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.”
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.
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!