Q) How did you come across the Nerang RSL and can you share a bit about yourself?
“I was fortunate to hear about the Nerang RSL and the opportunity for a job due to a mutual good friend who already worked at the club. They encouraged me for some time to make a move as I had been a stay at home parent for over 12 years prior – I’ve been employed at the Nerang RSL for around 14 months now and really enjoy it. I have a work experience background in the industry
having completed an Associate Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management at TAFE in Sydney back many moons ago, when I finished my final schooling (I won’t mention the year). I initially started work at the Epping Club in Sydney, which was my home town growing up, as the Gaming and Safe Supervisor and moved on to working on the table games at the Sydney Harbour Casino when it first opened (this was where I met my partner for life, Michael!). I also went on over the next 20 years to work in the tourism industry expanding my work experience at other major
organisations including Flight Centre and Virgin Airlines. I have now come full circle in my career and am back in the RSL community here at Nerang and loving it.
Q) Can you share a little about your role at Nerang RSL?
“I absolutely love my new role at the Nerang RSL as a Gaming Attendant and have realised since working here, that it is a very community oriented place to work. I assist members and visitors on the floor with gaming payouts, poker machine questions, beverage and food orders (and exceptional customer service of course!). I love to ensure each and every member feels welcomed and has a positive and memorable experience at our Club.”
Q) What are some of the promotions held in the Gaming Lounge at Nerang RSL?
“We have a variety of promotions ongoing and new ones that come up throughout the year. We have daily promotions during the week such as pick a box, our Members Draw, raffles and funny money as well as larger promotions which I have seen being a $10k giveaway and also a Car giveaway. These days and nights are a huge success and attract large crowds to the Club.”
Q) What is one of your favourite memories or a highlight of your time at the Nerang RSL?
“There is always a wonderful mix of people to work alongside of and so many amazing people and members to meet – it has been eye opening and so rewarding coming back to work after so many years. I also recently experienced the Remembrance Day ceremony at the club which was extremely moving. Some of my family members have previously served in the Armed Services, so it was nice to see everyone come together on the day.”
Q) What are you likely doing when you’re not at the RSL?
“Having my three kids, Christian 13, Georgia 10 and Hannah 9, I am kept exceptionally busy with appointments. Most of my spare time is looking after and making sure they are resilient, happy and content. My elder two kids have a rare condition called Usher Syndrome – they were born profoundly deaf and are now living with the progressive eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), ultimately causing very fast vision loss. Our life as parents now focuses on giving them the best opportunities before their vision deteriorates more. they have never travelled so we have a good looking bucket list for them. My two eldest are now classified as legally blind having only 10 degrees peripheral vision. Unfortunate yes, but most days we try to look forward, despite the obstacles, look to the positive and always have a very “can do” attitude. You’ll see that in my smile and happy spirit every day at the Club.”
Q) Do you have any hobbies or talents that your colleagues don’t know about?
“Being a mum to three young children, with the kids having so many talents themselves and extra challenges, I find myself as the typical mum running them around like a taxi driver when I am not working. My special talent is juggling all three with their school and extracurricular activities and affording to pay for it all. Thus a big reason for returning back to work. Haha!”
Q) How long have you been working at Nerang RSL and can you share a little about your role?
“I’ve been working at the Nerang RSL for just over four years now and absolutely love it. I’m a Senior Steward in the 4211 Café and work upstairs as a Senior Steward in the restaurant of an evening. I work under our Head Chef, Jason, and from his direction, look after the cafe and make sure everything’s running to plan!”
Q) Have you always had a passion for the hospitality industry?
“When I was younger I travelled quite a lot with my dad, which meant I got to experience a lot of different hotels and restaurants. I loved it and thought I’d like to be involved in the hospitality industry one day, so when I left school I worked in hotels for a few years and it evolved from there. I really enjoy my role at the Nerang RSL and I work with a great bunch of people which makes it even better!”
Q) You recently travelled to Sydney for a food and wine festival to get inspiration for the new 4211 café menu – can you share a little about this?
“I went to a food and wine festival in Sydney for the day with Head Chef Jason, to test a whole range of food and get some inspiration for the new 4211 café menu. It was a fantastic day
and Jason and I were able to bounce ideas off each other and learn about different products. It was really eye-opening and we walked away with some great ideas for the new menu.”
Q) What are some of the key aspects to consider when creating a new menu?
“There are a lot of things to consider when creating a new menu, but for our 4211 Café, we definitely focussed on incorporating dishes that we’re able to produce efficiently using the equipment that we have. It’s not only important that we’re able to cook a nice dish, but also to ensure we can deliver the food on time especially on our busy nights. Another aspect to consider is clientele – it is very important to be practical as not every dish will appeal to every person.”
Q) What is one of your favourite dishes on the new menu and why?
“I have lots of favourites! But I’d have to say the Karaage Chicken Sliders. They were special on our menu a few months ago and our guests absolutely loved them, so we’ve kept them on the menu. It’s just a tasty dish overall and the three sliders are the perfect amount – not too much, but enough to fill you up!”
Q) When you’re not at the RSL, what are you likely doing?
“I enjoy fitness and I’ve run a few half marathons, so I’m usually out running! I also really enjoy spending time with my family and we usually like to visit different restaurants, especially tapas restaurants, or visit gin bars and just enjoy time as a family.”
Elma Wilkinson has visited the Nerang RSL every Friday for a spin on the pokies and a spot of lunch for an impressive 26 years running and was honoured on Friday, October 18 at the club ahead of her 100th birthday at a special morning tea with her nearest and dearest.
Andrew McInnes, General Manager of Nerang RSL, says Elma is a much-loved member of the club.
“It’s long-time members like Elma that truly exemplify what it means to be part of an RSL,” he said.
“By taking an active role in her local community for close to three decades, it’s amazing to see the sheer amount of friends she has made and the connections forged with all the staff.
“She is very much adored by everyone and is truly part of the furniture.
“Elma has visited every single Friday for a total of 26 years running, and we couldn’t be more honoured to celebrate such a huge milestone in someone’s life.
“The morning tea was our way of saying a huge thank you to Elma, and we hope she has an amazing 100th birthday celebration with her friends and family.”
Born in Coraki, New South Wales on October 19, 1919, Elma moved to the Gold Coast with her husband Christopher in 1942, who sadly passed away six years ago.
The couple spent 71 years in marital bliss and after Christopher’s retirement bought a Volkswagen Kombi Van and spent time around Australia fossicking for gemstones.
Elma is the proud matriarch of a large and close-knit extended family, including her children Christine and Robert, seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren.
Elma’s daughter Christine said the 100th birthday celebrations extended over two weeks, culminating at Evans Head for a 60-strong family gathering.
“We wanted to make this mum’s most special birthday yet,” she said.
“It was fantastic to see the Nerang RSL hold this wonderful event for mum and she is adored by several staff members and local visitors.”
Christine says Elma still spritely hops on board the Nerang RSL courtesy bus week after week, and is out and about every day on her own.
“She is an utter free spirit who is completely independent and doesn’t want to be cooped up at home,” she said.
“Everyone in the family jokes that if you want to see Elma, you better make an appointment – she’s never home!
“She knows everyone and is incredibly social for a woman of her age.”
We just had to share a couple of snaps from Elma’s Birthday Bash!
Q) Can you tell us about your role at the Nerang RSL?
“I started at Nerang RSL as a casual gaming attendant and after a few lucky breaks, good timing and some external studying I progressed to Gaming Co-ordinator, and, just last month I celebrated
my 20th anniversary at the Club! My role as Gaming Coordinator is to ensure the Club has all the latest gaming products like Gaming machines, Keno, Bingo and TAB. I also ensure the Nerang
RSL meets all compliance and Responsible Gambling Rules – the Club has actually been inducted into Clubs Queensland’s Hall of Fame for Responsible Gambling, which is a positive aspect for our
Q) You’ve been at Nerang RSL for 20 years – you must have seen a lot of changes around the club including to the Gaming area, can you tell us about this?
“In my time at the Nerang RSL, I have seen three major renovations, with the Club more than doubling in size. One of the biggest changes I have seen is the technology implemented at the Club,
which has enabled guests to do everything from order meals on an IPAD, play Bingo without using a dobber on a PET9 Bingo tablet and place bets on the Melbourne Cup without filling out a ticket, to checking KENO ticket on self serve terminals and use membership cards to collect and transfer money between machines in our Gaming room.”
Q) What’s one of your favourite things that the Nerang RSL does as a Club?
“Being a big sports fan I really enjoy the fundraising the Nerang RSL does for the Men of League Foundation. The Club regularly holds ‘Big Talk’ nights which are an opportunity for the community
to come together to support the Foundation, enjoy a BBQ and listen to a range of guest speakers across the Big Talk events. Everyone is always welcome and it’s a lot of fun, all while raising money for a great cause.”
Q) What is some of the training yourself and staff members have to undertake to ensure the Responsible Service of Gaming?
“All staff have completed their Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Service of Gambling courses. The Club’s Venue managers are also trained Customer Liason Officers, to assist members with responsible gambling concerns.”
Q) What are some of the most exciting prizes the Nerang RSL has given away?
“We’ve given away many great and varied prizes at the Nerang RSL including cars, holidays, boats, a Harley Davidson … and everyone’s favourite, cash!”
Q) What do you enjoy most about working at the Nerang RSL?
“I grew up in a small country town in Northern NSW, where my father was the President of the local Club. The Club was the social hub of the town, so when I moved to the Gold Coast I looked forward to joining something similar. To me, the Nerang RSL has a real village feeling and when you hear the words “I will see you at the Club,” you know exactly what they mean. The Nerang RSL is a very welcoming club with a fantastic environment, so it’s great to be a part of that.”
Q) How did you come across the Nerang RSL and what is your role?
“I was a member of the Nerang RSL and each time I visited the RSL, the staff were so nice and welcoming, and always seemed to be having lots of fun. I really wanted to be part of it and threw in my day job …and the rest is history! I’ve worked at the Club for three and a half years now and I absolutely love it. I’m the Gaming Supervisor, which involves hosting our members, overseeing staff, keeping up to date with new machines and the promotions we’re running, as well as staff training.”
Q) What is a highlight across your time at the Nerang RSL?
“Being a part of the Nerang RSL family. I really enjoy working with the team at the RSL and interacting with our members and guests, it’s simply a great atmosphere. It’s a fantastic community to be a part of and the Club is truly like family.”
Q) Your husband-to-be, Brad, owns local business Catts Purrfect Painting and Carpentry and often lends a hand at the Nerang RSL. Can you tell us about this?
“Brad is the Club’s go-to-guy for everything painting and carpentry! He’s helped with everything from patching holes and re-painting the entire Club, to replacing doors and basically brings out the tools for anything that requires maintenance at the RSL.”
Q) You’ve recently become a grandparent. Congratulations and what are you enjoying most?
“Thank you! Yes, I became a grandparent three months ago. We just love his little smile and it’s nice to go through the baby phase again but also to be able to hand him back, and not have to do all of the hard work!” laughed Justine.
Q) Do you have a favourite dish on the menu at Nerang RSL?
“The Nachos in the Café is one of my favourite go-to options.”
Q) You’ve started planning for this year’s Gold Coast Christmas Light Competition and have made the Top 10 in previous years. Can you tell us about this?
“We’ve entered the Gold Coast Christmas Light Competition since 2012 and absolutely love it; it’s always a bit of fun. There’s a lot of planning that goes into it – we decorate the entire house so, at the moment, we’re deciding what to include in the design. It’s then a matter of pulling out all of the equipment to see what we already have and what we’re going to add to give it a new WOW factor. It’s great to see the community come together to enjoy the displays and Brad’s a big kid at heart, so he loves it.”
Our Senior Steward and all-round superstar, Bianca Daley, was the first employee at Nerang RSL and Memorial Club to be awarded an exclusive scholarship on the back of a recent partnership between Nerang RSL and Australia’s leading university, Bond University, to offer an exciting new scholarship program to its indigenous employees.
The collaboration sees a Nerang RSL indigenous staff member awarded a scholarship on a bi-annual basis, allowing the employee to further excel their career and expertise while continuing to work at the Club.
Having worked across various departments at Nerang RSL for five years, Biancas dedication, commitment and exceptional work ethic prompted the Nerang RSL to explore the scholarship opportunity.
Commencing her Diploma in Business Management in January, Bianca has now reached the six month mark and we caught up with her to chat all-things university, Nerang RSL and more!
Q) How did you first come across Nerang RSL and can you tell us about your roles across your time at the RSL?
“My friend told me about a food and beverage position that was going at Nerang RSL and at the time I was looking for a job so I decided to apply. I got a call a couple of months later, around the time of renovations at the club, and I was asked to come in for an interview. I went in for the interview and within a couple of hours I’d landed the job and started as a waiter upstairs at the Club. Five years later and I’ve worked across various departments including in the café and I’ve been promoted to a Senior Steward position which involves running the café and
making sure all is going to plan!”
Q) You’re in your second semester at Bond University studying a Diploma in Business Management. How is university life treating you, tell us about it!?
“My first semester was a rollercoaster and trying to find balance and consistency was quite a challenge. I got through the semester however and was very proud of myself and now I’m in my second semester and have definitely found balance and consistency> Bond University is such a beautiful place to study and I’m very much enjoying my time!”
Q) What’s it like juggling university and your role at Nerang RSL?
“The support I receive from both Nerang RSL and Bond University is fantastic. If there’s ever a time where I need to be at uni but I’m also working, the RSL is very flexible and encouraging when juggling my university and work schedule. I feel very supported by the Nerang RSL and this support even extends to my assessments – if I ever need an audience to practice a presentation in front of, I know I can always count on the team!
I have a great support network at Bond University as well – I see my tutor twice a week and she helps guide me in terms of completing homework and assessments, to making sure I’m on track with my grades. I feel very supported all round!”
Q) What are you most enjoying about your program?
“Studying a Diploma in Business Management has allowed me to delve into the theory of business and it’s fantastic that I’ve been able to, and continue to, develop my knowledge and understanding to accompany my practical skill set. I really love working at Nerang RSL and am looking forward to continuing to apply my skills, as well as bringing a new skill set
and my new learnings to the workplace.
I’d love to progress into a management position at Nerang RSL and with the renovations at the club nearing including a hotel, it opens up a whole range of possibilities. I’m open to opportunities and excited as to what lies ahead!”
Q) Do you have any special talents, hobbies or interests?
“I used to play soccer and am still really passionate about it!”
Q) When you’re not working or studying, what are you likely doing?
“You’ll usually find me hanging out with my best friends and having lunch, going to one of their houses to have some drinks and catch up, or simply at home relaxing!”
A passion for food and crafting ‘delicious dishes’ is what inspired Nerang RSL and Memorial Club’s Anastasia Romans (Ana) to pursue a career within the kitchen, and last month
the budding chef ’s dreams became a reality, as she completed her full-time apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery.
As the first ever apprentice to complete the extensive course at Nerang RSL, Ana will be recognised at the upcoming International Women’s Day morning tea at the Club.
Ana first stepped foot into the Nerang RSL five years ago, as a School Based Trainee ready to study a Certificate III in Hospitality, but she soon realised that ‘the kitchen’ was calling her name and she couldn’t ignore her prevailing passion for food – so she made the switch to study Certificate III in Commercial Cookery!
In addition to her one-day a week work place commitment at the club, Ana started picking up extra shifts in the kitchen and with her passion growing by the day – she took the leap as a
full-time apprentice in 2016.
The long hours of study and hard work has certainly paid off for Ana, and she’s ecstatic to have reached the special milestone while also feeling humbled by the support of the Nerang RSL.
‘After three years of study and work, I’m very happy to have completed my apprenticeship and its been great to have the support of Nerang RSL ever since stepping through the doors of the club five years ago,” she said.
“I love being part of a team which is genuinely interested in helping me progress my passion and achieve my goals. It has made for a very positive environment, and, a workplace that I was excited to come back to each shift.
“I feel very lucky to have been guided by Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, who has played a large part in my journey at the club. Jason has been extremely supportive and I’ve been able to ask questions, gain insight and learn first-hand from an established chef who believes in my passion and has pushed me to chase my dreams.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to celebrating my apprenticeship with the team at the presentation morning that the club is putting on for me on International Women’s Day.”
Ana said she has enjoyed every moment of her apprenticeship, from the peaks to the challenges, and is excited for what the future holds.
“Whether learning about standards of cookery and hygiene to applying my learning from my book studies and implementing my skill set when working at the club, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience,” she said.
“What stood out to me was the ability to be hands on throughout my apprenticeship. Jason frequently asked me to come up with dishes and provide input into the menu which gave me the opportunity to learn how to make a range of new dishes and gain greater knowledge about different foods.
“My apprenticeship has reinforced my passion for food and cooking and it’s a fantastic feeling to know my hard work has paid off. This qualification has put me in good stead to progress my career, chase opportunities, continue learning and even open up doors to travel which is definitely on my bucket list.”
Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, said he’s very humbled by Ana’s display of passion and dedication and is proud to see her accomplish the milestone.
“Ana’s become a part of the Nerang RSL family so it’s very rewarding to see her reach this milestone and I feel humbled to have played a part in guiding and teaching her throughout
her journey to completing her apprenticeship,” he said.
“Ana’s been able to get involved in many opportunities as part of her apprenticeship at Nerang RSL that other places often don’t offer. She’s been very proactive in creating dishes for our menu and providing input and suggestions across the club which is great to see.”
Having been in the industry for 29 years himself, Jason said it’s exciting to know there are budding chefs like Ana who want to learn and make their mark within the industry.
“A lot of apprentices often come and go, so it’s one thing to get individuals to start apprenticeships but another to see them complete it. It’s a tough industry with long hours so you need to be passionate, dedicated and motivated and throughout her apprenticeship, Ana has shown she’s the making of all these aspects,” he said.
“What makes the occasion even more special is that Ana is the first female apprentice through Nerang RSL to complete a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at our club, so we are very proud of her and look forward to putting on an appreciation morning and presentation to celebrate her achievement.”
Nerang RSL General Manager, Andrew McInnes, said the club has a focus on fostering the development of trainees and apprentices alike and is pleased to have Ana continue as part of the team.
“We put a lot of focus on culture and long-term vision at Nerang RSL and strive to put the time and effort into facilitating opportunities that help individuals who want to learn and pursue their passion,” he said.
“Nerang RSL is very proud of Ana and being one of the most successful apprentices to come through our club, I have no doubt she will continue to succeed, set an example and serve as an invaluable asset to Nerang RSL.”
What brought you to the RSL and what is involved in your role?
“I was looking for something new and a bit of diversity in my role so I decided to apply at the club and have been here for nearly two years now. I started out on the floor and have recently been promoted to Senior Steward at Gallipoli which I’m really enjoying. Some of my tasks within my role include the day to day running of the restaurant, making sure staff are happy and ensuring our customers are having a good experience. My grandfather was the president of the Sub Branch and my sister worked at the club before going on maternity leave so I’ve always known about Nerang RSL and I feel very honoured to now also be involved at the club.”
What do you most enjoy about your role and what is something you look forward to?
“I enjoy being able to walk around and interact with members and guests and there’s always something to do at the RSL which keeps me busy. I’m really looking forward to the learning opportunities that will come from being promoted to a Senior Steward and am also quite excited about the upcoming renovations for Nerang RSL.”
What is your ‘go to’ wine and meal on the menu?
“The Gallipoli Beef Burger is definitely a great option and if I were to recommend a wine, it would be the Amisfield Pinot Noir.”
What is something you’ve learnt along the way at Nerang RSL?
“Nerang RSL is a very supportive environment and there are often numerous training sessions offered to staff so that we can continue to learn in our roles. Through some of these training sessions, I’ve been able to gain a lot of insight into the array of wines and the different products we offer at the club. Andrew McInnes has also taught me a lot which I really appreciate because it’s a great feeling knowing that you have the support of your employer.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“You’ll usually find me at the gym, the beach or relaxing with my partner.”
What brought you to the Nerang RSL and what is your role?
“I handed my application into the club and it progressed from there. I started in February in the bar before becoming a glassy for the #4211SportzBar. I now work throughout the #4211SportzBar with some of my tasks including bartending and helping out with the TAB betting.”
What is something you most enjoy about your role?
“I love that it keeps me busy! I really enjoyed working on ANZAC Day because there were so many people who came to the service and to the club across the day. Melbourne Cup was also a great event to work at because everyone got dressed up, had a bit of fun and it was a great atmosphere overall.”
What is something you would like to learn, or are looking forward to across your time at Nerang RSL?
“I really enjoy working at Nerang RSL – the staff and members are fantastic. I would love to learn a range of aspects across each department and think the administration and promotions departments would be quite interesting.”
Are you involved in any other aspects of the club?
“I’ve been involved in Nerang RSL Netball Club for about six months. A few of the staff members at Nerang RSL encouraged me to join, so I did and currently play in an all-girls team and a mixed team. I really enjoy the sport and played in high school, so it’s great to be able to continue to play.”
In your spare time, what is something you like to do?
“I love to travel and have recently returned from Vanuatu, with a trip to Bali coming up in two months time. I’d also really like to visit Ireland just so I can see how they react to my name.”
How did you get involved with Nerang RSL?
“My sister-in-law was a cashier at the RSL and mentioned to me that they needed staff. I had worked in a casino prior, so I thought it was a perfect fit and decided to apply – I’ve been working at Nerang RSL for 18 years now.”
Can you share a little about your roles?
In my role as a cashier, I handle payouts and help guests within the Gaming lounge. I’ve also been involved in the administration side of things at the Club for about a year now, which I’m really enjoying. One day a week I help the administration team with aspects like membership mail outs, birthdays, welcoming letters for new members, and sending out ‘surprise and delight’ rewards bonuses to our members.”
What do you most enjoy about working at the RSL?
“I love the members! I get to meet many of our older guests and love to have a chat with them when they visit the Gaming Lounge. Having been at the Club for 18 years now, I’ve also worked alongside many other long-standing staff members who I’ve built great friendships with.”
Outside of your time at Nerang RSL, what is something you’d likely be doing?
“Being a professional tennis supporter! My son was a national level tennis player – and is now a professional coach – so I’ve always been very involved in the tennis world in terms of taking my son to training, travelling for tournaments and ultimately supporting his endeavors. I’m ecstatic to still be involved as I got my niece into tennis, so I still get to be the ‘tennis taxi’ and support her and take her to weekend tournaments too. I wouldn’t change a thing because I love being able to see the kids develop and grow doing something they love, in such a great environment.”
What is one of your highlights across your time working at Nerang RSL?
“Over my 18 years, I think the team at Nerang RSL has mastered being BUSY! We’ve become accustomed to the year-round busy schedule at Nerang RSL and I personally love that it keeps me on my toes. I also really enjoy the vibe that our big events bring and find it humbling to watch our services, such as our ANZAC Day proceedings grow year upon year.”