The building is up, the beer taps are connected and the power is on, but there’s still no opening date for the New Atherton RSL Club at Railway lane.
Construction on the new building started in late 2018 and was meant to be finished by ANZAC Day 2019; now there are rumours that it won’t be opened in time for ANZAC day 2020.
The original Atherton RSL Club in Main street closed in July 2008 due to financial hardship, the premises were then sold in August 2009.
According to RSLQLD’s webpage, “After three years of submitting applications, the Sub Branch was finally successful in obtaining a grant from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. The grant was provided on a dollar-for-dollar basis to match what the Sub Branch has saved, along with some revenue received from the sale of the old RSL building by RSL Queensland in 2008.”
It’s believed the new club will have a small bistro, outdoor children’s play area and an undercover area for eating.
It’s also been rumoured that the new club won’t have poker machines.
Requests from the Express to the Atherton RSL Committee have been met with either “no comment” or “we can’t answer that sorry.”
RSL Queensland President Tony Ferris said it was a common misperception that RSL Clubs in Queensland provided veteran welfare services – but this was actually the role of RSL Sub Branches.
“In Queensland, RSL Clubs are commercial entities and most are not owned or operated by the RSL,” Mr Ferris said.
“RSL Clubs are licensed entertainment venues which may – or may not – provide some of their proceeds back to local RSL Sub Branches for veteran welfare activities..”
“The Mareeba and Atherton RSL Sub Branches have not closed and will continue to support local veterans as they have for many years.”
So why all the mystery?