The Woodend RSL’s mission is to support the well-being and betterment of our members, (serving and ex-serving men and women of the Defence Forces), and their dependents, with the provision of welfare and commemorative services and, where appropriate, contribute to worthy needs within the broader community.
Hours: Clubrooms open Thursdays & Fridays at 5PM
Welfare enquiries phone Welfare Officer on 0428 989 077
Pension enquiries phone Kyneton RSL on 5422 6735 (Tuesdays)
President - John McCausland
Immediate Past President - Ken Bryce
Senior Vice President – Reg Till
Vice President – Alan Mitchell-Lappin
Secretary – Howard Burvill
Treasurer - Chris Latcham
Assistant Treasurer – Tony Fusco
Welfare Officer & Memberships - Barry Meldrum
Appeals Officer - Amy Meldrum
Venue Officer - Matthew Sanderson
The Avenue of Honour
In 1914 war was declared in Europe and many local men and women enlisted to serve the British Empire of which Australia was a part. They fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Many were wounded and over seventy died either in battle or from injuries received. The community was deeply affected by the service of their members and their losses.
Near the end of the war they decided to plant this Avenue of Honour with each tree being dedicated with a plaque for an individual. Not all local servicemen and women were allocated a tree. On the 14th of September 1918, the community participated in a “Grand Opening Celebration”.
The Wall of Remembrance
The Avenue of Honour extends for 2.4km and includes some 230 English and Algerian Oaks. Most of the original plaques have been lost, however, the names are now preserved on this wall with their tree numbers.
* Designates Killed in Action. E = East Side and W = West Side.
This Wall of Remembrance was created in 2015 by the Woodend RSL Sub-branch assisted by Woodend and District Heritage Society and Macedon Ranges Shire Council. The project has been made possible with the support of the Victorian Government’s Avenues of Honour Grants Program, the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program, Macedon Ranges Shire Council and many local organisations and community members. The accompanying Sculpture “From Here to Eternity” has been donated by local artists Ashika and Padma.
The Memorial Clocktower
This clock tower was built as a memorial to the local men and women who served in World War I.
It was constructed in 1927 and was funded by the community. It was designed by architect Harold Trigg and built by Chadwick Peeler and dedicated in 1928. The total cost was £687.
It is described as a neo-Baroque style, tapered cement-clad, clock tower set on a square plan and topped with a small metal-clad dome placed on an octagonal drum. The ground-level openings are set on a podium, with attached mouldings, and the main opening is surmounted with a pediment. The semicircular balconettes underscore the Baroque inspiration. The tower is 9m tall with a 4.4m flag pole on top. Each of the 4 clock dials are 1.2m in diameter and are driven by a Simplex master clock with a slave assembly located in the centre of the dials.
Plaques record the names of the men and women who served in the Boer War, WW1 and WW2.
The clock tower is used annually during ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies when wreaths are laid at the base and the flag is lowered on the dome. The memorial and its plaques have been restored several times, most recently in 2017 with the support of the Victorian Government’s Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenue of Honour Grants Program. Restoration works were conducted by Woodend RSL Sub-branch and Woodend Rotary.
The clock tower is maintained by Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
A BRIEF HISTORY
1918 - The Woodend R.S.S.A.I.L.A was born when Reg Pollard was invalided back to Woodend from The Great War and teamed up with other returned men to form the Committee. They welcomed others home,
visited the hospitalised, found jobs for their mates and provided welfare to the widows and orphans. Funds were raised with Old Time Balls, dances, Christmas Parties, picnics for diggers' children at Hanging Rock, cricket matches, raffles, euchre parties, and donations.
1922 – After a decline in membership between the wars the RSL was revived and meetings were held at the Mechanics Institute and later at the Woodend Race Course where an Army Camp was established. Funds
were raised for renovations to the Memorial Clock Tower. Each year the RSL attended the Dawn Service at the Memorial Cross, Mt Macedon.
1939 – The Bushfire Appeal was given relief, the Red Cross became active, also the Emergency Service Army Reserve Comforts Fund was formed and a canteen was staffed by ex-A.I.F members.
A public meeting was held to raise funds with the aim of building a Memorial Hall. After a generous donation from Mr Keating, the site was chosen and two Nissen huts were purchased.
1940 - An old Army ambulance was purchased and staffed by volunteers. Visits were made to hospitals and donations of wood were given to needy. A wireless set was purchased for soldiers in the camp and a donation made to London Bombing Appeal.
1943 - The Ladies Auxiliary and Social club were both formed and worked tirelessly to raise funds for the RSL. and Volunteer Defence Corps, selling War Savings Bonds, Austerity Loan Bonds, and supporting Red Cross and the Comforts Fund.
1947 - The Nissen huts were installed and the Auxiliary raised funds to furnish building. The Woodend RSL Sub-branch was formally registered.
1949 - The Woodend Diggers Race Club was formed and donations came in regularly to the Building Fund.
1955 - The Memorial Hall was officially opened.
1958 – Plans were made to add an annex to the Nissen huts. The building was now being used by Youth Club, Scouts, Play centre, and the Blind institute so it was necessary to build a kitchen. Races at Hanging Rock saw the RSL conducting a spinning wheel to raise funds.
1967 - The Tasmanian Bush Fire Relief Fund was well supported with donations. A Guard of Honour for Sir Rohan Delacombe's visit to the Memorial Cross was organised.
1970 - A slump in membership prompted discussion on closing Hall however members rallied. An Anti- Aircraft Bofors gun from Bandiana was obtained.
1974 - Bricks were laid covering the Nissen huts. An Honour Roll was prepared for local volunteers from 1939-45.
1983 - Ash Wednesday fires Relief Appeal started and extensive works undertaken at the hall.
1986 - Bingo night held for Lions Club. Meals on Wheels using kitchen five days a week also catering for Council meetings.
1991 - Application approved for a Licensed Club.
1992 - War Graves Plaque at Woodend Cemetery approved.
1994 - The social club disbanded and members incorporated into the Womens' Auxiliary who formed the Black Forest Day Club bringing together the lonely, disadvantaged, and isolated in the community.
2008 - The roof of the clubrooms was found to be faulty and an inspection confirmed the problems and the hall was declared unsafe and was closed. Other venues were used for meetings and functions. A vote was taken and it was agreed to restore the building. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs contributed and fund-raising commenced with the Women's Auxiliary playing a prominent part in this.
2009 - Restoration works were completed and the clubhouse reopened.
2010 - Facilities including the kitchen and toilets were refurbished and the bar renovated.