The RSL evolved as a direct result of the camaraderie, concern and mateship shown by the “Diggers” for the welfare of their mates during and after World War 1. In 1915 at least four of the Australian States (Qld, NSW, Vic and SA) formed Returned Soldiers Associations as a gathering place for returned men.
In 1916, there were no welfare services or repatriation facilities such as we know today, so the RSL was formed to provide for the sick, wounded and needy among those who served and their dependants. The four States met in an endeavour to reach agreement regarding the formation of an Australia wide Returned Soldiers Association. Collectively, they formed the Returned Sailors & Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA).
The organisation underwent several name changes and is today known as the Returned & Services League of Australia. Dedicated to sustaining the reputable mateship and camaraderie linked to the Iconic RSL brand, the RSL remains as relevant today as in 1916.
Today, the RSL is the largest ex-service organisation in Australia with a national membership of around 200,000. Membership is the lifeblood of the League but remember – joining an RSL Club is NOT THE SAME as joining an RSL Sub Branch. In fact, in most cases in Queensland, RSL Clubs operate independently of RSL Sub Branches.
The State Headquarters of the RSL (Queensland Branch) is located at 283 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley in Brisbane. The company oversees the administration of 10 Regional District Offices, and over 250 Sub Branches representing nearly 40,000 members in Queensland.