By Helen Tatchell
Snow, rain and cold temperatures did not stop people attending the Ballan RSL rooms to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the organisation on Saturday 10 August.
President Rick Campey said over 416,000 men and women had enlisted for service overseas in WWI, 331,000 actually left Australia, approximately 60,000 were killed, 82,000 wounded in battle, and a further 88,000 suffered a variety of illnesses and injuries.
“By December 1918, 104,000 Australian soldiers had returned as invalids,” he said.
Mr Campey said the War also took a hard toll on the Ballan District
“With 810 men and women from the region going off to the war, unfortunately, 187 were killed and 345 suffered physical injuries, the mental toll of course is unknown. Many of the men and women however didn’t return to the district after the war.”
Distinguished guests at the event included Mr Des Callaghan RSL Victoria State Vice President, Catherine King, Federal Member for Ballarat, Beverley McArther MP Member for Western Victoria Region, Moorabool Shire Council Mayor Cr Paul Tatchell, Derek Madden MSC CEO and Cr John Keogh.
But the cutting of the anniversary cake was a highlight for two Ballan RSL members; Mrs Joan Parslow, the daughter of Ballan RSL’s very first President (1919) – Bert Chambers and Mr Peter Poole, World War II Veteran and once a member of Z-Special unit.
The two-nonagenarian’s cut the cake with a 303-bayonet to joyous applause.
The 96-year old Mrs Parslow said she was “glad and very honoured to be here and to cut the cake.”
Mr Poole, 95 now lives in Echuca and enjoyed the day very much.
“I am very glad to be here cutting the cake. I was surprised and very honoured to be asked to do it,” he said.
“And I will be 96-years old in January.”
The Ballan RSL now boasts just under 90-members and is located at 146 Inglis St Ballan and open on the 1st and 2nd Saturday of every month from 11am-2pm. Interested in becoming a member? Phone – 0407 870 013 for further information.