Newport RSL has been saved after the sub-branch last week elected a new committee to reopen the doors.
The club closed in early August as Victorian RSL examined the sub-branch’s financial position.
Matters were brought to a head after the sub-branch failed to pay a staff member and the rent on its Market Street club to the state government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
RSL Victoria state secretary Mike Annett chaired an extraordinary general meeting at the club on Tuesday last week.
“At the end of the meeting, we had a new committee that has essentially got as its intention to run a traditional sub-branch,” he said.
“The Victorian branch provided some assistance to the Newport branch last year to make sure that any of their existing obligations were satisfied and in ensuring that there was no outstanding debt hanging over the sub-branch head.
“We’ve saved a sub-branch and, more to the point, it’s a sub-branch that’s now got very much a focus on the core purpose of the league, which is to look after veterans, run commemorations, run local education and raise funds through the appeals for veterans’ services. And, of course, comradeship.”
New president Bob Gladysz, who was in the last intake for national service during the Vietnam war, said members had been emotional when they learnt the club was in danger of closing.
“It shocked a lot of people, it took them by surprise,” he said.
He said the community had rallied around the club when it learnt of its plight, with membership now numbering about 100.
While the committee is yet to hold its first meeting, Mr Gladysz said the club was open for business.
“It’s going to run on a firm voluntary basis,” he said. “We can’t employ a barman or anything like that.
“Everything that’s going to be done with the club will be voluntary.”
The RSL is conducting a membership drive.