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First the Avenue, now the RSL

Bacchus Marsh RSL President Cherrison Lawton with service uniform mannequins to be on display at the Bacchus Marsh RSL centenary celebrations. Photo - Meg Kennedy

By Meg Kennedy

The Avenue of Honour recently celebrated its centenary, and now the Bacchus Marsh RSL Sub-branch will celebrate its own 100-year anniversary.

The centenary celebrations will be held on Sunday, 15 September; including a service, open day, cake-cutting ceremony, a guest speaker and award presentations by Victorian RSL President Dr Rob Webster.

The sub-branch was established in September 1919 after Lt Packington Vallence, a Bacchus Marsh local, returned to Australia after serving in World War I.

As well as the centenary of the RSL, the ceremony will also celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Bacchus Marsh Women’s Auxiliary.

Bacchus Marsh RSL President Cherrison Lawton said it was important to acknowledge both the important milestones in the RSL sub-branch’s history.

“It is [part] of the RSL; [the Women’s Auxiliary] is not a separate organisation, so we will celebrate as one because they were involved in the same work,” she said.

Historically, the Women’s Auxiliary was comprised of the partners of servicemen, and allowed a chance for women to be actively involved with the RSL.

“How they felt involved was to come and assist, be in the auxiliary and help their husbands, and for women who didn’t have any attachments, to come in and help,” said Ms Lawton.

As well as a service to commence the event, the day will also see a speech from Bacchus Marsh RSL member, Lt Col Richard Simson, who is currently serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Ms Lawton hopes the event will allow the public to have a “better understanding of the involvement of RSL in the community.”

“We hope [they understand] how vital the RSL is to support our members and returned members of the ADF; as well as the ones in transition, and those who have served or have been part of the ADF,” she said.

The RSL is also calling-out to the public for any memorabilia they may wish to be part of the display on the day.

The Bacchus Marsh RSL Sub-branch will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Sunday, 15 September, commencing with a service at 10.30am at the Bacchus Marsh RSL Hall, located at 203 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh.

For more information, and if you have memorabilia that may be appropriate for display, contact Bacchus Marsh RSL on 5367 1855.