Bankstown RSL – A Venue for all the Community
September 2018 marks 90 years since the establishment of Bankstown RSL. And this year there is a massive redevelopment underway to update the venue’s location and create a truly contemporary destination for Canterbury-Bankstown locals.
With bars, restaurants, entertainment, accommodation and function facilities, the new development will bring the iconic RSL brand into the modern era. The hospitality options will firmly position Bankstown as a great spot for people of all ages to come and enjoy themselves.
The origins of Bankstown RSL go back to 1928, when a group of returned World War I servicemen founded the sub-branch. The RSL was a place for people to go where they could be surrounded by peers who had gone through similar experiences during the war – a place that focussed on people’s welfare. That helped support men and women as they recovered both physically and mentally.
In 1956, a local family donated three blocks of land on Kitchener Parade and the current building was constructed. Over the years, the club steadily grew and always provided the same commitment to its members. Through World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and other military involvements, the RSL’s support has always been unwavering.
During the late 1990s and into the early 2000s the club suffered at the hands of a manager who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. The manager was eventually convicted but the club’s financial position was unsustainable until the new chief executive and board of directors took control in November 2002. With a new business plan and operational restructure, the club worked tirelessly to repay all outstanding debts. The board of seven directors is now overseeing the exciting redevelopment.
“We’ve worked hard to get to where we are … now we want to modernise the RSL to meet the expectations of our local customers.”
New Development Aspirations
Scott Dickson, CEO, explains that the board members understand the need to give the club a more contemporary appeal.
“Traditionally, the RSL supports an ageing segment of the local population but there are so many more people that we want to attract with our entertainment offerings.
Our old, tired entity is being completely reinvented and we want to match, if not exceed, the hospitality of other venues already located in the Bankstown area.”
The redevelopment plan is set to be completed in stages, with the first stage to be launched in January 2019 and the following stages completed within three to six years. The major new construction currently underway will provide the Bankstown community a whole range of new attractions.
- A selection of great restaurants, from casual family dining to more intimate meals.
- A variety of bars, including a fresh new rooftop bar to be completed in the second stage.
- A 125-room hotel, with an extension of 250 more rooms in subsequent development stages.
- Live entertainment spaces.
- Function rooms for small conferences to 200-person events. Plus, in later stages, the addition of a much larger space to facilitate events for up to 600 people.
- Shopfront café and more.
The hope for the new club is that it will appeal to a wider selection of the community. A place where corporates can enjoy a social after-work drink. Families can relax and have a fun, affordable meal. Twenty-somethings can catch a live band on a Saturday night. And empty nesters can brunch on a Sunday. All whilst still providing a safe, comfortable space for returned service men and women to socialise and feel supported.
The New Bankstown
With the demographic changes occurring around Bankstown, Scott expects the area to have a strong city feel within the next five to ten years. He envisages that it could even become as bustling as Parramatta. The new Bankstown RSL club will be the perfect social venue for everyone.
To keep up to date with the redevelopment progress visit Bankstown RSL’s website here www.bankstownrsl.com.au.
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