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.
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.
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.
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