Yarraman RSL Sub Branch undergoing growth and change for rural veterans

31 May 2024
  • Veteran stories

With a presence that has spanned more than a century, Yarraman RSL Sub Branch is passionate about enhancing the Sub Branch’s capacity to serve veterans and the community.

Yarraman RSL Sub Branch President Warwick O’Neill says their larger headquarters and the relocation of the community’s key monument are necessary and significant for the organisation and will help serve the Sub Branch’s growing membership. 

“We have made the move from a single room in Yarraman’s Memorial Hall to a more expansive and accessible space in the community,” Warwick says. 


“It has been great to see that our membership has grown from just a handful of people to more than 50 members over the past year, and we’re committed to growing our membership even further.” 

The Sub Branch provides modern amenities, including a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious shed that has been transformed into an entertainment and socialising space. 

The move had been in the works for several years and Warwick assisted in bringing the new space to its final stages after assuming the role of President in March 2023. The 50-year-old veteran, who served as an Army apprentice mechanic from 1991 to 1996, is motivated to support veterans of all ages. 

“I want all our local veterans to know that we are here for them. It’s a safe and welcoming place, whether it be for welfare, rehabilitation or camaraderie,” Warwick says. 

The Sub Branch’s sights are also set on relocating the local cenotaph, with the hopes to have the move completed by ANZAC Day 2025. 

Yarraman RSL Sub Branch

Yarraman RSL Sub Branch

“It will give the community somewhere nice to come together and reflect that’s away from the noise and traffic of D’Aguilar Highway, where the cenotaph was originally located,” he says. 

“Typically, we have 150 to 200 people attend our ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services, so it’s important for us to have a memorial space that accommodates the crowd of people.” 

The project includes relocating the cenotaph itself, as well as the addition of a garden, public seating and commemorative plaques. 

“Through both of these initiatives, our focus is to evolve how we support veterans and their families, while also taking the opportunity to attract younger veterans to the Sub Branch,” Warwick says. 

“In addition, we hope to build connections with neighbouring Sub Branches to collaborate and foster a larger veteran community in the region.” 

Former Yarraman RSL Sub Branch President Bernie Rushby says it has been great having a younger president to ensure the Sub Branch continues to develop and advance into the future.   

Yarraman RSL Sub Branch

Bernie Rushby - Vice President of the Yarraman RSL Sub Branch and Warwick O'Neil - President of the Yarraman RSL Sub Branch

“Having a younger president leading things allows the Sub Branch to introduce new ideas we may have otherwise not thought of. For example, we now have a Facebook page and have incorporated amenities at our Sub Branch that will attract younger vets,” Bernie says.  

“It’s also important to share stories and spend time with veterans from all generations, because we want the legacy of Australia’s war history to be shared for generations to come.”