FAQs About RSL NSW

Here you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about RSL NSW. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, you can ask it via the enquiry form and someone will respond.

You might also be interested in Australian military history FAQs.

Did You Know?
What does RSL NSW do for young veterans?

RSL NSW welcomes eligible members of all ages. Younger veterans are welcome to join their local sub-Branch. You can find out more about joining RSL NSW here.

Through RSL DefenceCare, RSL NSW provides support for veterans and their families. This includes financial assistance, counselling, claims and advocacy support and more. This support is available to veterans of all ages.

Veteran Sport Australia (VSA) is a program of RSL NSW. VSA connects veterans of all ages to sporting and recreational opportunities across the country, with the aim to improve the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families. There are a range of social and competitive activities that young veterans are welcome to get involved in. You can find out more by visiting Veteran Sport Australia’s website.

What’s the difference between RSL NSW, RSL sub-Branches and RSL Clubs?

RSL NSW is the state branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia. In New South Wales, there are approximately 350 sub-Branches.

Some sub-Branches may hold meetings or events at their local RSL club but they are completely separate entities.

RSL clubs are governed by state legislation and are commercial entities and usually not-for-profits that benefit their members.

RSL NSW has a Memorandum of Understanding with the RSL & Services Clubs Association around shared objectives.

Does RSL NSW earn money from clubs and pokies?

RSL NSW does not own or operate a registered club, nor does it own or operate poker machine licences.

RSL NSW is a charity. RSL sub-Branches often hold meetings at local registered clubs but the clubs are separate legal entities.

Does RSL NSW make money from the RSL Art Union?

No. The Art Union is run by RSL Queensland and all proceeds go to RSL Queensland.

Does RSL NSW make money from national partnerships?

RSL National and RSL Appeals enter into partnerships with various commercial organisations. Refer to the RSL National website for details on any national partnerships.

RSL Appeals partnerships may result in donations to RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institution from time to time. RSL WBI is a separate legal entity from RSL NSW.

What’s the symbolism of the League Badge?

League Badge

The wattle is symbolic of Australia.

The leek, the rose, the thistle, and the shamrock are symbolic of and represent the link with Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland respectively.

The badge is a symbol of a readiness at all time to render service to Queen and country and to former comrades. It is a time-honoured emblem – one that has been worn with a deep sense of pride by the most revered in our land and one that glorifies the forms of dress of all privileged to wear it.

No wealth or influence can purchase the badge which may be worn only by those who have served their country.

Your attention is drawn to the three colours in the badge. The red represents the blood tie of war. White stands for the purity of motive in joining the League – to render service without thought of personal gain or ambition. The blue indicates willingness to render that service to a comrade anywhere under the blue sky – wherever they may be.

Depicted in the centre of the badge, and encircled by the name of the organisation, you will see a sailor, soldier, airman and servicewoman marching together with their arms linked in friendship. This is to show within the circle of the League, all services and all ranks, march together in unity and comradeship.

What is the origin of the Returned and Services League motto?

The motto is: ‘The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance’

In the Fourth Century BC, the Greek military leader and Athenian Orator Demosthenes said in comment on the activities of the neighbouring kingdom of Philip of Macedonia:

‘There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust?’

Over 2000 years later, in 1790, John Philpot Curran said in his speech upon election as Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland:

‘The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance’

Some sixty years after this speech, Wendell Phillips said in an address before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1852:

‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’

The words have also been attributed to Thomas Jefferson but no one has yet found any records of Jefferson using the sentence.

In the early 1920s the Victorian Branch of the League suggested that the League should have a motto and the New South Wales Branch subsequently recommended the words:

‘The price of liberty is eternal vigilance’

It is not known how the New South Wales Branch came to suggest this motto, whether they adapted the historical quotes or whether it was an original idea. However, in November 1923, the 8th National Congress of the RSL agreed upon the motto as it now stands. It is as relevant today as the spirit of the thoughts expressed by Demosthenes so long ago.