The Formation of the RSL


2016 was the centenary of the formation of the Returned

and Services League.


The RSL was formed in June 1916 by troops returning from

WWI with the purpose of preserving the spirit of mateship

formed amidst the carnage and horror of battle, to honour

the memory of the fallen and to help each other whenever



The underlying philosophy of the League is mateship and this is as true now as it was in 1916.

In 1916, there was no formal government welfare service for veterans and the RSL committed itself to provide for the sick, wounded and needy among those that had served including their dependants.


The RSL was instrumental in creating:

- A Commonwealth repatriation system

- Service, disability and war widows pensions

- Various employment and retraining programs

- Child health programs

- Vocational guidance services.


In effect, the RSL was the first national welfare agency in Australia and welfare remains our prime function today.