100 years of Murchison RSL sub-branch recognised with plaque

By Liz Mellino

For the past 100 years the Murchison RSL sub-branch has endeavored to support its local community.

It was 100 years ago, in 1919, that a number of Murchison residents who had been involved in the war returned home to the relieved arms of their family members. It was also in 1919 that 15 Murchison families were left devastated after their loved ones did not return from war.

After a visit was made to Murchison that same year by an official of the Victorian RSL branch, a sub-branch was formed in the town and this branch has continued to serve an important role in the community.

These past 100 years of service to the community were recognised on Sunday when a plaque was unveiled at Murchison Community Centre, the current home of the Murchison RSL sub-branch.

Guests after the unveiling of the new plaque at the Murchison Community Centre.

Sub-branch members and locals gathered at the community centre for the official unveiling, where Murchison RSL sub-branch president Justin Appleton acknowledged it was an important day for the town.

“It is gratifying to note how the local community of Murchison supported and is still supporting the Murchison sub-branch in its endeavors,” he said.

“Today — and decades after the first and second world wars — Murchison RSL sub-branch members continue to contribute to the Murchison community. Our numbers are lower, however our will to contribute continues.”

The Murchison RSL sub-branch bought its first building from one of the old prisoner of war camps, and during the 1950s and 60s this hall became host to many diggers balls, film nights and social events.

The new stone plaque commemorating 100 years of the Murchison RSL.

Mr Appleton said the post-war activities of the sub-branch were a major part of town life, with the branch heavily involved in the employment of its members particularly with the local water board.

“During the 50s and 60s the RSL sub-branch was at its most active with as much as 95 members and an active ladies’ auxiliary,” he said.

“With funds from the sale of its own now dilapidated hall, the Murchison RSL sub-branch contributed financially to the building of the Murchison Community Centre and in return secured the use of a room as the RSL Room.”

While many past members were heavily involved in the town, Mr Appleton said one of the more recognisable members and past presidents was DP Jones, who was instrumental in bringing about the construction of the town's nursing home.

While unveiling the plaque in the Murchison RSL Garden on Sunday at the community centre, member for Euroa Steph Ryan reminded community members to continue to support the sub-branch and its work, which she described as "incredibly important".

“As a community I think it's our responsibility to ensure the RSL is supported because the role they play is significant, not just to our history but in a modern-day context as well.”