The Penrith RSL Sub-Branch aims to look after the needs of current and ex-service personnel and their families.
A Long History in Our Community
At a public meeting in Penrith on the 21st April 1916, it was decided to hold a united religious commemoration service on 25th April in the Nepean Picture Theatre, High Street. In October 1918, a committee was formed to raise funds for furnishing club rooms for the use of returned soldiers.
Following on from the de-mobilisation march held in Penrith 1919, a group of Penrith returned servicemen planned a committee to assist other returned servicemen who may have needed welfare support due to sickness or war injuries. The first name used for the organisation was the “Penrith Soldiers Club”.
They met in a loaned building in High Street close to where now is Memory Park. Later in the 1920’s the name was changed to the “Penrith Returned Soldiers Club”. Their agenda was to conduct Commemorative Services for Armistice Day (now known as Remembrance Day) and Anzac Day services.
The club was awarded its first Charter in 1920 as members of the Penrith Soldiers Club of the RSSILA. It was re-issued on 16th September 1970 and again on 13th June 1987.
Like many other RSL’s in Australia, the organisation had a number of name changes over time and in 1940 the name of the League was changed to the “Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia” (RSSAILA). At this time Penrith was made a Sub-Branch of RSSAILA.
For many years, the sub-Branch operated from a number of premises in Penrith prior to purchasing property in Lethbridge Street. This led to the opening of the RSL Club Ltd In 1960.
In 1965, the name of RSSAILA was once again changed, this time to the familiar “Returned Services League of Australia” (RSL).
In 2000, the “City of Penrith RSL Sub-Branch” sold the property (bricks, mortar and land) to the current Penrith RSL Club Ltd, and as a safe guard a “Deed of Agreement” was put in place to provide for the provision of accommodation services and recognising existing obligations.
The Sub-Branch office currently operates from the RSL Club Ltd premises.
Mick McConnell, JP
24th July 2019
A brief history of Memory Park War Memorial
One of the first projects that the members of the Penrith RSSILA were involved with was the development of a War Memorial in Penrith (Memory Park), and plaques honouring those that served in WWI. The first dedication was by His Excellency, Sir. Walter Davison KCMG in July 1922.
In 1989, Memory Park Memorial was re-developed to include the names of deceased Penrith servicemen from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. This was dedicated by His Excellency, Rear Admiral Sir. David Martin KCMG, AO.
During 1995, an additional commemorative service was conducted to recognise the 50th anniversary of the ending of WWII. This extra service led to an increase in participation at subsequent commemorative services, making it necessary to redevelop the Memory Park Memorial once again. During this year, the Sub-Branch also planted a number of Canadian Redwood Pines at Tench Reserve, with a plaque to memorialise this important anniversary.
In 2004 the Sub-Branch raised a committee to oversee the redevelopment of the Memory Park Memorial. The new Memorial was designed and built by local sculptor Terrence Plowright. The work commenced in early 2007, and was completed in late 2008. The dedication of the redeveloped War Memorial was by Her Excellency, Prof. Marie Bashier AO, CVO.
Penrith City Council completed the landscaping of Memory Park in 2013, and the Memorial was re-dedicated by Her Excellency, Prof. Marie Bashier AO, CVO, to include the dedication of a Korean War Plaque.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Factsheets. http://factsheets.dva.gov.au/