A returned Sailors/Solders Club/Association was established in Bairnsdale in May 1918 and occupied facilities, provided by public subscriptions, in the ‘Grand Coffee Palace’ from September 1918. In May 1919 the Club’s application to join the newly created RSSILA (Returned Sailors & Soldiers Imperial League) was approved and the Bairnsdale Sub-Branch established.
In 1929 the ‘Grand Coffee Palace’ was leased to other interests and the Sub-Branch relocated to rooms within the Mechanics Hall. These facilities were used until 1953. The Sub-Branch sold the ‘Grand Coffee Palace’ in 1939 and in 1951 acquired land at 2 Forge Creek Rd for future development. In 1953 temporary facilities were established in Turnbull St where the Sub-Branch remained until new Clubrooms were opened
at Forge Creek Rd in May 1965.
In 1971 the Bairnsdale RSL Club was formed receiving its license in March 1972. With membership growing steadily over the next two decades the Club took another bold step in its development of the entertainment facilities.
A major organizational change took place within the Victorian RSL State Branch with the adoption of a new management strategy for all Licensed RSL Sub-Branches. In December 1997 the Bairnsdale RSL Sub-Branch and Club were incorporated into one identity,
the Bairnsdale RSL Sub-Branch Inc.
In 1996 forward and progressive thinking by the then Committee saw the RSL take steps for a major redevelopment of its facilities. The redevelopment commenced in September 1998 and was fully completed and opened on 27th November 1999. Membership and Business growth necessitated a further extension of facilities which were completed in October 2001.
With continued growth there will always be a need for regular review of the facilities but at no time will our role and commitment to the veteran community and community of East Gippsland be compromised.