Association of Returned Sailors and Soldiers Clubs
(now The Australian Legion of Ex-Service Clubs)
The association was formed on 31st July, 1919 with the following objectives – entertainment of the large number of veterans in hospital, hospital visitations, the supply of ‘Christmas Cheer’ (including a chicken, something special in those days, and a Christmas pudding), and the provision of clothing to the dependents of those who had served.
In January, 1929, the association changed its name to ‘The Australian Legion of Ex-Service Clubs’.
There were many veterans in hospitals visited included Callen Park, Graithwaite, Lady Davidson, Lidcombe State Hospital, Malahide Home and Waterfall Sanatorium. In 1925, the association established a Hospital Entertainment Fund which enabled presents to be given to all patients at Christmas time.
The post-war and the ‘Depression’ years were hard times; employment was difficult to find and in 1931, the government reduced war pensions. As a result, the help given with food and clothing was far more significant than might currently be imagined.
It was an incident at the Cenotaph involving members of the Legion of Ex-Service Clubs that gave birth to the Sydney Anzac Day Dawn Service on Anzac Day 1927.
To ensure the continuance of the tradition, the Australian Legion of Ex-Service Clubs, whose representatives were aging, obtained the assistance of National Servicemen's Association NSW Branch, and in 2000, formed a new body The Anzac Day Dawn Service Trust Inc.
The following Clubs and Associations comprise the make-up of the Anzac Day Dawn Service Trust Inc.:
- CABRA-VALE EX-ACTIVE SERVICEMEN'S MEMORIAL CLUB
- EARLWOOD EX-SERVICEMEN'S CLUB
- LAKEMBA SERVICES CLUB
- MERCHANT NAVY ASSOCIATION
- NATIONAL SERVICEMEN'S ASSOCIATION NSW BRANCH
- RAAF ASSOCIATION NSW DIVISION INC
- RETURNED AND SERVICES LEAGUE OF AUSTRALIA - N.S.W BRANCH
- ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE OF NSW INC.