australian Rsl history
The Tin Shed.
In January 1947, three members of the Bentleigh RSL on their way home from a meeting were travelling in W. McBean’s car and decided to stop at R.J. McQueen’s place for a cuppa before proceeding home, the time being 11.30pm. By 3.00am the next morning they had discussed and made up their minds that a Highett RSSAILA (Returned Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s’ Imperial League of Australia) Sub Branch be established in Highett. These men were Messrs Alex Stewart, Bill McBean and Ian McQueen.
In February 1947, a meeting was called to be held in the old tennis hall in Dane Road Reserve. Pamphlets were printed and distributed and notices were placed in local shops, chairs were borrowed from the Worthing Road State School and lifted over the side fence – all in readiness for the expected crowd. At 8.00pm two others had turned up “Pop” Moody and Ken Witherspoon. At 9.00pm when it was obvious that there were to be no others the meeting started. Alex Stewart was elected Chairman and Bill McBean Secretary. The other three formed the remainder of the Committee. On 23rd May another meeting was held and attended by 16 veterans and full Committee formed.
After many meetings and hard fund raising land was purchased in May 1947 in Livingstone Street Highett for $240, and a hut was purchased from Army disposals for $548 (including cartage). The first Annual General Meeting was held on 20 February 1948 after much hard work by many people. Over the years working bees and other fund raising events were held, including the Women’s Auxiliary, and additions and extras were added.
An early picture of the tin shed
In 1956 it was decided that we had outgrown the Tin Shed and negotiations were commenced with the then City of Moorabbin to acquire more space. After years of negotiations it was finally agreed that the council would purchase the land at Livingstone St and provide Highett RSL with our present land in Station Street, plus a payment of $8,000.00
On the 24th March 1961 the 14th Annual General Meeting was held in the new Clubrooms. The building consisted of a bar, small member’s lounge, kitchen, small dining room, toilets and a billiard room.
In early 2014 preliminary work was done to bring the club into the 21st century. Without closing for a single day of trade the entire inside of the club was renovated and completed by late December that year. With new clean lines and bigger kitchen the current RSL can now cater for every person that walks through our doors.