President: Buster Todd
Vice President: Phil Warwick
Secretary: Lara Wilde
Delegate: Peter Hayton
Senior Pension Officer: Phil Watson
Senior Welfare Officer:
Cairns RSL Sub Branch has many trained volunteer welfare and pension officers. For inquiries or bookings please ring the office on 07 4051 5254
History indicates that in 1916 a” Welcome Home Committee “was formed in Cairns and later that year the Cairns Sub Branch of the RSSILA was established showing that Cairns was at the forefront of the formation of the RSL.
Today the RSL prides itself on the role it plays in looking after its core constituency – veterans, current and former serving men and women and their families – the Defence family.
The organisation has an excellent working relationship with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs which facilitates the work it does in assisting with preparation of claims for pensions, compensation, rehabilitation and medical treatment.
The welfare work is varied and includes such things as hospital visits, home visits, arranging home help and medical treatment and in some cases sourcing emergency and sometimes permanent accommodation for homeless clients. The RSL also provides activities for our more senior members including a Day Club and computer classes.
In order to make the organisation more relevant to the younger members, including women, there is a younger members advisory committee which formulates ideas and suggestions to assist in attracting the younger demographic to the RSL.
HMAS Cairns and 51st Battalion Far North Qld Regiment are important partners in our area and so we maintain good relationships with them with many of their personnel members of Cairns RSL Sub Branch.
Cairns RSL Sub Branch is responsible for the commemoration of such days as ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day. Planning is underway for the exhibition of our considerable collection of memorabilia which will occur in our newly refurbished museum space in the old Kokoda Room upstairs.
This Kokoda Hall also houses exhibitions which are open to not only our members but to visitors, schools and the general public. Currently we are exhibiting a collection of prints entitled Weary Dunlop and Jack Chalker POWs – Artist in Captivity. These prints are owned by John Dunlop, son of Weary, and depict Japanese POW camp life on the infamous Thailand-Burma Death Railway. They were drawn by Jack Chalker, a UK POW using stolen paper, toilet paper or whatever he could get and some are thus small in size but as John Dunlop says “huge in impact.”
Another feature of Cairns RSL Sub Branch is the monthly Rifleman’s Lunch, held on the last Friday of each month where serving and ex serving men and women can get together over lunch to discuss common issues and indulge in some camaraderie with likeminded people. We welcome visitors to these gatherings so if you are in Cairns please join us at 12.30pm on the last Friday of each month.
In order to be as communicative as possible and to promote our activities, we have a Facebook page and have just engaged a local web designer to rebuild our website, which we hope to have operational as soon as possible.
Although the culture of the RSL has changed over the last ninety five years due primarily to the emergence of women in the services and our younger demographic, the ethos of “mates helping mates” is still strong. We at Cairns RSL Sub Branch are always looking to be proactive and to continue to be as relevant as possible to our changing member base.
If you have any inquiries or would like to see a Pensions or Welfare Officer please contact the Secretary on 4051 5254.