The local RSL, simply a place to go and enjoy a cheap beer, meal or punt, right?
While it’s true RSLs have increasingly become clubs for the wider community over their near-100 year history, many veterans still rely on the league for support.
RSLs help veterans procure pensions, compensation payments, medical treatment and even aged-care housing.
The clubs can also help veterans dealing with the mental trauma often experienced by those returning from combat.
It’s those services in particular that Joe Gates from Currumbin RSL’s veterans’ support centre is hoping the latest generation of veterans returning from modern conflicts such as Afghanistan utilise.
“The younger veterans, they really aren’t into the RSL scene. They seem to be of the opinion that an RSL is a place where a mob of old farts hang around together at the bar and tell each other war stories,” Mr Gates told AAP.
“That’s a concept that we’re trying to get out of people’s heads.
“It’s a constant battle to try and get the message out there.”
Mr Gates, who undertook two tours of duty in Vietnam, says the Department of Veteran Affairs has improved markedly in the services it offers veterans since his own service.
But in the rush for many to return to civilian life, Mr Gates believes veterans need to realise the RSL is there to help them, whether they are club members or not.
“When I accepted my discharge, all I wanted to do was get home, get my uniform off and forget all about it. It’s just the nature of the beast,” Mr Gates said.
“What we need to make sure of is that when the time comes for younger veterans … they need to know there is a place they can come to get help.”