The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) evolved as a direct result of the camaraderie, concern and mateship shown by the “Diggers” for the welfare of their mates during and after World War 1. In 1916, at least four of the Australian States (Qld, NSW, Vic and SA) formed Returned Soldiers’ services or repatriation facilities such as we know today.
So the RSL was formed to provide for the sick, wounded and needy among those who served and their dependants. The four States met in an endeavour to reach agreement regarding the formation of an Australia-wide Returned Soldiers’ Association.
Collectively, they formed the Returned Sailors & Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA). The other States and Territories joined the organisation in following years.
Over the years, the organisation underwent several name changes and is today known as the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited which reflects the broadening of membership eligibility by removing the ‘returned from active service’ eligibility criteria.
Dedicated to sustaining the reputable mateship and camaraderie linked to the iconic RSL brand, the RSL remains as relevant today as in 1916.
Today, the RSL is the largest ex-service organisation in Australia with a national membership of around 200,000.
The membership is the lifeblood of the League. But remember, joining an RSL Services Club is NOT THE SAME as joining an RSL Sub Branch. In fact, in most cases in Queensland, RSL Services Clubs operate independently of RSL Sub Branches.
The State Headquarters of the RSL (Queensland Branch) is located at 283 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, and oversees the administration of 10 regional District Branches and nearly 250 Sub Branches, representing almost 40,000 members in Queensland.