The Returned and Services League of Australia (New South Wales Branch) (RSL NSW) is a member-based veterans’ charity founded in 1916, and the largest veterans’ charity in Australia.

It is a statutory corporation incorporated under the RSL NSW Act 2018 (the Act).

Our Mission

RSL NSW’s mission is to respect, support and remember our veterans and their families. This mission is delivered through a number of bodies, including:

  • RSL DefenceCare, responsible for direct welfare to veterans and their family members in need, including assistance with compensation/rehabilitation claims and appeals, and counselling and crisis support;
  • RSL LifeCare, providing aged care and retirement services to veterans and their families;
  • Australian Forces Overseas Fund (AFOF), offering services to currently serving Defence personnel overseas; and
  • the RSL NSW network of sub-Branches, housing local services and welcoming spaces in nearly 350 small towns and suburbs right across New South Wales.

RSL NSW is a charity registered with and regulated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).



RSL NSW is committed to strong and ethical governance in accordance with best practice standards. Read more about RSL NSW governance or find out more about our Board of Directors.



Any person who has been a member of the Australian Defence Force for at least six months (unless discharged earlier for reasons outside their control), or who served with or supported the armed forces of an allied or Commonwealth country, may be admitted as a Service Member of RSL NSW. Any non-veteran may join the League as an Affiliate Member at sub-Branches that accept this category of membership.

Eligible individuals generally join a sub-Branch. There are currently nearly 350 sub-Branches across the state, organised into 23 District Councils. Most sub-Branches represent a geographic area, but a few represent a particular occupation or branch of the armed forces. Find out more about becoming a member of RSL NSW.

RSL NSW currently has approximately 35,000 members across membership categories which includes both Service and Affiliate members. Membership and eligibility are covered by clauses 3  and 4 of the constitution.


Contact RSL NSW

Telephone: (02) 9264 8188

Email: support@rslnsw.org.au or contact us via the enquiry form.

The State Office is located at:
Level 5, 341 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Alternatively, you can find your local sub-Branch.

Key Activities

RSL NSW run the major commemorative services in the Sydney CBD each ANZAC Day, including the march. It is represented on the trust of the dawn service, on which RSL NSW holds two positions, one held by the State Secretary and the other a board position.

Each year, RSL NSW runs a commemoration service at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park following the Anzac Day march. There is an additional sunset service at the Cenotaph.

The RSL NSW State Secretary is the custodian of the Cenotaph in Martin Place and the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

Each sub-Branch also runs its own calendar of commemorative events in its local area.

Claims and Advocacy

RSL DefenceCare’s claims and advocacy team assists veterans and their families to navigate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) compensation and rehabilitation services.

They work with veterans to compile evidence and submit claims and also support them by leading all interactions with the DVA.

They also represent veterans whose claims have been unsuccessful in appeals at the Veterans’ Review Board. At present, RSL DefenceCare does not have the capacity to represent veterans at the final stages of the appeals process – the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal and High Courts.

The team currently consists of eight members, seven in ANZAC House and one in the Newcastle/Hunter region.

Community Support

The Community Support wing of RSL DefenceCare provides emergency financial support, homelessness support, and counselling services to veterans and their families.

Their work for veterans includes delivering financial assistance during natural disasters, paying rent and bills, organising and funding household services, securing housing for those facing or at risk of homelessness, organising funerals, and providing home, hospital and nursing home visits.

They work with government agencies at the state and federal levels to deliver joint programs and coordinate closely with the RSL branches in other states as necessary.

The Community Support team currently consists of six members, including a counsellor, a Housing Project Officer, and a welfare officer based in Western Sydney.

Additional Service Delivery
Veteran Sport Australia (VSA)

VSA recognises the health benefits of sport and recreation to the physical and mental health of veterans and their families. The program was launched in October 2018 following the success of the Invictus Games held in Sydney that year.

VSA’s goal is to connect veterans to a variety of sport programs, support their attendance at camps, competitive events and games. It provides financial assistance to veterans unable to afford the costs of sporting equipment and participation.

The program also supports veterans wanting to mentor or coach other veterans including by providing them with financial assistance so that they can undertake training programs.

Australian Forces Overseas Fund (AFOF)

AFOF was established in 1967 to provide care and comfort to currently serving members of the armed forces serving overseas. Through this fund, RSL NSW can access military bases to offer services directly to Defence personnel.

RSL LifeCare

RSL LifeCare is a public company limited by guarantee and an ACNC registered charity with endorsed Deductible Gift Recipient status and holding a NSW charitable fundraising licence.

RSL LifeCare is a registered Aged Care and Home Care provider and operates retirement villages across NSW and ACT.

In 2014, RSL LifeCare extended its care for older veterans to young veterans in need of accommodation through our Homes for Heroes service.

The sole member of the company is RSL NSW.  The appointment of RSL LifeCare Directors is approved by RSL NSW.

The history of RSL LifeCare goes back to the establishment of a home for war veterans established on Bare Island in 1911, before a joint venture between Sydney Legacy and RSL NSW established a War Veterans Home with the opening of Legacy Park in 1939 at Narrabeen. At the end of 1963, Sydney Legacy withdrew from the joint venture and RSL NSW took sole responsibility for appointing Directors to the Board of the War Veterans Home Inc., which over time became RSL LifeCare.

Throughout NSW and the ACT, RSL LifeCare has in excess of:

  • 3,000 retirement living residents (1,200 veterans or a partner of a veteran)
  • 2,000 aged care beds (800 veterans or a partner of a veteran)
  • 2,000 community care clients (1,300 veterans or a partner of a veteran)
  • 3,100 staff (600 employees are veterans or a partner of a veteran)

Financial information about RSL LifeCare is available from the ACNC website.