By Danielle Kutchel
There was plenty to celebrate the Lang Lang RSL Sub-branch’s recent centenary dinner.
More than 150 people came together at the Lang Lang Memorial Hall on April 26th to mark the occasion. The dinner also honoured the service of out-going president Keith Brown. Guests included a large number of local descendants of former presidents, including the grandson of Peter Post, the first president of the Lang Lang RSL, in a special link with the past.
A number of speakers paid tribute to Mr Brown, including Cardinia Shire Mayor Graeme Moore who spoke of his association with Mr Brown and the RSL during his time as a Port Ward Councillor. He was followed by David Zanker, an RAN Commander from HMAS Cerberus, who regaled the crowd with tales of Mr Brown’s naval service and how he came to earn the nickname ‘Bomber Brown’: during training, Mr Brown tried his hand at boxing at the time that Joe Louis (the Brown Bomber) had just won the world heavyweight title. A simple transposition produced Mr Brown’s nickname which stuck with him for the rest of his service. Commander Zanker then presented the outgoing president with several RAN mementos.
Later in the evening Ian Goldie, representing both the president and the CEO of RSL Victoria, presented Mr Brown with a certificate from RSL Australia in honour of 100 years of service.
Following a standing ovation, Mr Brown was overcome with the occasion, but managed to respond with an emotional and heartfelt “thank you” to all involved for their attendance and kind wishes.
In celebration of the sub-branch itself, Mr Goldie also described the service provided to the veterans and their families by the Lang Lang RSL sub-branch, and also the support provided to it by the Women’s Auxiliary – both financial and physical.
The centenary birthday cake was cut by Dallis Cole, the daughter-in-law of a World War 1 veteran and the widow of a World War 2 veteran, both of whom were past presidents of the RSL. Mrs Cole is also the longest-serving member of the Lang Lang RSL and the Women’s Auxiliary.
Peter Hayden, a spokesman for the Lang Lang RSL, said guests were still talking long after the official close of the event.
“It has been a long time since the towns people gathered together for a united cause and they embraced the occasion,” he said.