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 Captain Ernest White. Captain Ernest White.
22 June 2022 Posted by 

Started by Local Diggers: The proud history of Gosford RSL

THE new look Gosford RSL Club is the culmination of the outstanding success story of Gosford RSL Club which started life at a meeting of Returned Servicemen after World War Two.
It was founded by ex-AIF who was born and bred in Gosford. Those first  meetings were held at the Brisbane Water district Club bult by ex-First World War Diggers at the rear of the Anglican Church in 1921.
The land was donated by Dr James Paul who requested no intoxicating liquor be ‘sold’ at the clubhouse.
Diggers being Diggers they quickly developed a coupon system that allowed coupons to be ‘swapped’ for a beer  or spirits at the bar.
Their toughest battle was the fight for a liquor license in the 1950s. Members dug deep to come up with funds to get the licensed club off the ground.
And plenty of members were quite happy to stay at the old premises which made it tough for the Secretary Owen Gannon to gain traction for a new club.
In 1960, around 60 members made donations to get the club’s first licensed premises up and running I the old Ford garage in Mann St.
The new club was in reality a shabby old building with corrugated iron walls, tarred floor and no ceiling – just rafters in the roof. But it was a start.
A club committee of 20 men under President Bert Ashwell was formed to plan the way ahead and develop the Mann St site into a ‘proper club’.
They were finally granted a liquor license in 1960 after much hard work and alterations and was so successful in its central location in downtown Gosford it began the first of many major upgrades in facilities.
The club bought an old furniture store next door in 1962 and after extensions and alterations members enjoyed indoor bowls, snooker, billiards, squash table tennis, darts or dining at one of the new restaurants,
More renovations in 1967=68 cost $350,000 but lack of parking begin to plague the club.
It was now one of the biggest clubs on the booming Central Coast with almost 2000 members and a turnover of more than $320,000. 
All that changed on one tragic summer’s night on January 22, 1973, when a fire swept quickly through the luxurious Club causing around $500,000 damage. The building was gutted within minutes and was beyond restoration.
It was heartbreaking for the many people who had put their heart and soul into their much loved club.
Less tha 30 days after the fire, members backed the board’s decision to purchase the large Galaxy Motel site in West Gosford, adjacent to the Pacific Hwy and Narara creek.
It proved to be a masterstroke. The new Gosford RSL Club opened on July 18, 1973, and has gone from strength to strength in the ensuing 50 years.
Put simply, Gosford RSL Club is one of the Central Coats’s greatest success stories’


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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