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:
Mr Ray James OAM, RSL NSW
Mr Ron Glew OAM, Royal Australia Air Force Association (NSW)
Mr Jeff O’Brien, RSL NSW
Mr Geoffrey Usher, Royal Australia Air Force Association (NSW)
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)