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As early as 1915, returned soldiers formed associations to look after themselves and dependants in relation to pensions and rehabilitation. Delegates from these associations met in Melbourne on 6 June 1916 and formed the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) which NSW joined in March 1917.

At a meeting in Wagga Wagga in December 1917 the Riverina Returned Soldiers Association (RRSA) was formed to protect the interests of returned soldiers and provide a place for them to meet and relax. The RRSA became a sub-branch of the RSSILA on 16 December 1918 and by the end of 1919 had 78 members. The sub- branch took over the organisation of ANZAC Day in 1920, and still does this today. Also in the 1920’s it began selling red poppies for Armistice Day to raise funds for disabled soldiers and other causes. At the outbreak of World War 2 the RSSILA became the RSSAILA with the addition of the “A” for airmen. By the end of WW2 this was being abbreviated to the “RSL”. Membership of the sub-branch reached a peak of 950 members in 1946, and currently (2014) stands at approximately 400.

The sub-branch continues to carry out the work started by those returned soldiers in 1915 by assisting with the welfare and pension entitlements of everyone who has served in our armed forces.

(Information sourced, with thanks, from – A History of the Wagga Wagga Sub-Branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia – by Sherry Morris and Harold Fife)