By Cathy Jones
The Homebush RSL Club was formerly located at 32 The Crescent Homebush. This site was vacated by the Club over twenty years ago. The site is now occupied by a multi-unit development but part of the old memorial garden has been restored, which led to the entry of the Club on The Crescent.
The land was bought in March 1927 by the trustees of the Presbyterian Church. By 1930, a hall was constructed at 32 The Crescent by the Presbyterian Church. On 1 June 1936, the site was transferred to the Returned and Services League (RSL) of Australia to be used as a Homebush RSL Sub Branch.
Renovations and extensions to the building were undertaken to convert the hall to use of the RSL. The building and existing garden was used for Anzac Day celebrations of the RSL subbranch. In 1948, further additions to the building were undertaken, and the garden facing The Crescent and leading to the Club was laid out and dedicated as a memorial garden. Two land parcels at the rear of the building facing Burlington Road were acquired for car parking.
The garden area was bounded by a low face red brick stone wall facing The Crescent, which was the entry to the Club. Part of the wall were two carved polished granite foundation stone tablets commemorating World War 1 and 2, Korean and Vietnam wars. A central path lead straight to the building with a similar path running across the front of the building. To either side of the footpath was a grass lawn area featuring garden beds with roses. Each lawn area contained a flagpole. Along each side of the central pathway were affixed were approximately 300 brass plaques with names of members of the sub-branch who passed away either in the wars or since returning from war enshrined on them.
In 1964, the building and subbranch registered as a club and the front wing of the building was modified. In 1984 the building was sold to the Paraquad Association. The RSL subbranch continued to operate out of a rented section of the building.
In 2001, the RSL relocated its operations to the Homebush Bowling Club in Pomeroy Street Homebush and the plaques were removed from the garden. The Paraquad Association subsequently sold the site. The site has been redeveloped into a large block of residential units and the garden setting has been restored. A new memorial was dedicated in Davey Square, Strathfield, which opened in 2015 featuring copies of the original plaques from the garden facing The Crescent Homebush.