100 years of service: Geebung-Zillmere-Bald Hills and Aspley RSL Sub Branch celebrates centenary01 November 2023
This October marks a key milestone for the Geebung-Zillmere-Bald Hills and Aspley RSL Sub Branch, as it proudly celebrates its centennial anniversary of supporting veterans and their families.
Geebung-Zillmere-Bald Hills and Aspley RSL Sub Branch President Harry Boxsell said the monumental anniversary had provided an opportunity to reflect on a journey of rich history and exceptional growth.
“It’s a special milestone to reach, I can’t help but think of all the dedicated individuals who came before us and all the work they have done; we wouldn’t be here without them,” Mr Boxsell said.
Geebung-Zillmere-Bald Hills and Aspley RSL Sub Branch President Harry Boxsell and Mrs Mickey Bartkowski OAM
“I also want to acknowledge the outstanding team of volunteers we currently have and their devoted efforts assisting veterans.”
From humble beginnings, Mr Boxsell said the Sub Branch’s roots began in the Geebung Memorial Hall in 1923. Known as ‘The Hole in the Wall’ or ‘The Green Shed’, this small space began as a memorial for those who served in the First World War and quickly grew to serve various needs of veterans.
In 1945, the Sub Branch also welcomed the Women’s Auxillary charity, which continues to provide welfare support to Sub Branch members today.
Remaining in the Memorial Hall until its relocation to the Geebung Zillmere RSL Services Memorial Club in 1983, the office has undergone multiple renovations and refurbishments over the years to accommodate its growing membership, which currently sits at more than 250 members.
Their service offerings range from providing wellbeing checks, mobility and transportation assistance, as well as social activities. Additionally, they link veterans with government and community support agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Today, we take great pride in being able to offer three teams of volunteers dedicated to assisting veterans in support, advocacy, and welfare delivery,” Mr Boxsell explained.
“We are looking at implementing a new welfare office exclusively for veterans, separate to the Sub Branch office. This iniatiave aims to provide a welcoming enviroment for veterans to access these services,” Mr Boxsell said.
In addition to supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families, the Sub Branch continues to prioritisie community engamgment and collaboration with local schools through commerations. As Remembrance Day approaches, the Sub Branch will sell poppies at local shopping centres and hold a service at their Memorial Wall monument on Saturday 11 November.
(L-R) Merv Brown OAM District President Brisbane North, Geebung-Zillmere-Bald Hills and Aspley RSL Sub Branch President Harry Boxsell, Wendy Taylor State Deputy President. Harry receives a Lifetime Member Certificate.
Looking ahead, Mr Boxsell said there are plans to expand their memorial space, with hopes to eventually introduce a remembrance garden honouring the service and sacrfice of ex-service personel.
“While we celebrate our achievements and future plans, we also have a number of key priorities for the Sub Branch. One of our primary objectives is encouraging younger veterans to become members,” Mr Boxsell explained.
“We believe it’s essential to offer initiatives and engaging commemorative activities that resonate with all generations, as our members are what drives our Sub Branch.”
To mark this significant anniversary, the Sub Branch hosted a Gala Dinner on Friday 13 October 13, attended by 140 veterans, their families and esteemed guests including RSL Queensland Deputy President Wendy Taylor, RSL Brisbane North District President Merv Brown, local MPs and councillors.