House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Constituency Statements

Adelaide Electorate: West Croydon and Kilkenny RSL and Community Club

4:06 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to speak about a great RSL in the electorate of Adelaide. I know that we all have RSLs in our electorates and they all do a great job in looking after veterans, ex-service men and women, and even local residents. Last Friday I attended the West Croydon and Kilkenny RSL and Community Club. I attended to speak with the president, John Lawrance, together with his very organised team, and assist them with the community grants that are currently taking place. While I was there I couldn't resist hearing about the history of the club. It has an amazing history.

The West Croydon and Kilkenny RSL and Community Club is indeed very interesting. The hall was built in 1927 in Herbert Road, and it still stands today, but, due to the influx of World War II members, it had to be extended in 1947 and a new hall was added to the original. The entrance was still on Herbert Road and then, in 1976, when they outgrew that, they built the current venue, which has the entrance on Rosetta Street. They continue to provide for the ex-service community and they play a role in honouring all those who have served. They do their Anzac Day dawn services and Remembrance Day.

They have a very interesting story. There is a memorial at the RSL. It's a memorial to Digger. Digger was a war dog. He was a stray dog who joined the Australian soldiers in the trenches in World War I, only to die after being scared by fireworks when he came back with the soldiers to Adelaide. As the World War I gas alarms rang out, Digger the brown and white bulldog would race up to his human comrades to be fitted with a mask. So the story goes. He would even take food to wounded soldiers stranded in no-man's-land, and brought back handwritten messages. Digger, the stray dog who attached himself to the Australian soldiers, has now been honoured with a memorial at the West Croydon and Kilkenny RSL and Community Club. As I said, the club is steeped in rich history, and many memorials remind our local communities of the sacrifices made by service men and women who served all around the world.

Recently, John Lawrance, the club president, wrote to me and brought forward a suggestion from his committee that they would like to plant a Lone Pine memorial tree and create an epitaph in memory of the Battle of Lone Pine. I thank John for the honour to assist him. We're currently making arrangements to see that the seedling is made available and ready for Remembrance Day.