Wagin RSL up for the fight

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Wagin RSL president Ros Brooks outside the Wagin Community Centre used for club rooms.
Camera IconWagin RSL president Ros Brooks outside the Wagin Community Centre used for club rooms. Credit: Kellie Balaam

Wagin RSL’s membership numbers are on the decline, sparking fears the 102-year-old sub-branch will close its doors.

Recently appointed Wagin RSL president Ros Brooks said the club had 28 members of which only 15 were active. Members were searching for younger comrades with fresh ideas.

“We’ve put posters around the town and we try and encourage people to come to the events on Remembrance and Anzac Day but we are mostly trying to get people in by word of mouth,” she said.

“We’re having a street carnival in a couple of weeks so we’ll have a stall there with a raffle.

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“Hopefully we can get people to buy raffle tickets and we can tell them about the club.”

Mrs Brooks said she knew there were ex-servicemen and women in Wagin who served after the Vietnam War.

She was aiming to attract them to keep the sub-branch going.

Ros Brooks with member and husband Bob Boyd.
Camera IconRos Brooks with member and husband Bob Boyd. Credit: Kellie Balaam

“I think the town supports us very well, but I just think with younger people — they’re not so aware,” she said.

“In our age group, we’ve all got some relative who’s been involved in some conflict but there was that trouble after Vietnam when everyone turned against the soldiers.

“I think that put a lot of people off and that’s where the gap of people not signing up has started.”

Despite speculation the sub-branch would shut down, Mrs Brooks said she did not think that was imminent.

“However, it is hard to get members,” she said.

“People don’t volunteer as much as they used to but I have spoken to a few people and we now have two new members, so that’s encouraging.

“We usually get a good turnout for Remembrance Day but this year it was very poor.”

Mrs Brooks said a key misconception about the RSL was that members sat around and talked about war all the time.

“We’ve obviously all been in the services so we do talk about that, but we have quizzes and other fun things too,” she said.

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