A group of people sitting in chairs on a field.

Our History

In early 1916
Veterans formed the 11th Battalion Association to unite against post-service mistreatment in Australia.

Our history is one of service

Our legacy is steeped in a commitment to service. In the early months of 1916, disgruntled veterans formed the 11th Battalion Association, uniting returning soldiers who had faced mistreatment upon returning to Australia. Simultaneously, interstate organisations grappled with similar issues, leading to a pivotal meeting in Sydney where the ‘Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia’ emerged in May 1916.

Here, in Western Australia, the association broadened its scope to encompass all members of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, made up of 1st and 3rd Battalions, transforming into the ‘Returned Soldiers’ Association’ May 27th 1916. The inaugural president was elected in May 1916, and the ‘Soldiers Welcome Institute’ became the League’s first permanent home in Western Australia.

The History of a Name

Although Western Australia representatives were unable to attend the national meeting in Melbourne, the state’s branch of ‘Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia’ was officially chartered on April 25th, 1917, with the WA representative participating in a national RSSILA conference in August 1917.

In November 1940, ‘Airmen’s’ was added to the name, evolving it into the ‘Returned Sailor’s, Soldier’s and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia’ (RSSAILA). Eventually, in October 1965, the collective decision was made to simplify the name to the ‘Returned Services League of Australia’. The last change occurred in September 1990, acknowledging current serving members, resulting in the birth of ‘Returned & Services League of Australia’

Notably, WA’s branch, previously known as ‘The Returned & Services League of Australia WA Brand Incorporated (RSLWA), holds a seat on the RSL National Board.


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