Castlemaine RSL future in doubt

Castlemaine RSL secretary Barb Templar encourages local ex-servicemen and women and emergency service personnel to join their ranks.

The future of the Castlemaine RSL Sub-branch will be in doubt if the local group cannot attract new members to boost its dwindling numbers.

Sub-branch president John Whiddon, secretary Barb Templar and treasurer Alan Lane said the group had taken a hit since covid with many members still reluctant to attend meetings and gatherings.

“With some members having passed on, some getting too frail to attend and others dropping away due to other commitments, we are seriously concerned about the future of the organisation,” Mr Whiddon said.

Treasurer Alan Lane said they had about 70 members on the books but now they were down to about 30.

“Many are not actively able to join rosters and offer support to our Legacy Laurel ladies and older ex-service members,” he said.

“At present there is a danger that in the not-too-distant future this vital part of the community will cease to exist due to the lack of new members coming forward.

“Most of our current members are Vietnam and Korean veterans and they are now finding it difficult to fulfil the duties required to ensure the running of the Sub-branch and supporting former veterans, widows and their families.”

RSL secretary Barb Templar said they would love to see a new generation of ex-service men and women and local emergency services personnel boost their numbers and continue the legacy into a bright future.

“Our oldest member is RAAF ex-service woman Maisie Douglas and our youngest is in their 60s. We’d love to welcome some younger members,” she said.

“Many people may not be aware that the RSL was renamed the Returned and Services League in 1990 and opened up to welcome members of Australian emergency services.

“We’d love to invite ex-service personnel from Iraq, Afghanistan and more recent peacekeeping missions, past and present Army Reserve members, and also members of our local emergency services – police, CFA, SES and ambulance – to consider joining our ranks.

“Enthusiastic new members are most welcome and vital to ensure the Sub-branch can continue to thrive, preserve the history of service of our past generations and support our veterans, widows and their families moving forward into the future.

“We’d also love to welcome more local women to bolster our ladies auxiliary.”

The trio said a strong membership base was not only important for the day-to-day running the Sub-branch but also to assist with their badge/poppy fundraising initiatives for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, which raise vital funds to support their welfare initiatives.

“Unlike many ‘RSL Clubs’ we don’t have a hotel/pokies venue to bring in revenue so our badge fundraisers are vital to keep the doors open and the programs ticking along,” Barb said.

If you would like more information about joining the local Sub-branch, call in and speak to the friendly team at the Memorial Hall at 36 Mostyn Street alongside Victory Park, call 5472 1208 or email