Balgowlah RSL Memorial Club is the only major club in Seaforth. It was originally built by volunteers from the Balgowlah Seaforth Clontarf RSL Sub Branch which began in 1945 and met in the Balgowlah Masonic Lodge in Wittle Avenue.
The plan to start the Sub Branch was formulated by a few Diggers on the Manly Ferry on their way to work. Among others, there were Bob Miller, Merv Payne and Doc Bennett.
From very small beginnings, raising money through raffles and dinner dances, they were able to acquire some land on Ethel St. Manly Council sold it to them for a 1% deposit with a requirement that the remaining 7,000 pounds be repaid “whenever you can”. The members cleared the land themselves and worked on weekends to slowly build the first Balgowlah RSL Memorial Hall.
There were donations of building supplies from friends and supporters. One of which was Paynter and Dixon which supplied the bricks and mortar. Our relationship with Paynter Dixon Constructions endures and they were the builder for the club’s most recent renovation. Some of the funding was provided by Millers Brewery, on condition that they be the beer of choice for the new club.
By 1956, Balgowlah RSL Memorial Club was up and running, and growing very fast. In 1977 there were extensions to the building. 1990 the club moved into “temporary premises”, on Sydney Rd. These are still part of the club today. In 1997 the club expanded into the current premises which adjoin the Sydney Rd building.
By 2007, the club had moved into its upgraded premises and was the largest business in Seaforth.
In 2017, the club has continued its expansion and services, with over 11,500 members and 85 staff. It has recently opened a renovated top floor with enhanced function spaces and The Wine Room Bar & Restaurant.
Balgowlah RSL Memorial Club is proud to support over eighty local charities and junior sporting groups. We are respectful of our important heritage, and we are forward looking to meet the changing needs of the community.
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