What is the RSL?

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) evolved as a direct result of the experience of the Diggers of 1914-1918 — their mateship, their post-war needs and welfare, and their sense of what it meant to be an Australian. That ethos of compassion and service remains today the motivating influence of the League. The RSL existed then and still exists now to ensure that programs were in place for the well-being, care, compensation and commemoration of serving and ex-service Defence Force members and their dependants; and promote Government and community awareness of the need for a secure, stable and progressive Australia.

RSL HQ 1956

RSL House, 4 Mort Street, Braddon ACT. Home of the RSL HQ from 1956 to 1963

To serve the interests of its members, veterans, the ex-service community and members of the Australian Defence Force, the RSL undertakes the following activities:

  • Welfare.
  • Advocacy and Representation.
  • Assistance to all veterans and ex-service men and women regardless of their membership in the League.
  • Commemoration and Remembrance.
  • Participation in employment Programs for veterans, ex-service members and their dependants.
  • Commitment to democratic principles and practices.
  • Provision of a means for members to enjoy camaraderie and mateship.
  • Provision of effective and efficient management of RSL assets and resources for the benefit of its members and serving members of the ADF.
  • Act as an effective representative for its members to Government and its departments.
  • Provision of moral and active support for the ADF.
  • Provision of a respected and meaningful voice within the community and Australian society.
  • Promotion of loyalty and pride which the League has for the Nation, its people, the Crown and the Flag.

The RSL is proud of its citizenship activities.This website allows students to learn about these activities, and to decide how the RSL has contributed to Australian identity and citizenship in the past and today. It will also help students explore the question: is the RSL still relevant to young people’s lives and our society today, and in the future?

Our Branches

Click on the map below to find out more about the RSL nationally or in your own State or Territory.


Youth Charter

The RSL believes that it has a role to play in young people’s lives, and that young people have an important place in the RSL.
Here is its Youth Charter:

The RSL Youth Charter on Australian Youth

The Returned & Services League of Australia believes that the future well being and prosperity of this country depends upon sound democratic governance. This must include the nurturing of the Youth of Australia to ensure that the strength, vitality and security of our Nation is preserved and enhanced. Youth must be accepted as a most important section of our society and given the respect, attention and encouragement to allow each individual to develop to his or her potential and ability. The League acknowledges that young people have rights and responsibilities as citizens to participate in community affairs and play a constructive role in society. To this end, all youth must have a right to an education and upbringing that will provide them with the best opportunities to achieve their aims in life. This education must include a sound understanding of Australia’s political and social structure, origins and history and aimed at promoting a strong national identity. This education should also engender in youth a respect for, and understanding of themselves and others in society and an acceptance of their own responsibility as part of that society. To further this Charter the League should look for opportunities at all levels within the RSL and in local communities to originate, support and encourage youth activities which espouse these values.

Timeline of the RSL

Click on the decades below to reveal the important moments in the RSL’s history or download the full timeline below.