In Western Australia in early 1916, a group of veterans convened and decided to form the 11th Battalion Association. Returning soldiers could now speak as one unit with one voice, after having received poor treatment upon their return to Australia. The decision was made to widen the scope to include all members of the 3rd Infantry Brigade. On May 27th 1916 it was agreed that the name of the association should be altered to ‘Returned Soldiers’ Association’, covering personnel from all units.
Nationally, the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) was founded in 1916 to ensure a unified approach to address the lack of organised repatriation facilities and medical services available to those returning from service in the Great War. This included looking out for the families of those comrades who did not return
This ethos of compassion and service remains today as the motivating influence of the League. The core mission has never changed and has continued to evolve to meet the needs of each generation of servicemen and women.
RSL advocates for the best possible conditions for our serving men and women and for those who have served the Nation in the past. We foster respect and thanks from the Nation for all those who have made sacrifices in Australia’s name and we provide a strong voice on issues of National unity and security.
From young and old, ex-serving to current serving – the RSLWA is here to assist. It advocates for the best possible conditions for those who have served and fosters a spirit of respect and thanks from a grateful nation through commemorative services and events.
With a network of Sub-Branches across the state, the RSL allows for assistance to be given to any veteran in need. Member or not, a warm welcome is always waiting for at your local RSL Sub Branch.
The RSL’s Motto “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance” has an interesting history.
In the fourth century BC, Demosthenes enunciated the spirit of the motto although he used these words:
“There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it ? Distrust”
In 1770 the following words were apparently first used by John Philpot Curran in his speech upon his election as Lord Mayor of Dublin: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”
Then Wendel Phillips, in an address before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1852 said: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” . Some people have attributed this also to Thomas Jefferson, but no one has found any records of Jefferson using the sentence.
In the early 1920’s the Victorian Branch of the League suggested that the League should have a motto, and the NSW Branch of the League recommended: “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”. In November 1923, the 8th National Congress of the RSL agreed on the motto recommended by NSW
RSLWA vision and mission can be broken down into the following points:
- To provide assistance and care for serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force, along with their dependants. Whether sick, suffering from mental illness, of elderly age, homeless or otherwise in need of relief, the RSLWA will be there.
- To support and assist current serving personnel of the Australian Defence Force at home, abroad and those transitioning to civilian life.
- To assist current and ex-serving personnel and their dependants to secure compensation, benefits and assistance that they are eligible to receive under the order of law.
- To contribute to the preservation of the memory, honour and records of those who suffered and died for their country while serving in the Australian Defence Force.
Objectives of RSL National
Objects of the RSL The RSL is established for the principal purpose of promoting the interests and welfare of serving and ex-serving men and women of the Australian Defence Force and their dependants and for this purpose has the following objects:-
(a) To assist and care for the sick, elderly and needy by providing, or assisting to provide pensions, benefits, accommodation, medical treatment, rehabilitation and other forms of welfare.
(b) To establish and accept trusts having for their object the welfare and benefit of any member of the League, or of any serving, or ex-service member, of the Australian Defence Force, or their dependants.
(c) In furtherance of any of the objects of the RSL, to make grants to and give assistance to such persons, trusts, groups, associations, societies, institutions or other organisations and authorities and to establish such scholarships as the RSL may, from time to time determine.
(d) To perpetuate the close and kindly ties of friendship created by mutual service in the Australian Defence Force or in the forces of nations traditionally allied with Australia and the recollections associated with that experience, to maintain a proper standard of dignity and honour among all serving and ex-service men and women of the Australian Defence Force, and to set an example of public spirit and noble hearted endeavour;
(e) To ensure the preservation of the memory and the records of those who suffered and died for the nation; to ensure the erection of memorials to their valour and that they have suitable burial places; to establish and preserve in their honour, ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and other commemorative occasions.
(f) To promote the defence of the Nation, and guard the good name, interests and standing of serving members of the Australian Defence Force.
(g) To support serving Australian Defence Force members at home and abroad and actively assist them in their transition to civilian life, especially if they are detrimentally affected by their Defence service.
(h) To support Australian Federal Police overseas veterans with appropriate assistance and encouragement to join the League.
(i) To encourage members of the League and citizens to serve the Nation with a spirit of self-sacrifice and loyalty, supporting constitutional arrangements that promote a stable and progressive society.
(j) To maintain a national association, which is non-sectarian, and in relation to party politics, non-partisan.
(k) To enunciate, from time to time, its policy on national questions and to encourage members of the League to abide by, support and actively carry out such policy so far as is permitted by law.
(l) To establish, maintain, furnish and equip premises, information bureau, libraries, literary, social, educational and benevolent institutions for the benefit and advancement of members of the League and to print, circulate and publish such papers, books, magazines and circulars, carry on such other literary and journalistic undertakings, and publish material that may be conducive to the objects of the RSL.
(m) To subscribe or donate to, become a member of and co-operate with any other body of persons corporate or unincorporated whose objects are similar to those of the RSL and which prohibits the distribution of its or their income and property, amongst its or their member.
(n) To conduct commercial, marketing and sponsorship activities consistent with relevant legislation and the RSL’s reputation for the purpose of delivering the Objects and other outcomes as directed by the Board, and
(o) To do any act matter or thing which is conducive to carrying out the Objects.
Role of North Beach Sub-Branch
The role of North Beach is to serve the interests of its members, veterans, the ex-service community and members of the Australian Defence Force. North Beach assists the RSL execute its role by effectively implementing objectives which are in accord with the League’s Mission Statement.
Who We Are
North Beach RSL Sub Branch was “founded” in 1945 by a group of men who had served their country in time of war and who wanted in time of peace to experience the joy of comradeship and an opportunity to be of help to their former mates and dependants.
Not only did those young men want to provide support for each other, they also wanted to support the community. Today North Beach comprises, ex-service men and women, serving men and women, and affiliate members who carry on that same tradition through activities and events that are managed and administered through the North Beach Executive and Committees.
The North Beach Executive and Committees ensure our goals are achieved and that membership and community support does not falter.
What We Do
North Beach Sub-Branch has had a long history of member and community inclusion and support, and the facilitation of social activities and tours of interest. We do this by undertaking just some of the following activities:
- Walking, Kayaking and Cycling Groups twice weekly, Wednesday and Fridays at Hillarys Marina, followed by coffee. The Kayakers also provide a service by removing debris from the Marina while paddling around.
- Day tours to sites of significance around Perth, such as Rottnest Military History, Fremantle Prison, Submarine Tour, Tour of SAS in Swanbourne.
- Week Tours, such as Merredin and surrounds learning of its Military History, Geraldton and proposals for Tour of Duty to Darwin.
- Supporting local schools at times of Remembrance, such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
- Annual Quiz Night and an Annual Dinner.
- Annual maintenance and support to the Legacy Camp, Busselton.
- Focus on welfare and support of our members by home and hospital visits, and ensuring that they have access to welfare, entitlements and advocacy service they need to support them.
The Sub Branch meet at the North Beach Bowling Club, 7 Kitchener St, North Beach on the second Monday of each month, except January, with meeting commencing at 16:00.
Following the meeting, at approximately 17:15, members can enjoy a meal. Meeting costs is $10, which includes two rounds of drinks, and $5.00 for those choosing to stay for a meal. The Bowling Club operate full bar facilities during our meetings.
Meetings focus on Sub-Branch business, often including invited guest speakers on items of interest to members, as well as most importantly, fellowship and the planning of social activities.