A quick beer at the “Bull” Allen Bar at the Ballarat RSL.

I have just returned from an overnight trip to check out the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Victoria. It’s thirsty work looking at photographic exhibitions and so naturally I dropped into the nearest pub for a quick beer or six. In this case it was The George on Lydiard Street in Ballarat, which also happens to be the home of the Ballarat Returned Services League (RSL) sub-branch. So, between beers, I snapped off these really dodgy alcohol infused and blurry pix on my iPhone.

Corporal Leslie "Bull" Allen carrying a soldier who had been knocked unconscious by a mortar round to safety during the assault on Mount Tambu in New Guinea on the 30 July 1943. Cpl Allen was awarded the American Silver Star for his action, rescuing 12 American soldiers during the battle. He had also received the Military Medal in February for his courage at Crystal Creek whilst serving with the 2/5th Infantry battalion.

Corporal Leslie “Bull” Allen carrying a soldier who had been knocked unconscious by a mortar round to safety during the assault on Mount Tambu in New Guinea on the 30 July 1943. Cpl Allen was awarded the American Silver Star for his action, rescuing 12 American soldiers during the battle. He had also received the Military Medal in February for his courage at Crystal Creek whilst serving with the 2/5th Infantry battalion.

The Returned Services League (RSL) was formed in June 1916 by Australian troops returning from World War 1. Its aims were to honour the memory of their fallen comrades, preserve the spirit of mateship formed during their service and help each other out. At the time of its formation, Australia still had a population of less than 5 million and by the end of the first world war, 324 000 Australians had volunteered and served overseas. Hardly a town was unaffected by the war and RSL sub-branches formed across the country. Requirements for entry and membership have changed over the years and members of the public can access some, such as the Ballarat sub-branch by visiting The George hotel.

"Bull" Allen bar of the Ballarat RSL

A small collection of militaria is on display in the “Bull” Allen Bar, named after a Ballarat born soldier, Corporal Leslie “Bull” Allen of the 2/5th Infantry Battalion who was awarded the Military Medal in February 1943 and then on July 30,  the US Silver Star for carrying to safety 12 American servicemen during an attack on Japanese positions at Mount Tambu during the Wau – Salamaua campaign.

Vietnam period jungle green shirt and WW1 german helmet in the " ballarat_rsl--3 ballarat_rsl--4 ballarat_rsl--5 Items belonging to VX77784, L/Sgt Geoffery Ronald Cook of the 2/ ballarat_rsl--9 ballarat_rsl--8 ballarat_rsl--10  ballarat_rsl--12 ballarat_rsl- Mess tins belonging to Items belonging belonging to POW, VX39853 Playing cards belonging to POW, VX39853 Paddy Mansfield.

Just behind the bar, in the atrium is ‘RSL walk’ which also contains showcases of Australian militaria covering several wars. It is not a vast collection but has some interesting personal artifacts and souvenirs, donated by its members and is definitely worth dropping in for a beer and a quick look.

“The George – Home of Ballarat RSL” is located at
27 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Phone: +61 (03) 5332 3300

http://www.ballarat.rslvic.com.au

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