On 13th February 2022, Glenorie RSL sub-Branch celebrated 70 years of service to veterans and their families.
The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia was formed in June 1916 with the aim to continue providing the Camaraderie, Concern and Mateship fostered and experienced amongst the Australian troops at war. Initially, the RSSILA was formed in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, NSW was admitted in 1917, WA in 1918 and ACT in 1927.
In 1965 RSSILA changed its name to Returned Services League of Australia, and then in 1990, the name was again changed to Returned and Services League. However, the core aims remained throughout.
Informally formed in the early 1920’s, The Hills District branch was made up of residents from Galston, Arcadia, Kenthurst, Annangrove, Dural and Glenorie and became a Chartered sub-Branch in 1934. With a large influx into the Hills area of returned servicemen wishing to take up farming after World War II, this Sub-Branch became very large and active.
Some locals made a move in 1951 to form a new Sub-Branch in Glenorie. Bruce Wallace, Ron Neil, Fred Flatt, Bill (Tango) Martin, and Ted Schwebel were the prime movers. Gauging by the interest, it was decided to call a formal meeting held at the Glenorie Memorial Hall.
Many local returned servicemen were present at this meeting, held on 16th November 1951, and a motion was passed to form a Glenorie Sub-Branch of the Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia.
At the subsequent meeting on 11th January 1952, office-bearers were called for and elected: The first President was Ted Schwebel. An application was made to State Headquarters for registration and Charter, which was granted on 13th February 1952 (displayed), and the first meeting of the now official Glenorie Sub-Branch was held on 7th March, 1952, at the Glenorie Memorial Hall.
The first purpose-built Club House was on the block of land; currently, 926 Old Northern Road (Glenorie Pharmacy) was purchased from Jack Hughes. The initial clubhouse had one main hall, a small kitchen and a library leading off to one side and was completed in 1952.
Through shortage of space for extensions and parking areas, it was later decided to purchase the present RSL Club site from Mr Jim Smith, and soon afterwards, a bowling green was constructed on the new block. In 1965, a new building was constructed. On moving to the new building, the R.S.L. Sub-Branch used the old building for a youth club.
Ironically, in 2017 the Hills District sub-Branch, due to waning membership concerns, advanced age and the inability to fill Executive Positions, relinquished their Charter as a sub-Branch and became a Chapter of the Glenorie sub-Branch, thereby uniting the district once again as a single sub-Branch.
As time has progressed, our membership has diminished however we still have 32 members, including 4 centurions’, 2 current serving members and one Naval Reservist. 5 of our current members are Veterans from World War 2.
A gathering at the Glenorie RSL Club marking this auspicious event was attended by the Hon Matt Kean State Member for Hornsby, His Worship Phillip Ruddock Mayor of Hornsby, His Worship Dr Peter Gangemi Mayor The Hills District, President of RSL NSW Mr Ray James, President of FWMDC Mr David Ingram and Mr Robert Hodges President of the Glenorie RSL Club.
Apologies were received from Hon Julian Lesser, Federal Minister for Berowra, Hon Robyn Preston State Member for Hawkesbury and RSL NSW CEO Mr Jon Black.
The President of the Glenorie RSL sub-Branch performed the honour of cutting the cake.