History of the Club

Preston RSL

  • The Preston RSL was formed in 1919 with the object of perpetuating the close ties of friendship of members of the First A.I.F. and to safeguard their interests in Repatriation and Rehabilitation.
  • With the assistance of Councillors and Citizens, supported by the Red Cross, the Father’s Association and the Women’s Auxiliary, a fund of 3,000 pounds was raised to erect a Memorial Hall as an additional storey to the Preston Library.
  • The Memorial Hall was financed by public subscription, added to which the Council struck a special rate of 3 pence in the pound.
  • The Soldiers’ Memorial Hall was free of access to all returned soldiers, and was the meeting place of the Preston Branch R.S.S.& A.I.L.A.
  • Lord Forster, P.C., G.C.M.G., the first Governor General, laid the foundation stone on the 6th March, 1921, and the first meeting was held in September, 1921.
  • Cr. L. Jones, J.P. Shire President, was the first President of the Preston RSL.
  • There have been 37 persons who have filled the roll of President.
  • The local branch has paid particular attention to the welfare of ex-service persons and also the interests of the youth of Preston, including Cricket, Football, Basketball and Marching Girls Teams.
  • The Memorial Hall reverted back to the Preston Council in 1951 as an extension to the Library.
  • New premises were erected at the rear of the Town Hall in Kelvin Grove to accommodate our Sub-Branch.
  • The new Sub-Branch and Clubrooms were officially opened by Sir George Holland, K.B.E., M.M., the National President of the RSL on 19th May 1957, and has been our home for over 50 years.
  • The list of service persons who gave distinguished service to the community would be too long to include in this brief resume, however mention should be made of N. Osborne, O.B.E., M.H.P. Zwar, O.B.E. who were both honoured by the Queen, with the O.B.E., Wally Guppy, B.E.M., and Hilda Spicer A.O.M.
  • Two Preston persons namely, Sergeant William [Rusty] Ruthven, who served in the 22nd Battalion 1st  A.I.F., World War 1, and Private Bruce S. Kingsbury, who served in the 2nd/14th Battalion, World War 2 were both awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Their names are perpetuated by the Ruthven Railway Station, the Ruthven State School, Ruthven Park, the Kingsbury District and Kingsbury Drive through the grounds of LaTrobe University.

Preston Club

  • At a meeting of the Preston Chamber of Commerce in the late 1950’s the Chamber’s Social Club was appointed to establish a club for the Chamber. Money raising was started immediately and sometime afterwards a property in Cramer Street Preston was purchased and a year later an adjoining property was purchased in the name of the Trustees – J.A.G. Campbell, Jim Marshall and Ern Jensen.
  • On 10th February 1960 a meeting was held to elect the first Committee of The Preston Club
  • The first annual meeting was held on the Premises of W.L. Wonder, 555 High Street on the 14th July 1960. J. Campbell was elected president. The Annual fee was set at $5.50 and membership was 51.
  • A further adjoining property was purchased and subsequently these properties were sold for $200,000. Premises at 402 Bell Street were purchased for $180,000 in 1973 and after $180,000 refit, they were officially opened by the Hon. R.J. Hamer, Premier of Victoria, on the 4th May 1974.
  • Additional adjoining land has been purchased over the years.
  • The Preston Club provided support to local sporting bodies such as community cricket and football teams as well as local charities in addition to providing sporting and social facilities to it’s members.

Darebin RSL

  • In 2005 a meeting was held with the Preston Club with the view to amalgamating both clubs.
  • With the approval of the RSL Victorian State Branch, the Merger agreement between the Preston RSL and the Preston Club was signed on the 14th December 2005 and the New Club was formed to be known as the Darebin RSL Sub-Branch Incorporated.
  • The first official meeting of the new Darebin RSL was held on Wednesday 22nd January 2006 at 5.20pm with six [6] representatives from both clubs making up the Committee of Management.
  • With the approval of the RSL Victorian State Branch, an amalgamation agreement between the Darebin RSL and the Northcote RSL was signed and approved on the 29th October 2008.
  • Major renovations were made to the Bell Street premises in 2008. Major General David McLaughlin AO officially declared the new club rooms open on Thursday 4th December 2008.
  • After years of planning and unfortunate delays with Coronavirus in early 2020, major renovations are approved to start at Darebin RSL, seeing first the carpark double the amount of spots after acquiring the block in Arthur St, as well as new landscaping and shading for those hot summer days.
  • In-house renovations start including the removal of Squash courts and swimming pool located in the building across from main entrance. 


  • Major renos commence at Darebin including new wallpaper, new carpets throughout the entire venue, new furniture consisting of different chairs and tables, light fixtures and upgrades to both toilet blocks. Our Bistro upgraded now with a bright and relaxed atmosphere with costal beach colors and comfy chairs. Still offering affordable meals and great entertainment


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