Meet Dave Baker, known affectionately around the club and his mechanic business as ‘Dirty Dave’.
As a Nerang RSL member for nearly a decade, Dave is likely a familiar face to many and shares with us what he gets up to when he’s not at the club and what keeps him coming back, in this edition of Member of the Month.
An avid fisher and regular at the #4211SportzBar, Brisbane Born Dave has lived on the Gold Coast for more than 15 years and says there isn’t anywhere quite like it.
With a love of fishing, some might be surprised to learn he has not been a fishing club member for long.
“I love my fishing. I’ll go offshore or inshore regardless of if the weather permits it or not, but I haven’t been a Nerang fishing club member for long at all, surprisingly only a month,” he said.
“I like being a member of the fishing club because of the people, they have a great attitude and a common goal. I’ve been part of other clubs before but the Nerang Fishing Club isn’t all about the competition, it is just about having fun.”
When asked why other members should get involved he said, “for the love of fishing, of course.”
While he didn’t share all his fishing tips, he did have this piece of advice to offer to newbie fishers: “I can’t give away all of my fishing secrets, but I will say try using a Keeper Hook, you’d be surprised how much I’ve caught with just a Keeper Hook.”
His other passion is cars. Nicknamed Dirty Dave, from his long career as a mechanic, Dave owns and runs Queensland Roadworthy Services in Southport. The business offers all mechanical repairs, log books and, Dave says, “will work on anything with an engine.”
After a hard day at work, you can catch Dave on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the #4211SportzBar enjoying the raffes.
“The SportzBar has a great atmosphere and the people are great, both the staff and patrons,” he says.
“My favourite meal is the Sunday Spit Roast and my go to drink is the GNO (Great Northern Original). No one calls it that but I’m hoping it’ll catch on and I’ll know I started the trend,” he quips.
His recommended meal for new members? All of it. “Start at the top and work your way down. It’s all great,” he says.
Dave says he was excited to be chosen as Member of the Month as he had never had an opportunity like it before.
So what makes Nerang RSL so special? Having been a member for nearly a decade, Dave says it all comes down to the people and the atmosphere.
“Besides the people, the RSL has recently been revamped, so along with its great location, it looks fantastic too. You just feel comfortable everywhere you go and there’s a place for everyone.”
Meet Wayne, or ‘Poppy’, as he’s affectionately called. A nickname that was originally given to him by children of a staff member, safe to say the name has stuck, with old and new staff members alike now calling him Poppy.
A Nerang local for 75 years, Wayne has been an integral part of the club since its inception and he is one of our very first members.
“I’ve been around since the club first started and was one of the first social members. I was allowed membership because my dad was a serving member,” he said.
Wayne said he’s seen some considerable change in the much-loved local venue.
“There were only about 500 members when it started and I knew pretty much everyone,” he said.
“These days the member numbers are much higher and there are so many new faces around, which is great.”
Wayne also served as a Board member in the early to mid-1990s and was heavily involved in shaping the club to where it is today.
His favourite thing about Nerang RSL? While in his earlier days he enjoyed the live bands (and the occasional boogie), Wayne says it’s all about the location, the company and whisky – of course!
“The staff are great and I really enjoy the company of the members. I used to enjoy their selection of Bundy Rum but these days I’m enjoying the Monkey Shoulder Whisky!”
Not only is he a club favourite, Wayne is also a very talented punter, taking away the Punter of the Year Award for 2019.
“The punters club is great to be a part of regardless of the result, and I really enjoy the 1st Saturday of the month when there is a BBQ so we can catch up and see which of the 6 clubs is winning
– we are a little competitive!”
His tips? Go with your gut, says Wayne.
“The secret is to not overthink it. Trust your first impression and back it!”
Neville Maher us Nerang RSL’s first Member of the month for 2020 – mainly for his super efforts ‘driving’ our popular social golf club.
An avid golfer when he gets the time, New Zealand-born Neville has only been living on the Gold Coast for a few years, but almost instantly started getting along famously with our friendly members at Nerang RSL.
He is our Social Golf Clubman of the Year for 2019 and was awarded a trophy at the club’s presentation last year for assisting in the running of the golf club, and organising players on game day. Neville introduced the match play idea to the club, also volunteering his time on Thursday nights throughout the year to sell raffles and raise funds for the club.
“I’ve been a golfer for many years but let my club membership lapse following the arrival of our kids, as I was no longer able to get to the golf course enough to warrant a membership,’ he said.
“Being a member of the social golf club at Nerang RSL allows me to enjoy my favourite pastime on a fortnightly basis, and keeps a good balance with family life.”
Neville said the RSL’s golf club was full of colourful characters who were all great to have a round with, while also enjoying activities at the ‘19th Hole’.
“A lot of people make it work with special efforts put in by Stretch, Ben and Nev T,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun – even for a hacker – so make sure you bring your sense of humour with you.”
Neville fits right into the returned servicemen environment here at the RSL – employed by Legear and Australian Defence Apparel (ADA), who supply uniforms and other personal equipment to a range of industries, including defence.
ADA is one of the Australian Defence Force’s most trusted partners and is one of the country’s leaders in manufacturing and supplying cutting-edge uniforms, protective clothing and
“We are actively involved in the defence, law enforcement and fire segments, amongst others, and im lucky enough in my role to contribute heavily to that activity,” said Neville.
“We are active supporters of the Mates4Mates and police legacy movements, and I’ve been very fortunate to mingle with some great people and listen to their stories, including multiple Victoria Cross recipients.
“The work or our defence personnel, first responders and the various volunteer personnel cannot be understated, particularly in such trying times as those our country is currently experiencing – they are heroes and day to day activities are undertaken with minimal fuss.”
Neville said he was honoured to be recognised as Member of the Month amongst so many active and passionate members at the Nerang RSL.
“In a club with so many great contributors it’s an honour to be appreciated in this manner,” he said
“I just do my bit to help where I can and assist the golf club – in particular with fundraising.”
While he has only been at our club for a short while, Neville has long been a member of interstate clubs and he believes RSLs are a ‘godsend for the local community’.
“They bring family and friends together and offer a place of solace when you’re looking to enjoy some downtime,” he said.
“My wife and kids generally know where to find me if I’m MIA at home – curse mobile phones!”
Beer guru and Nerang RSL member, Darryl Sweeney, has played a huge role in making sure our club can continue to pour some of the finest craft ales in the country, so we can’t think of a better reason for him to be named Member of the Month for December!
A former brewer himself, Darryl is Queensland and New South Wales Regional Sales Manager for the popular craft brewery, Pirate Life Brewing. Those with a keen eye for the 0beer would have noticed the Nerang RSL sets aside a fair bit of tap and fridge space for this delicious drop!
Darryl brings a wealth of experience in all things ales as a former Carlton & United Breweries ‘Beer Ambassador’, helping to ensure that Nerang RSL not only offers quality beer but equally as importantly, our staff knows how to serve it.
“I used to be a brewer at a New Zealand craft brewery and have worked in various beer-related jobs all my life – I actually don’t think I could handle a real job, come to think of it,” he said.
“At Nerang RSL, I love doing all the beer nerd stuff – from training their staff on how to serve, store and talk about beer, to hosting beer appreciation and education evenings for the club’s members.
“I’ve been to a lot of RSLs and other clubs over the years and Nerang RSL is really breaking the mold in terms of serving top-notch craft beer at great prices.
“Most clubs usually stick to the traditional, mainstream commercial beers – and while Nerang offers these as well, the Club takes a few risks and provides a much wider selection, getting behind hop-forward beers and big stouts like those brewed by Pirate Life Brewing.”
Darryl has seen his fair share of pubs in his time and reckons the Nerang RSL is up there with some of the best in the country.
Darryl grew up in the Nerang area and his family are part of the fabric of the Nerang RSL community – with his wife, Nadia, and daughter, Paige, both working in the Club’s restaurant and café.
“What I love about the Nerang RSL is it’s just a great community club, and my family and I are proud and happy to be a part of it,” he said.
“There’s nothing pretentious about the Club at all, which in this day and age is something to be admired – it’s all about great people, great food, great entertainment, and of course great beer.
“I’ve always had a close relationship with Andrew McInnes, and regularly enjoy having a beer or two with him and many of Nerang RSL’s colourful and friendly members.
“I must say, you also can’t go past that massive five-metre screen for watching sport while having a beer or two in the #4211SportzBar!”
Our Nerang RSL and Memorial Club’s Sub Branch President, Mr. Stewart McGettigan, has been at the helm of Nerang RSL’s Sub Branch since 2015 and is a long-standing member of the Club since 2003. Stewart has played a momentous part in making the Sub Branch and the Nerang RSL the special place it is today and we’re proud to profile him in this month’s edition of The Stentorian.
Stewart’s outstanding commitment to running the Sub Branch and also his role as Pension and Compensation Advocate has seen him oversee several Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans Day and other ceremonies while offering a strong network of support for veterans and their families.
He understands the importance of making support networks available to veterans and their families first hand as prior to his roles at the Nerang RSL Sub Branch, Stewart served for 29 years in the Royal Australian Air Force and was stationed in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and all across Australia. Able to connect and draw upon his own experiences, Stewart is also the Nerang RSL Sub Branch’s Wellbeing Advocate and trainer and mentor to the team.
He is a passionate supporter of the Nerang RSL and says the support from the Club has been instrumental in creating a dynamic Sub Branch.
“We wouldn’t exist without the tireless support from the club and the hard work they undertake every day,” he said.
“With the efforts of Andrew McInnes, Nerang RSL’s General Manager, and his talented team, the Club has gone from strength to strength in recent years and it’s no secret that it’s a top spot for the local community to enjoy.
“All the hard work the team puts in is directly responsible for keeping the Sub Branch going and ultimately allowing us to help more and more families in the veteran community.
“You couldn’t possibly meet a better group of staff who are always willing to have a conversation and help with anything you need.
“On Fridays, I get together with the boys and have a few beers, and it’s always a pleasure to take part in the warm and inviting social atmosphere at the Club.”
Stewart is looking forward to this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony, where he will be giving a special opening address, and says it will be a touching tribute to those who fought and lost their lives in honour of their country.
“It’s an incredibly important day in which we gather to pay our respects to fallen servicemen and servicewomen who helped shaped the country for what it is today,” he said.
“This historic day is significant to not only servicemen and veterans, but to all Australians who are lucky to call this wonderful country home.
“We hope to see a large turnout this year of the back of last year’s terrific event, and look forward to honoring our servicemen and servicewomen, past and present.”
Nerang RSL Remembrance Day ceremony takes place on November 11, commencing at 10:30am at the Club.
Lifelong Nerang resident Kim Bruhn is no stranger to the local community, volunteering countless hours of her own time to give back to the suburb she calls home.
Kim, who has worked as a contracted cleaner at the Nerang RSL for over five years, is most recently the driving force behind a huge charity effort to help those in need suffering from the recent bushfires.
Living in Mount Nathan, Kim saw the destruction the fires were causing in neighbouring rural areas and put in a word to Nerang RSL General Manager, Andrew McInnes and Club President, Terry McDonald, to suggest a call-out to the public to donate non-perishable foods and drinks to be donated.
Kim’s efforts saw a huge outpouring of support from the local community, so much so the rural fire brigades from Canungra and Gilston/Advancetown ran out of room to store the donated goods!
Even more still, Kim personally drove the goods out to the rural fire brigades to show her community spirit.
Kim says giving back is important to her and she loves to do whatever she can to help the local community.
“It was a no-brainer to see what I could do for the fire-affected communities, given they are so close to home,” she said.
“I was amazed to see the overwhelming level of support we had from the whole local community, and it’s a testament to the Nerang RSL for doing their bit to help in this awful situation.”
Kim also volunteers her time as treasurer for the Nerang State School P&C and oversees the raising of funds for new equipment for the students.
Kim, who has overseen several changes to the Nerang RSL in recent years, said the club still retains its warm, close-knit community atmosphere.
“The building may have undergone a facelift, but what makes the Nerang RSL club great is the members and staff who fill its rooms,” she said.
“It’s always lovely to come to work and see no shortage of families enjoying the social environment or the staff with smiles on their faces.
“It truly is the last of the great RSL clubs across Australia, with the community at its very heart.”
It’s safe to say Kim is our very own ‘community hero’ and we couldn’t be happier to have her as a club member and a dedicated, hard-working member of staff
Thanking you for your ongoing efforts, Kim!
Since opening its doors decades ago, the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club has grown a small membership base into that of over 45,000 members. Each and every member is a significant part of what makes the Nerang RSL the special place it is today and our Club is lucky enough to have many members, like our member of the month, Mr Brad Catts, keen to lend a hand around the Club no matter how big or small the task.
If Brad looks a familiar face, it’s likely because you’ve seen him around the Club with a paint brush in hand, or, you’ve read about him in The Stentorian! Last month, we profiled Brad’s wife, Justine, (newlyweds – congratulations!) as our staff member of the month and she shared a little insight into Brad’s involvement at the Club (and his big kid at heart charisma and love for the Gold Coast’s annual Christmas Light competition!). We thought it was only fitting to profile Brad and we’re honoured to do so in the September edition of The Stentorian.
Brad walked through the doors of the Nerang RSL for the first time over five years ago, and he said it didn’t take much convincing to sign up as a member and call the Nerang RSL his new local Club.
“It was the club Justine and I visited years ago and we immediately loved it. the Nerang RSL was, and still is, a great place to visit and grab a bite to eat so we thought ‘why not’ sign up,” said Brad
“We’ve been members for over five years and Justine and I now work at the Club too. It’s a great environment to be part of whether working or visiting for a drink or bite to eat, and, it’s truly a family Club with a fantastic atmosphere… there’s always something happening.”
Brad runs his business Catts Purrfect Painting and Carpentry and regularly lends his skills and expertise of all things painting and carpentry to the Nerang RSL. He helps to make sure our Club is well maintained and looking its best for the community to enjoy.
“I enjoy my work at the Nerang RSL and it has been good to get to know the staff members in the process,” said Brad.
“I’ve painted the Club a few times and the team often calls me in to fix the walls, build chairs and re-paint anything that needs a fresh coat…I help out with anything that needs a ‘pick me up’ or some maintenance.
“After work, I’ll often grab a quick bite to eat while Justine is working, or when she has time off we have dinner together at the Club which is nice.”
Reaching an exciting milestone and taking a weekend off the tools to celebrate, Brad recently held his 50th birthday… with a twist!
“My friends, family and a few staff members from the Nerang RSL were invited to my 50th birthday celebration, which was actually a surprise wedding,” said Brad.
“Justine and I married underneath our Bali Hut with many of our guests watching on in surprise. It was great to see the looks on their faces because only a few family members knew, so we sprung it on many of our guests!
“It was fantastic to see everyone come together to celebrate our special day and we are all definitely a made a good night of it.”
A new wave of ex-servicemen are joining the ranks of the Nerang RSL Sub Branch as dedicated committee members who are forging a fresh perspective on giving back to the community.
Travis Sinclair, 44, joined the Australian Army in 1995 and was medically discharged in 1999 after a horrific knee injury which led him unable to fulfill his duties.
Upon discharge, Travis worked a variety of jobs including miner and travel agent, and despite reaching out to friends and family for support, still felt a desire to fit in and meet with likeminded individuals who had gone through similar experiences.
That all changed on ANZAC Day in 2014, when Travis struck up a conversation with Nerang RSL Sub Branch committee member Mark Swain.
Travis said the inspiring chat with Mark helped him realise just how important it was to feel a sense of belonging when transitioning to civilian life.
“Mark really put things into perspective for me and explained the fantastic work the Nerang RSL Sub Branch was doing for not only ex-serving members, but also the wider community,” he said.
“I put myself up for election immediately and won a seat on the committee, which I can safely say gave me a renewed sense of duty and responsibility.
“After joining the Nerang RSL Sub Branch I finally had the opportunity to meet a bunch of stand-out lads who could really understand where I was coming from and offered the support and guidance that is so integral to life after service.”
Since commencing his role in 2014, Travis has been heavily involved with all preparations for the club’s annual ANZAC Day commemorations and has guided many young servicemen through transitioning to civilian life.
Travis said having younger members on board the committee would give ex-servicemen of similar age the confidence to reach out for support.
“There is often a stigma associated with RSL clubs that it’s a bunch of old veterans trading war stories over a few beers, which is fine but it’s not the bigger picture,” he said.
“Having younger members on the Sub Branch committee means we can relate to these young men, who often feel they don’t have anyone to talk to or don’t know the first steps in seeking advice.”
“The RSL was designed to be a support network for all ex-serving members, young and old, to come together and form a strong sense of community.”
“It’s great to see that the Nerang RSL has created a closeknit extended family where anyone can come to us for assistance, life advice or just to enjoy a fantastic social atmosphere.”
“It truly doesn’t matter if you served 20 years or 20 months, the fact is we have all been in similar circumstances and as an RSL we are here to embrace members from all walks of life.”
Travis said the best thing about being part of the Nerang RSL Sub Branch is the amount of friends he’s been able to make.
“I’ve forged so many important connections with people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to meet,” he said.
“Life after service can often be daunting and lonely, so it’s amazing to know that there is such a close network of individuals who can all bond over similar experiences.”
“I’ve been fortunate to re-kindle old friendships from 20 years ago with some of the guys I joined with, and my role has allowed me to do that.”
“I am proud of what I achieved during my years of service and it’s my goal to help other young ex-servicemen transition easier to civilian life and offer support and guidance wherever needed.”
“Young men often feel they aren’t able to share their feelings and it’s crucial for them to know we don’t pass judgement and we are there for them when sometimes others can’t be.”
“We are all cut from a similar cloth (the defence force), so it’s an instant ice breaker to be able to forge these friendships with anyone who is feeling alone.”
“I encourage any ex-serving members who may be feeling a lack of support to come down and have a chat or come along to one of our fantastic events.”
For more information, please contact the Nerang RSL Sub Branch.
If Geoff Stephan looks a familiar face, or the name rings a bell, it’s likely because he’s been proactively involved in the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club community for decades. Geoff has been an active member and President of the Nerang RSL Sub Branch, a Club Committee Member, and Treasurer, and, is the official emcee of the Vietnam Veterans Commemoration Service to be held this month. It’s safe to say Geoff Stephan has and continues to be, a valued member of the Nerang RSL community and we’re honoured to profile our life member in the August edition of The
Before making his mark at the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club, Geoff dedicated over 20 years to military service. Although originally deferring national service and leaving Sydney for Narrabri, where he got a job at the local RSL, it wasn’t long until he found himself back in Sydney and at the front door of the recruitment office for the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force.
“I walked in, signed up and returned home – and wasn’t in my father’s good books seeing as he was in the Navy, and asked why I joined the Army. I told him I could walk and run faster than I could swim,” said Geoff.
“I went overseas as an infantry soldier and after eight months in Vietnam I returned home, became a technician and worked my way up to Sergeant in the workshop. I had been talking to a Regiment Sergeant Major (RSM) who suggested I tried going Regimental. I became a Class Two and Squadron Sergeant Major and then a Warrant Office Class One, which is a Regimental Sergeant Major and began to teach others who were going to be Warrant Officers.”
“After 21 years of service, I decided it was time for me to finish up. I bought a house in Nerang and having been a returned serviceman I knew about the local Nerang RSL and decided to join. I was only there for a little while before my wife, Yvonne, bought a shop in Mermaid Beach, so I joined another Club on the Gold Coast.
“At the time I was working for the Vietnam Veterans Federation and we moved over to Nerang, so I was happy to return back to my local, the Nerang RSL. I started to get involved in things like selling meat tray raffles, which was a great opportunity to get to know many of the members and staff.”
“I started going along to the Sub Branch meetings at the Nerang RSL and given that I was already qualified in handling pensions and pension inquiries, decided to help out and get involved at the Sub Branch wherever I could.”
From selling meat trays at the Club and attending Sub Branch meetings, it wasn’t long until Geoff stepped up as President of the Sub Branch, a role he upheld from 2006 to 2015.
“I got on the Committee as Deputy President of the Sub Branch and became President of the Sub Branch in 2006, as well as joining the Committee of the Memorial Club. I was, and am still, very passionate about the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club so it’s a nice feeling knowing I’ve contributed to making the Club what it is today,” said Geoff.
“We had our share of hurdles along the way when it came to the initial expansion of the Nerang RSL. There was a bit of controversy between the Club and the Sub Branch surrounding whether to expand and although I was part of the Sub Branch, in my eyes, we could either stay in the small clubhouse, or expand and evolve, and provide a fantastic Club for the community. After much discussions and a vote, we went on with the extensions and had numerous meetings to discuss and decide what would be best for both the Club and the Sub Branch.
“I’ve really enjoyed all of my roles at the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club and am humbled I’ve been able to contribute to shaping special aspects around the club including Cenotaph. the Sub Branch at the time decided to put up a new wall because the original one was starting to fall apart and wasn’t big enough for all of the remembrance plaques. I came up with a design and the new wall went up, and, it’s great to see it standing there today with additional modifications over time by Nerang RSL’s Sub Branch.”
Geoff is now a lifetime member of the Nerang RSL and the official emcee of the Vietnam Veterans Commemoration Service which will be held at the RSL on Vietnam Veterans Day to commemorate the service of all men and women who served in Vietnam.
“When I was asked to be the emcee of the Vietnam Veterans Commemoration Service for the first time in 2018, I was very emotional and loved the idea,” said Geoff.
“I received a lot of positive feedback last year which is very humbling and I’m now going to be emceeing the Commemorative Service for years to come, until I can’t do it anymore. It’s something I really look forward to because it’s a special and important day for the community to come together to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Geoff said he’s pleased with the opportunity to continue to play a part at the Nerang RSL, and, said he can’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Club for a bit of banter and a bevvy (and to see his grandchildren who also work at the Nerang RSL!).
“It’s great to have seen the Nerang RSL evolve into the community-centric and supportive environment and the facility it is today”, said Geoff.
“The members make it a special place and the staff are very welcoming and are great to have a laugh with. I love to come along to the Nerang RSL on a Friday, hang out in the #4211SportzBar with my mates, share a few bevies and have a good chat. My grandchildren also work at the Club too, which is quite special!”
If there’s one man who knows the ins and outs of Nerang RSL and Memorial Club, it’s our inaugural member, first-ever Club President, and the Club Patron, Mr. Rodney Dux (now O.A.M!). A passion for the community and a long military career inspired Rod to first join the Nerang RSL Sub Branch more than 30 years ago.
He is now a Wikipedia on most things Nerang RSL. Rod has seen the club evolve from the vacant block of land that he was instrumental in acquiring for the first RSL clubhouse, to the bustling RSL complex it is today. A close working association with the previous Albert Shire Council was instrumental in achieving some of the early goals.
But if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed over the years, it’s Rod’s passion for the community and since we last spoke to him, he’s received a prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia (O.A.M). We’re delighted to profile our Member #1 as he takes us back down memory lane at Nerang RSL and shares what makes him tick in the July edition of the Stentorian.
Rod played an integral role in establishing Nerang RSL and Memorial Club and since, has been heavily involved in a variety of community initiatives including groups such as the Albert Australia Day Foundation whose annual event was directly supported by both the Sub Branch and the Club, the Gold Coast Australia Day Foundation, the Heritage Voice museum support initiative and the Albert Battery. In addition he is a three-time published author of well-researched works on previously unpublished aspects of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces before and during the First World War.
As part of Queen Elizabeth 2’s Official Birthday Celebrations this year Rod was listed among the recipients of the Order of Australia Medal (O.A.M.) that was awarded for his long term contribution to the community of the Gold Coast.
“I’m very honoured to be a recipient of the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia for my involvement across the community, it’s very much a privilege,” said Rod.
“My family and friends were naturally very proud as well and it’s quite a pleasant and unexpected experience when the effort you’ve put in over the years is recognised by such an award.”
“Having said that, without the long term support of family and friends and a peer group network, it wouldn’t be possible… it’s always a team effort and I’ve just helped to lead the way.”
One of the places he’s done exactly that is the Nerang RSL, where he played a major role in the establishment and success of the Club and lead the team to put hammer to nail in the 80’s to build what is now a beating heart within our local community.
“I became involved with the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club when I first joined as a member and soon after President of the Sub Branch over 30 years ago…back when we held our meetings in the local community hall before we had a space to call our own!” said Rod.
“We had a block of land located in what is now the industrial area of Nerang that was later deemed unsuitable for a club site. Most importantly our available funds were meagre to say the least. The decision was taken to sell the land to obtain funds and to secure a suitable block of land, preferably public land with low annual rental. After much discussion with Council and the builders/owners of the unit complex next door, a deal was struck and the existing club land portion changed ownership to the Sub Branch at no financial outlay. With a block of land and funds intact we engaged an architect.
“Among the many aspects requiring volunteer attention was the need to actually form the nucleus of a club membership of sufficient numbers to assist with licensing and other requirements. Existing Sub Branch numbers were not sufficient therefore it was quite a challenge to identify and sign up ex-service and other members for the yet to be built club. Unfortunately nothing ever runs to plan. The building budget required stretching to accommodate an unexpected contractor’s miscalculation of the number of bricks needed among other things. the council requirement back then was to build “hi-set” thereby producing an amount of useless but expensive space on the lower level. Fortunately, times have changed.
“Apart from the basic building, a number of volunteers put in the hard yards to achieve our vision of building a place of support and enjoyment for returned servicemen and women and the wider community. there were other hurdles in the process, one being Gaming Laws. Poker machines were not yet legal in Queensland therefore all revenues necessary to operate and service the debt came from food and beverage. It was quite a regular occurrence for bus loads of punters from Brisbane and the Coast to head forthe clubs in the Northern Rivers. it made a major difference when the machines were introduced in Queensland because it brought members back to local clubs like Nerang RSL and gave us the opportunity to raise extra revenue to help with the processes involved with building a functioning club that also supports the local community.”
Since turning the SOD more than two decades ago, Rod says it’s very pleasing to see the Nerang RSL and Memorial Club absolutely thriving today.
“It’s fantastic to see the Club where it is today and full marks to the team who took over and who have built the business to what it is now,” said Rod.
“Since day one Nerang RSL has always had a passionate team behind it and its continued success I believe reflects continuity, a great committee, a fantastic CEO and an amazing team of staff.”
He’s no longer an active committee member at Nerang RSL, but Rod’s kept busy fulfilling his President-like duties through his roles as President of the Gold Coast Australia Day Foundation, Chairman of Heritage Voice and President of the Albert Battery among a number of other pursuits calling on any spare time.
As to what sees Rod continue to lend a hand within his local community, he had the following to say. “No matter how big or small the task, someone has to do it and there are so many fantastic volunteers across Australia that are involved in providing a helping hand where they can,” said Rod.
“I continue to be genuinely interested in what I do, exploring new and related challenges and the satisfaction of knowing I’ve been able to play a part in my local community and contribute to shaping successful groups such as the Nerang RSL.”
Making the move to the Gold Coast from NSW in 2016, one of the first things Melinda Brown wanted to do was find a local netball club for her daughter. It was the warm welcome and community feel expressed by the Nerang RSL Netball Club that left Melinda feeling part of a new ‘netball family’ and wanting to sign up instantly!
Three years on, not only has the club become their local netball home but Melinda has been appointed as Secretary of the Nerang RSL Netball Club, and we’re honoured to feature her as our member of the month for June 2019.
Melinda has grown up surrounded by all-things netball. She’s played, coached and umpired the sport for over 25 years and is ecstatic to have found a club like Nerang RSL which provides opportunities for the local community to get involved in sport teams. Melinda said she’s humbled that herself and daughter, also a lover of netball, are able to be part of a netball club which operates on the pillars of the community, family and fun.
“Nerang RSL Netball Club was very welcoming when my daughter and I first stepped through the doors three years ago. New to the area at the time, it was a nice feeling to walk into a club and immediately feel a sense of warmth, support and excitement of all-things netball.” said Melinda.
“It’s all about getting social at Nerang RSL Netball Club. If we get a win, it’s a bonus but we’re more focused on making sure our teams get on the court and have some fun, and, we’re always looking for ways to get families involved as a whole. After training on a Wednesday, the Netball Club puts on a free sausage sizzle which is a great opportunity for all to enjoy, and players and their families will often stay after their games to watch other games and support players.”
It wasn’t long until Melinda put her hand up to get involved in volunteer coaching, and now she’s topping that off as Secretary of the club. in addition to her time on the court, she’s now responsible for reporting to the Sports Council of the RSL, liaising with netball associations, assisting in grading and coordination of teams and assisting with executive needs.
In her new role as Secretary, Melinda said she is looking forward to helping Nerang RSL Netball Club, which has over 100 players and nine junior teams and seven senior teams, grow and strengthen its position within the local community.
“I’m really looking forward to helping grow the Nerang RSL Netball Club, prepare the next generation of coaches and help the club to secure funding for upgrades to training facilities. We are still a small club and rely heavily on donations, so it
would be fantastic to get more players and volunteer coaches on board next season and ultimately expand the club and see it become self-sufficient.
“We’re climbing the ranks to become a competitive club and we’re moving in the right direction. Last year, two teams entered the grand final as part of the Southport Carrara Netball Association’s Winter Competition and one of the teams walked away with a fantastic win! Nerang RSL Netball Club has also secured representative funding for four of our girls to play with the Southport Carrara Netball Association
in the upcoming Queensland State Age Championships which is a great achievement for the girls and Nerang RSL Netball Club is very proud.”
And for those looking to get involved in the local community, Melinda said Nerang RSL is a perfect place to do just that. “Nerang RSL is a great community to be part of and the Netball Club will often hold raffles at the club and encourage the community to visit the RSL to get involved in the raffles, to have a bite to eat and simply get to know others within the community”, said Melinda.
“The Netball Club is always welcoming new players, coaches and volunteers and whichever the role, its simply a great opportunity to have some fun and make new friends along the way.”
If Jeff is a familiar face, it’s likely because you’ve seen him concreting the pathways to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Garden, out on a fishing charter with the Nerang RSL fishing club, taking a swing on the golfing green or hanging out in our #4211SportzBar with his mates and a bevvy (usually a beer or a nice red) in hand. For over 20 years, Jeff Robinson has been a valued member of Nerang RSL and Memorial Club and we’re delighted to profile him as our member of the month.
Jeff first stepped foot into the Nerang RSL when it was a small club with just a couple of hundred members. Regularly returning for a drink with his mates, a bite to eat and a play on the pokies, he decided to sign up as a member in 1998 and has since become involved in numerous activities across the club. He’s currently President of the Fishing Club and as a concreter by trade, he is our first port of call for all-things concreting! “It’s great to be part of such a tight-knit community at Nerang RSL and it has been special to see the club evolve over the years and become such a beating pulse of the local community, said Jeff.
“Nerang RSL has always been ‘my local’ and when I first stepped through the doors nearly 20 years ago, I immediately felt a genuine sense of welcome. It’s nice to be part of a club that gives so much to the community and in turn, I like to put my hand up to get involved and do what I can to give back.
“I’ve helped out around the RSL through my concreting business, Above All Concreting, and have concreted the pathways through the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Garden as well as helping with a few other jobs around the club. It’s a nice feeling to help out where I can and see the job get done.”
When he’s not on the tools, Jeff is organising fishing charters, club meetings, and raffles as part of his role as President of the Nerang RSL Fishing Club alongside getting involved in all-things sport related at the RSL.
“I really enjoy my role as President of the Nerang RSL Fishing Club and encourage anyone who might be interested to join the club to do so as it’s a great opportunity to get social and meet fellow members and locals all while enjoying everything the Fishing Club has to offer,” said Jeff.
“We hold monthly meetings, fishing competitions, and raffles and this year, plan to have around six or seven fishing charters where we hire a charter boat on the Coast and enjoy a day out on the water before returning to the club for a couple of drinks and a feed.
“I’ve also been a member of the Nerang RSL Social Golf Club for as long as I can remember and enjoy having a punt as part of the RSL’s AFL tipping competition. There are so many opportunities to get involved at Nerang RSL and it’s always great to finish the day with a visit to the #4211SportzBar where the facilities are absolutely fantastic, and the atmosphere is even better.
“It truly is all about the community at the Nerang RSL and the club is full of fantastic staff that know your name and are happy to have a chat, and it’s a great place to make a few mates, enjoy a drink and a meal. Nerang RSL is like no other and is a fantastic all-rounder within our community.”
To find out more information or to join the Nerang RSL Fishing Club, please contact Jeff directly or visit the front desk at Nerang RSL. Anyone is welcome to join!