The Forestville RSL Sub-Branch is a pro-active Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) associated organisation which furthers the well-being of our serving and affiliate members, their families and the families of our former members who have passed away. We achieve this by providing necessary ongoing support, where it’s required, and by promoting regular engagement between our members.
We champion interaction with the general community in our area through our promotion of Australia’s military heritage at significant commemorations such as the Anzac Sunday March, the Anzac Dawn Service and the Remembrance Day Service. We also actively interact with the schools in our area through the sponsorship of the Australia My Country (AMC) competition and our Remembrance Day Education Grants Program.
Our area consists of the geographic boundaries of postcodes 2084 – Duffys Forest and Terrey Hills (but excluding Cottage Point); 2085 – Belrose, Belrose West and Davidson; 2086 – Frenchs Forest; 2087 – Forestville and Killarney Heights; and 2100 – Allambie Heights, Beacon Hill and Oxford Falls (but excluding Brookvale, North Manly and Warringah Mall).
The first recorded meeting was Tue 29 March 1954, when 13 prospective members attended. The meeting was conducted according to the constitution rules and by-laws of the then Returned Sailors’ Soldiers’ and Airmens Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA). At this meeting the following were elected as office bearers: – Chairman: B E J Pearce Vice Chairman: K E Gulliver Hon Treasurer: C F B Burridge Hon Secretary: J P McGrory Committee: J T Tredrea, M J Anderson, R N Irwin, H Hodgson.
The submission went to the RSSAILA and the Charter was granted. On 29 May 1954, 29 returned servicemen met at the foundation General Meeting held at the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Starkey Street Forestville.
At the inaugural meeting a motion was passed: “That the proposed Forestville Sub-Branch of the RSSAILA be affiliated with Northern Metropolitan Area and not with Manly because we were more closely associated with that area having no satisfactory public transport to Manly”.
At the date of writing (2003) this record of historical events, only four of the original members were still with us: Dennis Pecover, John McGrory, Gordon Farrell and Harold Young.
A motion was carried to hold all future monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of each month ~ this meeting date remains unchanged to this day.
The following is a list of Sub-Branch Presidents since its inception: –
B E J Pearse: 1954-55. C F B Burridge: 1955-58 R H Cooper: 1959-60
J M Percy: 1961-62 J Grimm: 1963-77 H H Fox 1977-79 R Smith 1979-89
R A McDonald: 1989-95 C A Jack: 1996 to 2004
W (Bill) Hardman OAM: 2004-2017 John Scifleet: 2017 to 2018
R Lunnon: 2018 to present
After one month the Members decided to investigate ownership of the Memorial Hall with a view to creating a permanent home for the Sub-Branch. This was not possible and it was resolved to acquire a block of Crown Land. Before the end of 1954, Col Bergelin advised of some Crown Land near the Trig Reserve. This was leased originally and subsequently purchased for $100,000 in 1978. To finance the purchase, a 33-year mortgage was entered into. This mortgage was paid out ahead of time and the property subsequently sold in 2001 to The Forestville RSL Club Limited for $3,850,000. The Sub-Branch now has a permanent office in the restructured Club facility, which it occupies under licence from the Club Ltd.
During 1954 the Women’s Auxiliary was formed. Since that time much of what has been organised would not have been possible, but for the assistance of the ladies to whom we are vastly indebted. Wives provided supper in our early days and the Women’s Auxiliary has raised enormous sums of money over the years and provided tea and coffee at ANZAC and Remembrance Day services. Also quietly working are the volunteers who look after pensions and welfare matters ~ with a high success rate. Our Widows Group continues to grow in numbers and receive the same care and attention, as do the members.
In 1956 we helped promote RSSAILA’s competition for schoolchildren. The theme was “What does ANZAC mean to me”? From that one school we now promote some twenty odd schools in the area with the renamed theme “Australia My Country”. In this competition our area has been highly successful with many winners at State level.
Year by year the activities of this Sub-Branch have been much the same. Adhering to the aims and objectives of the League, the efforts of the hard-core original members who started this Sub-Branch, and kept it moving over subsequent years, has seen a humble group of 29 expand, to a high of 1283 members in 1982. The bank balance at the first AGM of a couple of hundred pounds has grown to cash and investments of over $4m dollars, pprimarily due to the sale of the property to the Forestville RSL Club Ltd in 2001. There is a history of substantial donations to service related appeals for funds, and to other groups and individual local causes, particularly the youth of the community, considered to be worthy by the Executive and members of the Sub-Branch.
Through the now renamed 530A committee, we can be proud of the recreational areas we have preserved from development. Our ANZAC Services are well supported by both members and the general public. Books left on our Memorial on ANZAC Sundays and passed onto the local library now exceed 2000. RSL sport has received its share of assistance when requested. Forestville has made many friends throughout the North Shore and Manly Warringah area and as far afield as East Maitland and Wollongong.
As for the future, we are now in the fortunate position to be financially secure and are able to meet the ongoing needs of an ever-aging membership, as well as continue to assist the local community better than ever before. With God’s help we hope and trust that when this time capsule is opened we will have built and nurtured the foundations of a Sub-Branch, which has continued to expand and grow with the local needs.
Grimm J. 1974 +
Howard L.J. 1974 +
Neill J.D. 1978 +
Moir G. 1979 +
Pecover D.P. OAM 1979 +
Percy J.M. 1979 +
Dermondy J. 1981 +
McDonald R.A 1983 +
Smith R. 1985 +
McDougall R. 1987 +
Dwyer R. 1989 +
Hurt D.MSM 1994 +
Farrell G. 1994 +
Chapman J. 1994 +
McAndrew A.H 1972 +
Holland G.M. 1998 +
Jack C.A. 2001 +
Moggach J.M. 2001 +
Thorpe J.M. 2002 +
Kirkpatrick T. 2003 +
Tulloch J. 2004 +
Bridge J 2006 +
Hardman W.H. OAM 2012
Finlay J 2015
Kennedy D 2017
Balfour J.G OAM 2019