After World War Two, young ex-service personnel were returning to civilian life. As the Sydney Metropolitan demographic centre moved towards the south-west, the population of veterans in this area increased dramatically and it soon became evident to the ex- servicemen and women of Panania that an RSL Sub-Branch would be beneficial to the community.
Accordingly, an inaugural committee was elected. Representations were made to State Headquarters and with the pre-requisite of an RSL Sub-Branch being established, a Charter was granted on the 14th June 1952. Panania RSL Sub-Branch became a member of what was then the Returned Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia. In the 1960s, this title was shortened to the present Returned Services League.
Whilst the newly formed Sub Branch had been established, the monthly meetings,
associated welfare and community involvement lacked cohesion, with the obvious answer being to obtain a clubhouse to hold the Charter and carry on the business of the League. The new Sub-Branch, and an ad-hoc building committee, together with the Women’s Auxiliary, set about raising funds by backyard fetes, raffles, street stalls and the like until in 1957 £18,000 ($320,000 AUD in 2022) was in hand.
In 1957 the State Government amended the Liquor Act to allow organisations with
acceptable aims and objects, sufficient funding and a minimum of two hundred signatures to form a Licensed Club. After a flurry of activity, two hundred signatures were on record and a request for registration was made. The application was successful and a provisional licence granted in 1958 to form a Club.
The next question was where to build the Club. The incumbent committee considered building in the Panania shopping centre, but wisely decided on the present Marco Avenue and Childs Street address. Work began on the first Clubhouse and finally the RSL Sub-Branch had a permanent place to hold its meetings and conduct its work in the community.
As the RSL now had a sphere of influence, the obvious priority was to identify with the local community. This was achieved by educational scholarships, formation of a Youth Club and by general support of local projects, at all times remaining non-political and non-sectarian. Simultaneously Legacy, RSL Benevolent Fund, Local Welfare and kindred organisations were assisted in an unfailing and ongoing manner. From these early days, it can be truly said the RSL Club had – and continues to have – a positive impact upon the district.
With such an illustrious sixty years history it would be remiss if our debt of gratitude to the founding members was not acknowledged by continuing into the future with the same enthusiasm and dedication, a constant reminder being the marching ex-servicemen and women depicted on the RSL Badge so proudly worn by all members of Panania RSL Sub-