RSL’s 100 years in Cockburn result of ‘can do attitude’: Mayor Logan Howlett

8OCTOBER2019
Cockburn Council is proud to congratulate the City of Cockburn RSL Sub-Branch on the occasion of its 100 continuous years of operation since the first RSL club was established in the district.

Mayor Logan Howlett said it was a reflection of the sub-branch’s well-known ‘can do attitude’ that it would mark its centenary by launching a new Welfare and Compensation Hub for Australian Defence Force veterans at its Hamilton Hill HQ.

“For many the sub-branch is a ‘home away from home’, a chance to catch up with mates, to share a story or two, to know they can avail themselves of support services and to ‘stand tall’ as veterans of various theatres of war and peacekeeping efforts,” Mayor Howlett said.

“They are people we can all admire, respect and thank for their contribution to the security of our nation and that of other nations around the world.  

“Their volunteering efforts at the sub-branch and their out-reach programs benefit veterans and their families.  I am honoured to be the sub-branch Patron and for the friendships afforded to me.”

Club President and RSL Australia life member, Digger Cleak OAM, said trained Welfare and Compensation Officers would assist any Australian Defence Force veteran members with advice on pensions, compensation, health issues and access to emergency financial assistance, through the RSL Welfare Fund.

“In our 100th year, we will continue to lead the way into the future, to assist and aid our Australian Veterans,” Mr Cleak said.

The RSL has a long history in Cockburn. The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia Spearwood Sub-branch received its Charter on the 19 October, 1919, meeting at a hall that locals called Spearwood Hall, the All Angel’s Parish Church Hall built in 1913, on Mell Road, Spearwood.

Its first building was constructed by members from donated limestone blocks on a lot in Sussex Street, opposite Spearwood War Memorial built in 1922 in Beale Park, now known as the RSL Memorial Park and Field of Poppies. 

On 24 August 1954, the Hamilton Hill Sub- branch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers & Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia received its official Charter and in the same year members completed a hall on a block of land donated by the Baker family on Frederick Street, where the current Cockburn RSL Sub-branch still meets today.

The Spearwood and Hamilton Hill sub-branches were combined to become the Cockburn RSL Sub-branch, which held its first meeting in August 1970 and received its charter on 19 March 1973.

It was renamed the RSL City of Cockburn Sub-branch on 2 July, 2002, the same year a massive project to demolish the old termite-infested hall and fundraise for a new one began in earnest. It was opened on 26 March 2003 featuring some of the original floorboards and stumps in the new bar.

On 26 March, 2004 the memorial Rose Garden was consecrated and officially opened.

Today the sub-branch oversees at least five major annual events plus what is believed to be the state’s only ANZAC youth parade and service.

The youth march was introduced by the sub-branch’s RSL Ceremonial Advisor & Public Relations Officer and RSL Life Member Arthur Stanton in 2002, and is held every April to commemorate ANZAC Day, with around 1,500 students representing 28 Cockburn and Fremantle schools.  

The sub-branch will celebrate the centenary with a Red Carpet Formal Cocktail Party on 19 October, where the new Veterans Welfare and Compensation Hub will be officially opened by Minister for Veterans Issues and Willagee MLA Peter Tinley AM.
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