant-General the Honourable Sir Edmund Herring K.C.M.G, K.B.E, D.S.O, M.C, E.D, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Victoria.

On the 11th of December 2009, major extensions and refurbishments of the Leongatha RSL were officially opened by Major General David McLachlan A.O, State President of the Victorian Branch, RSL.  These new extensions and refurbishments included new offices and meeting rooms.