What is the RSL?
The Returned and Services League of Australia with some 1,500 Sub Branches Australia wide and a membership of 240,000 is the largest Service and ex-Service association in Australia.
Who runs the RSL?
The RSL is a totally independent apolitical organisation run by its members, for its members.
Committees and office bearers are elected and organised at local (sub branch and district) levels, at state branch levels and at national level.
League policies on such matters as veteran’s needs, the National Flag, Defence Force Conditions of Service, Defence Service Homes, Medical and Hospital Benefits and Compensation are reviewed regularly and form the basis on which the RSL voices its opinion on these and other national issues.
What does the RSL do?
- Provides a voice at state and national levels for the Service and ex-Service community
- Perpetuates the ties of mateship
- Provides for the sick and needy among those who have served the nation and for their dependents; this includes pensions, medical attention, homes and suitable employment
- Argues for a strong Australian Defence Force and the best of conditions of service for its members
- Fosters loyalty to the nation
- Maintains the spirit of ANZAC
What are the benefits of membership?
You can help in the work of maintaining the hard won benefits for those who have served or are currently serving in the defence of our Country and for those who will carry the Defence burden in the future.
Members can contribute to the welfare and well being of their less fortunate ex-service colleagues and their dependents, or members can be helped if need be.
The League provides a facility to continue the camaraderie of service life.
The RSL provides opportunity to maintain the Spirit of ANZAC through pride in Australia and the encouragement of our youth.
Can I Join?
If you have served for six (6) months in the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army or the Royal Australian Air Force, as a regular or a reservist, you are eligible to join the Returned and Services League of Australia.
The formation and objects of the RSL
June 1916 Conference of Returned Soldiers’ Associations recommended formation of The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA)
Sept 1916 First RSSILA (Returned Soldiers & Sailors Imperial League of Australia) congress (delegates from QLD, SA, TAS and VIC)
Mar 1917 NSW admitted to the League
Mar 1918 WA admitted to the League
Nov 1940 Name changed to RSSAILA (the Returned Sailors’ Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia)
Oct 1965 Name changed to RSLA (Returned Services League of Australia)
Sept 1983 Name changed to RSL Ltd (Returned Services League of Australia Limited)
Sept 1990 Name changed to R & SLA Ltd (Returned & Services League of Australia Ltd)
Sept 1994 Known as RSLA
Sept 1999 Known as RSL
The ideal and objects which had characterised the initiation of each state association in 1916 were correlated and finally adopted in the following form as the aims and objectives of the League:
To perpetuate the close ties of friendship created by mutual service in the Australian Defence force or allied forces, to maintain a proper standard of dignity and honour among all past and present members of the Defence Force and to set an example of public spirit and noble hearted endeavour.To preserve the memory and records of those who suffered and died for Australia.To provide for the sick and wounded and needy among those who have served and their dependants including pensions, medical attention, homes and suitable employment.To inculcate loyalty to the Nation, to guard the good name and preserve the interests and standing of members of the Defence Force; andTo promote our policy on national questions, particularly:The unity of the Commonwealth of NationsThe Defence of AustraliaThe maintenance of a sustained and selective immigration policyThe development of a national defence infrastructure and defence industry, andThe promotion and proper employment of the nation’s natural Resources
Symbolism of the RSL Badge
The badge is a symbol of readiness at all times to render service to Queen and country and to former comrades. It is a time-honoured emblem – one that has been worn with a deep sense of pride by the most revered in our land and one that glorifies the coats of all privileged to wear it.
No wealth or influence can purchase that which may be worn only by those who have served their country.
The wattle is symbolic of Australia. The leek, rose, thistle and shamrock are symbolic of and represent the link with Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland respectively.
In the badge, the red represents the blood tie of war that exists between comrades. White stands for the purity of motives in joining the League – to render service without thought of personal gain or ambition. The blue indicates a willingness to render that service to a comrade anywhere under the blue sky – wherever he may be.
Depicted in the centre of the badge, and circled by the name of the organisation, are a sailor, soldier, airman and service woman marching with their arms linked in friendship. This is to show that within the circle of the League, all services and all ranks march together in unity and comradeship. Members are asked to look upon their badge as an inspiration to good citizenship, cherishing it as a symbol of all that is best in our national life and living up to the high ideals on which the organisation is based.