History

The Cronulla Sub Branch of the Returned Sailor’s Soldier’s Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA) leased their first club rooms at the Cecil Hotel, now the site of the Cecil Apartments, back in November 1942.

 

They were colourful days and the Saturday night social/dance nights were infamous, said to attract people from across the state. It’s also rumoured that the first poker machines installed there were reportedly smuggled into the country in the noses of war planes… at least until customs officials discovered them, of course.

 

Just over three years later the sub branch purchased what was known as the “Whitelaw” land in Gerrale Street and the first club building was officially opened by the Governor of NSW on May 16, 1953.

 

It was registered as the Cronulla RSL Memorial Club in June 1953 with over 500 members. Activities included housie, fishing, swimming, cricket, billiards and snooker. By 1960 membership had grown to 1,483 and darts, table tennis, golf, indoor bowls and in anticipation of the new bowling green the first outdoor bowls sub club was formed.

 

The club has gone from strength to strength over the decades. The Cronulla “arrey” is now a local institution and shire landmark. Membership these days exceeds 30,000 with the most recent refurbishments taking full advantage of the clubs’ spectacular beach side location, whilst still paying homage to its history.