Returned & Services League of Australia

City of Wollongong RSL Sub-Branch


A Short Resume of the early days of the Wollongong RSL sub-Branch

Click the Link below to view the early history of the City of Wollongong RSL sub-Branch.  Written by sub-Branch Secretary Corporal Sydney Brydon Wells, this historical document provides details of the formation of the sub-Branch in 1919 through to August 1940.  Sydney passed away not long after committing his memories to paper.

The document provides not only an an insight into life in Australia at that time and the support that was given to WW1 veterans, but also the considerable efforts taken to establish the sub-Branch and to find a “home” for meetings and support of WW1 Veterans in Wollongong.   This “home” initially had a few different locations but as you will read it eventually found its way to Church Street Wollongong and a magnificent clubhouse was built for the benefit of all members, which now proudly stands as the City Diggers Club.

Click here to view Sydney Wells History of our sub-Branch

September 10th, 1915

At the Soldiers Club in Sydney on the 10th of September 1915, Brigadier E.T. Wallack suggested to a number of Returned Soldiers that they should form an Association. The suggestion was warmly received and before the men dispersed, the Returned Soldiers Association was formed with Brigadier Wallack as its first Patron.

This Returned Soldiers Association was the foundation upon which the present Returned & Services League was built.

It is believed that Mr. Sam Dally was the first serviceman to return to Wollongong from World War 1, around Christmas 1915, and from that date onwards the Association undertook the task of arranging “welcomes” to all the servicemen upon their return.

December 2nd, 1916

One month later, on the 2nd of December 1916, elections for the forthcoming year were held and the following Office bearers were appointed:

President – Mr. J. J. Kelly

Vice-President – “Gunner” Graham

Trustees – Comrades Beatson, Figtree, Powell

February 19th, 1918

There the matter stood until the meeting of the 9th of February 1918, when Comrade Hutchison moved and Comrade Graham seconded:

“That the R.S.A. of Wollongong affiliate with the New South Wales Branch of the Returned Sailors & Soldiers Imperial League of Australia”. This was carried.

November 4th, 1916

The Federation of the various Returned Soldiers Organisations took place about September 1916, and it is interesting to note that at the meeting of the local Association held on the 4th of November 1916, the following motion was carried:

“That the Name of the Branch change from the ‘lllawarra Returned Soldiers Association’ to ‘Wollongong Branch Returned Soldiers Association’: – the elected Officers to carry on in their respective posts.”

May 30th, 1917

The first mention of the “Returned Soldiers & Sailors League” was at a meeting held on the 30th of May, 1917, with the Sub-Branch Secretary being requested to write to the R.S.A. in Sydney for further information. Later that year, at the 14th of December meeting, a motion is recorded:

Moved by Comrade Kelly

Seconded by Comrade Graham:-

“That this Association affiliate with the R.S. & S. L.”


However, an amendment by Comrade Hutchison: “That the question be held over until the By-Laws and Constitution of the R.S. & S.L. be received” was carried.

February 14th, 1919

Hence from these early meetings the present City of Wollongong Sub-Branch came into being, and the generally accepted date of its formation is the· 1st of January 1917.

However, the original Charter was not issued until the 14th of February 1919, making the City of Wollongong Sub-Branch one of the oldest continuous sub-Branch’s in NSW


Reservation: A reservation is only confirmed upon receipt of a deposit or payment in full. The deposit amount may vary based on the duration and type of bus required.

Cancellation: If the booking is cancelled less than 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time, the customer will forfeit the deposit paid. If the cancellation is made more than 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time, the deposit will be refunded minus a cancellation fee.

Payment: Payment can be made via credit card, bank transfer or cheque. Payment in full is required at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time.

Changes: Any changes to the reservation must be made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. Changes made after this time may incur additional charges.

RSL Sub-Branch Members: If the customer is a member of an RSL Sub-Branch, there will be no fee payable for hiring the bus. Proof of membership may be required to waive the fee.

Driver’s Hours: The driver’s hours are regulated by law and cannot be exceeded. The itinerary must be planned with these regulations in mind. Additional driver/s may be required for longer journeys, and this will be charged accordingly.

Responsibility: The customer is responsible for any damage to the vehicle caused by their negligence or the negligence of their guests. The customer is also responsible for the behaviour of their guests and will be liable for any damage caused by them.

Cleaning: The customer is responsible for the cleanliness of the vehicle at the end of the trip.

Additional cleaning charges may apply if the vehicle is returned in a dirty condition.

Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and the consumption of alcohol are not permitted on the bus.

Limitations: The vehicle hired is subject to certain limitations regarding weight, height, and length. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is suitable for their requirements.

Insurance: The vehicle is covered by comprehensive insurance. However, personal belongings are not covered by the insurance policy.

Insurance Excess: The vehicle is covered by comprehensive insurance, which includes an excess fee in the event of an accident. If the driver is at fault in an accident, they will be responsible for paying the excess fee. The excess fee may vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. The customer may be required to pay an additional fee to cover any damages that exceed the insurance excess.

Termination of Hire: The sub-Branch reserves the right to terminate the hire if the customer or their guests behave in a manner that is deemed to be unacceptable or dangerous.

Force Majeure: The sub-Branch is not liable for any failure or delay in performing its obligations due to events beyond its control, including but not limited to acts of God, natural disasters, war, strikes, and government actions.

Jurisdiction: These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction where the company is located.