• Loddon Herald

Last post for veterans

MEMBERS of Mitiamo-East Loddon RSL sub-branch held one final meeting last week before disbanding.

The sub-branch’s seven members were joined by wives and supporters at the Dingee Hotel where president Ian Anderson presented an RSL plaque to each member.

Ian said the sub-branch had dispersed $20,000 of local funds to Legacy, East Loddon Men’s Shed and East Loddon Historical Society.

The historical society will use its grant to acknowledge ex-servicemen and women buried in district cemeteries.

And while the sub-branch has ceased to exist, members hope to continue running ANZAC Day services at Calivil with assistance from the community and East Loddon P12 College.

According to Glenn Ray, the Calivil piper who has researched the local group’s history, the sub-branch has been largely based around the old East Loddon Shire and the communities of Mitiamo, Dingee, Serpentine and Calivil.

“As you enter any of their public halls you will see the magnificent honour boards inscribed with the names of all the men and women who left our communities to fight for the freedom often of other countries as well as our own, with the decline of our bush communities I sometimes wonder if the call went out again could we manage the same rally today,” he said.

“The RSL contributed to the local scouts and guides when it came time to erect their own hall - now the Lions’ Den.

“During the late 60s through to the early 90s the blues and browns of the Guides and Brownies and the green and khaki of the Cubs and Scouts and their flags certainly added to the spectacle of the parade from the hall to the cenotaph where the ode was recited and the flag was raised to full mast by Harvey Maxted for as long as I can remember.”

Glenn said the RSL had been a long-time contributor to the school for its ANZAC service and also sponsored the RSL scholarship to help a local child to further their education every year

“ANZAC Day alternated between Mitiamo and Calivil for many years but in later years just at Calivil where the hall would always have a large congregation in attendance largely due to the strong support by families of the members, and also the quality of the guest speakers that the likes of Darby Illingworth and Ian Anderson have been able to secure.”

Ian said the sub-branch had absorbed other district RSL sub -branches as their memberships dwindled. “It has been wonderful to have so many together for our last meeting,” he said.

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