Redbank bands together post-flood

21 May 2024
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The 2022 flood was one of the worst in Queensland’s history, but it brought out the best of Redbank’s veteran community through care and camaraderie.

About Redbank RSL Sub Branch 

Redbank is located about 22km south-west of Brisbane and known primarily for its industrial manufacturing and meat works. It is also home to the 38-member Redbank RSL Sub Branch, headed by President Paul ‘Bear’ Sinclair. 

“Most people see Redbank as a little spot in between Goodna and Ipswich on the highway. The area has a rich history though; there were rail workshops here for many years and before that, brickworks,” Bear explains. 

Redbank RSL Sub Branch President Paul ‘Bear’ Sinclair

Redbank RSL Sub Branch President Paul ‘Bear’ Sinclair

Located near RAAF Base Amberley and Greenbank Military Range, Redbank is heavily Air Force and Army populated. However, Bear is proud to bring a unique perspective to his Sub Branch. 

“I’m the first Naval President that Redbank RSL Sub Branch has ever had. I joined the Navy in 1981 as a HMAS Nirimba apprentice. I had a typical run through the service and enjoyed my time,” he says. 

“As Redbank’s RSL Sub Branch President, I head the committee and I get to help out and look after people. There are veterans around here doing it hard, so we help them where we can and refer them to what needs doing,” he adds. 

Redbank RSL Sub Branch helps transport veterans to appointments and visits with friends, makes donations to local schools and emergency services, and raises awareness for military commemorations. The Sub Branch has also helped veterans through one of Queensland’s worst natural disasters. 

Disaster strikes 

In February 2022, South East Queensland faced one of its worst flooding disasters on record. Several days of heavy, unrelenting rain led to the inundation of more than 20,000 homes. Among those displaced were Bear and several other members of his Sub Branch. 

“We were operating under the assumption that the floods were not going to be any worse than in 2013, but we got 890mm of rain in one night. The creek came up through our back door,” Bear recalls. 

Redbank flooding

The “astronomical” cost of home and contents insurance in the area meant that some locals lost everything in the flood. Left with nothing but bare walls, Bear was faced with a challenge that many veterans decline: accepting help. 

“The veteran population don’t want to take any help because it’s not the way we are. It’s a military personnel thing – don’t ask for help; get up and fix it yourself. They’d rather see help go to someone else who needs it more, and I’m a victim of that too,” Bear explains. 

However, it was the care and camaraderie that Bear gave to and received from his fellow veterans that got him through this unimaginably difficult time. 

Hang on, help is on the way 

After floodwaters receded, Redbank’s veteran community sprang into action. They cleaned up properties, helped with temporary accommodation and provided much-needed emotional support. 

“The Redbank RSL Sub Branch and Moreton RSL District dropped in to help us straight away. The crews were helping every house on the street,” Bear recalls. 

Redbank flood damage

Moreton RSL District applied to replace all of Bear’s major household goods. Bear’s fellow RSL Sub Branch members also offered help with a rental room and storage for his belongings. 

“I still believe that there were people out there that needed it more than me, but I am incredibly grateful for it,” he says. 

During the clean-up, Bear worked to help other veterans too.  

“I took time off and spent it helping a bloke whose house was damaged. The camaraderie and talking to people helped me. You don’t realise it, but by helping other people, you’re helping yourself,” he says. 

Not long after the floods, Bear was elected President of his Sub Branch for the first time. The help he received in the aftermath of the flood inspires the work he does with other veterans today. 

“You’ve got to be creative about how you get veterans to realise they need to ask for help and try to identify different pathways for them,” he says.  

“It’s all about raising awareness and helping people.”  


National Volunteer Week shines a light on the ways volunteering brings us all together, builds community and achieves vital work across Australia. Find your local RSL Sub Branch and become a member of RSL Queensland, or learn about other volunteering opportunities at