The RSL was formed in June 1916 by troops returning from WWI. Its aims were simple: to preserve the spirit of mateship formed amidst the carnage and horror of battle; to honour the memory of the fallen; and to help each other. The underlying philosophy of the League is mateship and this is as true now as when the League was first formed.
In 1916 there were no welfare services such as we know today. The League committed itself to provide for the sick, wounded and needy among those who have served and their dependants including pensions, medical attention, homes and suitable employment. As a result, the RSL was instrumental in the creation of the medical repatriation system and the introduction of service, disability and war widow’s pensions.
In effect, the RSL was the first national welfare agency in Australia and continues to maintain welfare as its primary Object, and provides a network of welfare and pensions officers to assist veterans and their dependants with a range of support services including assistance with DVA and MRCS pensions.
Originally known as the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, or RSSILA, the League changed its name to the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airman's Imperial League of Australia, or RSSAILA, in 1940.
In 1965, the name was again changed to the Returned Services League of Australia, and in 1990, to the Returned and Services League of Australia. The last name change reflects the fact that membership of the RSL is now open to all ex-service men and women who have not been on active service.
In Tasmania the League remains strong and there are 52 Sub Branches.
In Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, Affiliate Membership of the RSL is available to the relatives and friends of service men and women.
“To support the well being and betterment of our members, former and serving members of the ADF, and their dependants, with the provision of welfare and commemorative services and, where appropriate, contribute to the worthy needs within the community.”
Welfare of war veterans, serving members of the ADF, ex-servicemen and women and their dependants;
Advocacy and Representation;
Accepts as a result of its charter, a moral obligation to help all veterans, serving members of the ADF, and ex-service members regardless of whether they are members of the League or not;
Commemoration and Remembrance;
Participates in Employment Programs for veterans, ex-service members and their dependants;
Committed to democratic principles and practices;
Provides a means for members to enjoy camaraderie, fellowship and mateship;
Provides effective and efficient management of RSL assets and resources for the benefit of it’s members, Serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), veterans and the ex-service community;
Acts as an effective lobby group by monitoring relevant Government Departments and policies;
Provides moral and active support for the ADF;
Active within the community and Australian Society;
Practices and endeavours to instill in the Australian people the patriotic, loyalty and pride which the League has for the Nation, it’s people, the Crown and the Flag.
PO Box 328 Cole Street
Sorell, Tasmania 7172