Wes Wridgway has lived in Doreen for 13 years and is the president of the new Doreen RSL sub-branch.
What is your connection to Doreen?
I am the president of the newly chartered Doreen RSL sub-branch – the newest RSL in Australia.
How long have you lived in the area?
My wife and I built our home here 13 years ago.
What do you like about living in Doreen?
I love the country atmosphere within Doreen. It was marketed as a “town just out of town” and I really believe it is. You can go down to the shops or the many parks and bump into people you know. We have our own football, netball and basketball clubs, and as you know, any sporting club or facility will generally pull the locals together. Our local shopping strip is a very friendly and welcoming place – busy with shoppers as well as people catching up for a coffee or lunch or a drink.
Are you involved in any community groups outside of the RSL?
I am also involved with the Laurimar Football Club. I help out in their bar and generally help out where I can. They are a great bunch of locals who devote their time to a worthy community group which provides a magnificent sporting outlet for hundreds of the local kids of all ages.
How long have you been an RSL member, and what does it mean to have a branch in Doreen?
I was a member of the Australian Defence Force for about 24 years, so I guess I have been in and around RSLs most of my working life. It would mean a lot to me and our community to have our own RSL facility here in Doreen. The nearest RSL facilities – in Epping, Greensborough or Watsonia – are too far away for me or any of our members to regularly attend. It would provide a place where veterans and their families could gather with the support of the local community. It would enable us to provide the relevant services to our members and the wider community from an established home and provide a safe area for those veterans who are having difficulty.
Where is your favourite place to spend time?
I have a few depending on my mood. The local shopping strip where all of the businesses are welcoming and it’s a great place to catch up with friends; the footy club to watch a bit of local sport and have a few drinks with the members; and then there is Jojayz Cafe, which is the current home of the Doreen RSL, where we meet every Friday night from 5.30pm for a social drink, chat and to solve the problems of the world with a great bunch of locals.
If someone had never been to Doreen before, what would you say to entice them to the area?
I would say that Doreen is a warm and friendly community flush with great local parks and playgrounds. There is a sporting team or club for everyone. And if sport is not your thing, there are a large number of other social or community groups that would cover any other interest that you may have. We have a great range of shops and eateries, we are close to the mountains and only a short drive to the country. I love where we live.