Club Rocky's (formerly Rockdale RSL Club) is one of the oldest in NSW and possible Australia. It applied for its charter in 1919, this was granted in 1920 and the first meeting was held in January 1921 at Rockdale Town Hall, the club continued to meet there until 1927 when it obtained a grant of land in Bay Street where it remains to this day.
This Sub-Branch. like many other Sub-Branches of the R.S,S. & A.I.L.A., was formed very soon after the end of World War I and was based on patriotic enthusiasm and the desire of returned men to continue the friendships they had made whilst fighting together, and to a greater degree, to help those less fortunate than themselves who had returned incapacitated in some way or another.
From records we have and from discussions with older members, we find the first meetings were held at Rockdale Town Hall, and then later at a small room at Brighton Beach.
In 1922, when granted a block of ground in Bay St. by Rockdale Council, we built our first Memorial Hall which stood until 1959. ; the first sod was turned by Major General Sir Charles Rosenthal. There is a photograph in existence showing the diggers lined up in Bay Street in their First World War uniforms. Our first President was Mr. G. Towner.
Early in the 20’s our membership was quite good hut with the harder days of depression there was a marked failing off, when our Executive found many more ways in which they could assist their not so fortunate comrades. With the commencement of the 2nd World War naturally many of our younger brigade started joining, until, in 1946, we had nearly 1,200 members. These boys, who were coming hack from overseas, had a great welcome from the older members as we had the amenities then to offer them. Apart from social activities, sport came to the forefront with golf, tennis, table tennis, indoor bowls. and in later years, cricket.
All branches of sport have met with great success in open competitions run in the St. George district, each branch bringing home trophies, with tennis being most successful with about seven wins. In cricket, which we started playing in a more serious vein in 1958, we have met with some success, being runners-up 1958—59, and grand finalists 1959—60, with a great chance of becoming premiers.
Our old Memorial Hall was severely damaged by fire in 1954 necessitating a serious decline in Club activities; however, a great many members stayed on hand when most needed. In 1956, under the drive of our President Tom Wright. we started the long task to rebuild, to give our men a building of which we could be really proud. A Building Committee was formed, and in 1957 part of our upper floor and the rear section of the Club was completed.
Then, in August, 1959, with President Bruce Campbell at the helm, work was started on the completion of the building, and at last our dreams became manifest in the magnificent hail which is being opened to-day by Messrs. Bert Matheson, M.M., and Claude Henville.
Since its inception, the club has given tens of thousands of dollars to local charities. It is interesting to read the minutes of the first meeting in 1921 when the subject of donations came up. At the end of the discussion, it was decided to donate a sum of seven shillings and sixpence, two shillings and sixpence went to the Salvation Army and the same amount was given to St. Johns Anglican Church Rockdale and the Rockdale Catholic church. Times have certainly changed.
As a result of its charitable works, the club has maintained the support of all local bodies and the local community in general. At the same time, the club continues to support the RSL Headquarters and all that it stands for.
Over the years the club premises have of course been renovated several times particularly after being severely damaged in two fires in 1978 & 1982.
The club is proud of its achievements over this long period of time and will continue to support the local community.