The War Vets RSL sub-Branch, under the auspices of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) NSW Branch and the Northern Beaches District Council of RSL NSW, is committed to the welfare of Serving and Ex-Service Members of the Defence Forces (NAVY, ARMY, AIRFORCE) and allied veterans, their spouses and dependents.
We do this by providing support in time of need and bereavement and by promoting regular engagement and camaraderie within our ranks through meetings, luncheons, social and official functions.
We interact with the community through the promotion of ANZAC Day Services and Remembrance Day Services, many other RSL NSW commemorative events, schools, cadets and other community outreach. Fund raising events include, ANZAC Day Appeal, the Poppy Day Appeal and other special activities.
We take pride in our bi-monthly newsletter “Dispatches” with news, interest items and upcoming events.
We are based in the RSL LifeCare ANZAC Village (“The War Vets”) Narrabeen where we meet monthly. There are dedicated Memorials, a Chapel, a must-see War Museum, interaction with a Lawn Bowls Club and public access to an excellent Licensed Restaurant within the village.
Our Geographic area is centered on Collaroy Plateau and surrounding areas.
However, membership is not restricted to these areas, nor to residents of the village.
We seek and welcome applications for membership without regard to place of residence.
The RSL NSW Branch itself was formed in 1916 when the first members of the AIF started returning to Australia after the Gallipoli campaign. The first sub-Branch was formed in 1920 at Haberfield. Since then 352 sub-Branches have been established throughout NSW and current membership is 40,780.
The roots of our sub-Branch were planted in the establishment of the “War Vets” Village, Narrabeen, on ANZAC Day 1939 following the housing of veterans at Bare Island, La Perouse. At that time residency of the village was afforded to Service Veterans only. Village residents decided to form our sub-Branch almost 50 years later in 1988.
Charter was granted on 28th May 1988 and, at the inaugural meeting, the following ex-service residents of the village were elected;
President: Ross Smith,
Vice President: Audrey Vizer,
Vice President: John Page,
Secretary: Allan Vines,
Treasurer: Eric Monkman,
Committee Member: Leo Gallagher
Meetings were originally held in the Colooli Village meeting room.
Now General Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 9.30am in the Montgomery Theatre, Endeavour Drive, RSL LifeCare ANZAC Village, Narrabeen.
Ex-Servicewomen also had their own association and were under President Mavis Wheeler until December 2013, when Shirley McLaren became Co-Ordinator as there was no longer to be a formal Committee. Get-togethers once a month with lunches and outings are held. Each year the RSL LifeCare ANZAC Village holds a luncheon to acknowledge and honor the Ex-Servicewomen.
Presidents since inception include;
Ross Smith 1988 – 2008
George Main 2009 – 2016
Bob Durbin 2017 – present
The following objectives are in support of the primary mission of RSL NSW, namely
“RESPECTING, SUPPORTING AND REMEMBERING OUR VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES”,
• Advocacy and Representation
• Assistance to all serving veterans and ex-serving men and women regardless of their membership in the League
• Commemoration and Remembrance
• Participation in employment programs for veterans, ex-service members and their dependents
• Commitment to democratic principles and practices
• Means for members to enjoy camaraderie and mate ship
• Effective and efficient management of RSL assets and resources for the benefit of its members and serving members of the ADF
• An effective lobby group to Government and its Departments
• Moral and active support for the ADF
• A respected and meaningful voice within the community and Australian society
• Promotion of loyalty and pride which the League has for the Nation, its people, the Crown and the flag
Further to the above mission of RSL NSW, our core values are
• Caring for the service community
• To keep the ANZAC spirit alive and growing through an active membership
• Eternal vigilance as the price of liberty
• Moving forward together
Bob Durbin – awarded September 2006
Doug Smyth – awarded July 2021