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Ferntree Gully

Belgrave

Mail Covering the Dandenongs in the Yarra Ranges & Cardinia Shires

5

Staying Roadwise

Tuesday, 17 January, Tuesday January 2017

11 million passengers

2

A Mail News Group publication

17-18

Best in local sport

Phone: 5957 3700 Trades and Classifieds: 1300 666 808

RSL under threat THE Upwey-Belgrave RSL is facing the prospect of closing its doors after the conclusion of this year’s Anzac Day services. While the committee of management is fighting hard to keep open the much-loved site, a lack of patron support is making it difficult for the notfor-profit entity to be viable as an organisation. They are calling on the community to make a determined effort to show their support, or they may be forced to turn over management to the head body, RSL House. If that scenario becomes a reality, there exists the possibility RSL House may consider introducing poker machines in order to save the venue. Treasurer Beth Quilty said they would fight to keep in place the present set-up. “We get more than 3000 people here on Anzac Day every year, but that can be the only day we see many,” she said. “Membership is not enough to keep the RSL viable and it may end up in the hands of RSL House in Melbourne. “They’re known to have a warehouse full of poker machines; if that’s the way they decide to go, then it’s out of our hands. “RSL House isn’t in the business of closing RSLs.” Ms Quilty said that would be a tragedy for the muchloved venue. “Poker machines are one income stream we don’t have, but this does make it a family friendly venue,” she said. “We have free entertainment every Friday and live entertainment on Sunday.” Also taking up the fight is Yarra Ranges Shire Mayor, Noel Cliff, who has a more than 20-year association

with the RSL. Cr Cliff has put up his hand to work behind the bar on a Friday, an offer he was only too happy to take up. “We don’t want to have an RSL with poker machines,” Cr Cliff said. “I doubt whether we (Yarra Ranges Council) would support that; it changes the whole game for the area. “This is a community RSL space with a great atmosphere, I don’t mind helping out for something like this. “It won’t be a one-off either; I’m committed to helping them out. “Drop in and enjoy a pot and a chat, it’d be a great way to support the RSL.” To help in the fight for viability, the RSL has revived its bistro, which they have rebranded ‘Poppies’, a symbol synonymous with the RSL. The decor is bright and inviting, with friendly staff and a world-class executive chef overseeing the menu and operations in the kitchen. The menu has been totally revised with the introduction of ‘seniors’ meals and the return of old favourites, like roast of the day, chicken schnitzel and old-fashioned fish ‘n’ chips. A modern section has also been added with ‘New Adventures’, designed to appeal to those who wish to explore a broader spectrum of tastes. In addition, the RSL is also home to the Running Rabbits Museum. The museum is Museums Australia accredited and displays memorabilia donated by local members of the community - it also conducts lowcost tours for Scouts, school groups and nursing homes. The museum is also open on Thursday and Sunday mornings, or by appointment.

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THE next generation of Puffing Billy enthusiasts took control of the local icon on Saturday 14 January. The youngest, most dedicated volunteers aged under 35 years were acknowledged for their important work on the railway, with almost every key role on the day carried out by young volunteers. Among the newest drivers was Alex Maciver, 34, who recently passed his driving theory and practical assessment after 12 months of training. Alex is pictured centre front Picture: GREG CARRICK from left with Simon Walker and other young volunteers. 163827

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Mail - Ferntree Gully Mail - 17th January 2017