Soldiers who returned from Gallipoli, with hopes & aspirations for the future, formed a Branch of the Returned Soldiers’ Association in Bendigo on 23 December 1915. The first office of the new branch was established at No 9 Commonwealth Chambers, Charing Cross in January 1916. The first official meeting of the new branch took place on 27 January 1916, and the first elections were held on 3 February 1916.


The Bendigo branch was the first to be formed in Victoria outside of Melbourne. The Bendigo, Eaglehawk and Kangaroo Flat RSL Cooperative Society Ltd was formed in 1977 as a joint venture between Bendigo, Eaglehawk and Kangaroo Flat Sub-Branches of the RSL. Licensed club facilities were built in Havilah Road and were opened in December 1979 and the Bendigo District Servicemen’s Club was formed to operate the Club.


In 2000, Bendigo RSL was asked by ANZAC House to take over the operations of the Servicemen’s Club and the assets and liabilities of the Cooperative. On 1 January 2001, Bendigo RSL Sub-Branch became Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch Inc. in recognition of this changed role.


23 December 1915

A Branch of Returned Soldiers’ Association formed in Bendigo

27 January 1916

First record of an office at No 9 Commonwealth Chambers, Charing Cross

February 1916

Social and meeting facilities established in the YMCA Building, High Street

25 April 1916

First ANZAC Day Service held in Bendigo

July 1916

First RSL Vic State Conference

28 September 1916

RSL Australia sanctioned Bendigo District RSL Sub Branch birthday

18 July 1917

Bendigo City Council invited designs and estimates for the Interim Honor Roll

5 August 1922

Eaglehawk War Memorial unveiled

25 April 1933

First recorded ANZAC Day Dawn Service held in Bendigo

February 1998

RSL Museum began operations in the Soldiers’ Memorial Institute

1 January 2001

Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch Inc. formed

29 June 2007

Bendigo RSL office moved to Havilah Road

9 September 2016

Bendigo Military Museum closed to the public for redevelopment

15 November 2018

Museum officially re-opened


To be the single point of contact for all veterans and their dependents that provides best practice services and support, and is financially sustainable.


To support the physical and mental wellbeing of our veterans and their dependents, and to commemorate current and past service personnel.



The BDRSL has developed five goals to enable the BDRSL to achieve its mission.


Goal 1 – Support all current serving personnel, veterans and their dependents with the available resources of the BDRSL


Goal 2 – Commemorate the commitment and sacrifice of all Australians and partners who have served in the armed forces


Goal 3 – Operate & maintain a corporately responsible business model to ensure the ongoing economic and social wellbeing of the BDRSL


Goal 4 – Increase engagement with veterans through ongoing health & Wellbeing activities


Goal 5 – Developing our people


These core values from the foundation in which the BDRSL performs work and conducts itself, they are:


MATESHIP  – to support each other and to simply be there to listen


RESPECT – for ourselves, to our families, to our community and to our nation


RECOGNITION – of service, and sacrifice of our past and current veterans and their families


INCLUSIVE AND SUPPORTIVE – of all veterans, members and the community


TRANSPARENT – to be open and honest and act with integrity in all our dealings


EDUCATE – the community on the legacy of those who have served in the ADF