Remembrance Day is on us again.

So, while remembering those veterans past and present, spare a thought for the Wonthaggi RSL.

An organisation which has served the Wonthaggi veterans and the local community for 103 years.

Formed in November 1918, it became a sub-branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, now commonly known as the Returned and Services League of Australia, and on July 20, 1920, chartered as a sub-branch.

The year 2020 was to be a commemoration of the centenary of the Wonthaggi Sub-Branch Charter.

Unfortunately, COVID put an end to any plans to commemorate this very important event. The decision was then made to hold a simple service on the 2021 ANZAC Day service.

During this service, Mike Shields, vice-president, and long-standing life member of the sub-branch, was presented with the National RSL Centenary Certificate, recognising its long and distinguished service to veterans and the community by Commander David Zander, Royal Australian Navy.

Prior to the 2021 ANZAC Day service, I wrote as the then Wonthaggi RSL Sub-Branch secretary to all Bass [Coast] Shire Councillors with a suggestion that the Bass Coast Shire should make a presentation from the shire to recognise this important centenary milestone.

Two replies were received only.

One suggesting that this was a good idea and it would be looked into – followed by silence from the Bass Coast Shire and its councillors, but nothing.

When you look at the military history of Wonthaggi, as I am doing now, you find many Wonthaggi veterans who served as councillors for the Bass Shire over many years. It seems that the contributions of those men were also not worth being recognised by this shire.

I am no longer the Wonthaggi RSL secretary so as an ordinary RSL member and as Vietnam veteran I can write this letter today.

For 100 years the Wonthaggi RSL has invited councillors to attend its ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services, they lay wreaths, puff out chests, make suitable speeches and claim to be a friend and supporter of the Wonthaggi RSL, but at “the going down of the Sun”, they never to be seen until next year. In six and bit years as the Wonthaggi RSL secretary, I never once saw any local councillor show any interest in the sub-branch, except to turn up on ANZAC Day and be seen. Rough I know.

So not to recognise and mark the century of the Wonthaggi RSL sub-branch, a major institution in the Wonthaggi, particularly in the first 70 years of this town can only be called out as a unworthy, disgraceful, and a crass oversight by our so-called community leaders. As Derryn Hinch would say, shame, shame.

Rod Gallagher, Inverloch.