Members statements: ESSENDON RSL CENTENARY

CARROLL (Niddrie—Minister for Crime Prevention, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support) (13:49): On Sunday, 15 March, I joined members of my community at Windy Hill to celebrate the centenary of the Essendon RSL, a wonderful celebration in the company of the mayor, Cr Samantha Byrne; the state president of the Victorian RSL, Dr Robert Webster, OAM; the president of the Essendon RSL, Mr Ange Kenos; the secretary, Kaye Truscott; the treasurer, Denise Denny; longstanding Keilor East local John Griffiths and many members of our community to celebrate this important milestone, the centenary of the Essendon RSL.

The First World War officially ended on Monday, 11 November 1918, but its impact was long-lasting on the local Moonee Valley community. Soldiers returned home, bringing with them the Spanish flu, and many contracted it. Schools were closed and people wore white masks in public. In 1919, as a result of the outbreak, the former Essendon High School became an emergency hospital, accommodating 100 patients.

By 1919 many of our war heroes had returned. On 1 January 1920 the Essendon RSL was born. The Essendon RSL has spent over 100 years looking after our returned soldiers but also looking after their dependents and supporting them and helping them with their struggles whenever they need to. We have a very proud history in Moonee Valley, whether it be Sandy the war horse located in Maribyrnong at the former defence site, or whether it be the many streets located around our municipality named in honour of our war heroes. I want to congratulate the Essendon RSL for their fine work over 100 years.