About Us

Ben Robert Smith
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.

Executive committee of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service Trust:

President: Mr Ray James OAM, RSL NSW
Vice President: Mr Ron Glew OAM, Royal Australia Air Force Association (NSW)
Secretary: Mr Jeff O’Brien, RSL NSW
Treasurer: Mr Geoffrey Usher, Royal Australia Air Force Association (NSW)
Convenor: Mr Darren Mitchell, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (NSW)

Members of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service Trust:

  • Australian Intelligence Corps Association (NSW)
  • Cabra-Vale Ex-Active Servicemen’s Memorial Club
  • Harbord Diggers
  • Lakemba Services Club
  • Merchant Navy RSL sub-Branch
  • National Servicemen’s Association (NSW)
  • Royal Australian Air Force Association (NSW)
  • Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps Association (NSW & ACT)
  • Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (NSW)
  • The Returned and Services League of Australia (NSW Branch)


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The Anzac Day Dawn Service Trust Inc. © 2011 Website updates by Quikclicks