Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch Inc

The Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch was formed and received its charter on the 28th October 1945, approx. 10 weeks after the end of WWII. The first President of the Sub Branch, Mr Tom Gorringe, a WWII veteran, met with 22 members in the School of Arts Hall at Petrie where they stayed until 1954. The opening and formation of the Pine, Petrie and District Sub Branch was made possible with the support of the Qld State Branch and Nundah, Northgate, and Toombul Sub Branch.

Among the first members were Tom Gorringe (Pres), Paul Houghton (Snr Vice), Ernie Day (Sec), Jack Stafford, Ivor Hansen (Treas), Alf Stephenson, John Crouch, Wallace Young and the Rev Ballard. Unfortunately, none of the early records are available due to the fact that they were burnt in a house fire; no office space in those days. The Women’s Auxiliary was formed in 1950.


In 1954, Mr Gus Gehrmann, President and employed by APM at Petrie arranged for one of the supervisors homes to be donated to the Sub Branch and moved on to a block of land at Petrie. When the Sub Branch reached the magical figure of 100, an RSL Club Liquor Licence was obtained and we commenced to operate as a licensed club. At this time the Sub Branch was renamed the Pine Rivers District Sub Branch.

By 1963, the Sub Branch had purchased land at Anzac Avenue, Kallangur. The President, Mr W Abell, moved the house onto the new site (in March 2003 after extensive renovations this house was reopened and named the William Abell Community Centre, WACC) and continued to trade as a licensed club. Associate members were accepted and the name of the licensed club was changed to Pine Rivers RSL and Services Memorial Club.

The Club and the Sub Branch were run as separate identities and with separate committees. Portion of this land was sold to the Kallangur Memorial Bowls Club.

On 13th March 1976 a new clubhouse was opened. At that time we had approx. 300 Sub Branch members and 1200 Service Club members. The land on which the clubhouse sits was purchased by the club. The Sub Branch remained in the old House for a further twelve months until an office was made available in the new Clubhouse. The old House was then leased to the Department of Defence to house 13 Fd Bty RAA, an ARES unit, up until December 1999.

In 1997 the Sub Branch finally sold the last piece of land to the club. This was the old House which had been used as the Sub Branch office for many years. Due to an overwhelming increase in the workload of the Sub Branch with pensions etc. it was decided in 1997 that the Sub Branch purchase a relocatable Home (known as the Bunker) and place it on the land next to the WACC. Later in the same year the Sub Branch had to purchase a further relocatable (known as the Swamp).

By 2002 it was quite obvious that the Sub Branch needed more space as the pension work load had increased so much and also the Brisbane North RSL District (BNRD) were looking for a place for their HQ that they could call home. John Smith, President, then negotiated with the Club to lease back the old building. The Pine Rivers Sub Branch members with the assistance of BNRD and other Sub Branches in the District then proceeded to renovate the old building at a total cost of approx. $150,000. In March 2003 the new building was officially opened and named the William Abell Community Centre. This centre is now used by the Sub Branch, Citizens Auxiliary, Legacy and many community and craft groups for meetings etc.

The relocatable buildings house now our Pension and Welfare section and the administration team.

The William Abell Community Centre provides Kitchen and Drop In Centre facilities for members and community groups.

The Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch successfully sponsored the first RSL Chapter in Australia. It is now a Sub Branch in its own right – the Bray Park/Strathpine RSL Sub Branch.

Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch sponsored the Chapter known as The Garrison in 2020.

Our membership currently stands at about 289 current and ex-serving members and 25 Auxiliary members.

pine rivers district rsl sub branch memorial gardens and pine rivers honour gates

The Pine Rivers Memorial Gates were established in 1924 with the assistance of donations from the people of Pine Rivers Shire. The gates were originally situated at the entrance to the Lawnton Showgrounds. Unfortunately they fell into disrepair and in fact at one time were featured in a publication of the most neglected Memorials published by the Aust. War Museum.

In 1984, the Sub Branch negotiated with the Pine Rivers Shire Council and the Lawnton Show Society to have the gates moved to the Sub Branch’s location where they would be looked after. These negotiations were successful and the gates were relocated to their present site in 1985, completely refurbished and rededicated on Remembrance Day 1985. The gates still belong to the people of Pine Rivers Shire and are held in trust by the Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch.

Honour Gates

Between 1984 and 2004 the Sub Branch erected various memorials in the Memorial Gardens – Navy, Vietnam Veterans, RAAF, American Forces who served in Strathpine area in WWII, memorial walls to our own deceased members, Aust Light Horse, Korea, Women’s Wall for both service and civilians and Peacekeepers.  In 2004 the gardens were renovated by volunteers and on the 2nd April 2005, the Minister for Veteran Affairs Ms Deanne Kelly officially unveiled and named the gardens, “The Pine Rivers District RSL Sub Branch Memorial Gardens”.