RSL’s foun­da­tion pres­i­dent

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent Thomas Walker, a na­tive of Heath­cote, Vic was in charge of one of the Re­mounts Units in 1915 then aged 53 years.

He went to Egypt and be­came in­volved in Re­mounts camps at Mena and He­liopo­lis.

About 1917 he pur­chased the butcher­ing business of Ge­orge Plum­mer, on Bel­more Street Yar­ra­wonga.

Thomas Walker was trea­surer of the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala RSL Sub Branch in 1919 as well as be­ing a Vice Pres­i­dent.

He died on Novem­ber, 7 1921, aged 59 years. The first duty of the Sub Branch was to ar­range wel­comes to re­turn­ing ser­vice­men and to give them ad­vice and as­sis­tance in the ob­tain­ing of pen­sions and other ben­e­fits pro- vided by the government and to help them re-es­tab­lish them­selves in civil­ian life.

Many had left as boys and re­turned as men, men in need of em­ploy­ment at a time when harsh eco­nomic con­di­tions pre­vailed.

The Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Sub Branch quickly moved into ac­tion and on April 30 1918 ran a dance at which 36 pounds, 8 shillings and 1 pence was raised.

Later that year peace was de­clared and the area cel­e­brated in style.

A grand pro­ces­sion in­volv­ing many horse drawn floats, led by car and a group of uni­formed vet­er­ans, was staged in Yar­ra­wonga whilst each of the area com­mu­ni­ties be­came in­volved in “Wel­come Home” cel­e­bra­tions.

Through­out 1919 the vet­er­ans con­tin­ued to re­turn, and as mem­ber­ship in­creased the Sub Branch de­cided to do its ut­most to ob­tain its own clu­b­rooms.

A sug­ges­tion was made that the top storey of the Yar­ra­wonga Me­chan­ics In­sti­tute be pro­cured but it was de­cided in­stead to speed up a Me­mo­rial Hall project.

To this end, fundrais­ing dances were pro­grammed to be held at Wilby, Telford, Mul­wala, Bur­ramine North, Bur­ramine South, Bun­da­long South and Yar­ra­wonga.

By Septem­ber 1919 an es­ti­mated cost of 1800 for build­ing a Me­mo­rial Hall had been con­sid­ered and plans and spec­i­fi­ca­tions were called for.

Es­ti­mates were to be fur­nished by Mr W Chap­pell.

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