Veteran calls out club’s change to tradition
A TWEED Heads veteran has called into question the ending of a longstanding tradition at Twin Towns, the daily honouring of the fallen at 6pm.
For many decades, the club, like many RSLs around the country, played the Ode to the fallen, followed by a minute’s silence and the bugler’s Last Post.
This was carried out regularly in the club’s Members Lounge which was a separate area from the rest of the club.
However with the creation of new spaces in the building in 2013, the open plan of the club meant since that time, there has been a clash between the areas where the Ode is played and where it has been observed, sometimes resulting in embarrassment and even conflict according to a Twin Towns statement.
However former National Serviceman and Twin Towns member Peter Murphy is critical of the decision and slammed the Board of the club which he said was “was built on the pride of those who served in the Australian military arms”.
“This is an incidence of disrespect by this club’s decision makers – at the playing of the Ode and Last Post every evening for decades, there has been no attempt to have poker-machine playing patrons honour the minute’s silence in the main body of the club,” Mr Murphy said. “They just keep the reels spinning and the bells ringing while other patrons are on their feet saying ‘Lest We Forget’.’
Those in the dance floor area, even the band have in the past stopped for the Ode.
“How much would it cost the club to stop for just one minute to honour the price paid by so many for this country.”
Board Chairman Michael Fraser said it was not practical to run the Ode through the whole club due to people dining and not being able to have the machinery shut down for small periods to ensure a quiet environment.
“The decision was taken by the Board to cease playing the Ode and to reserve this commemoration for the key days of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day when it can be observed through the whole club without conflict,” Mr Fraser said.
The veteran Twin Towns member was also critical of the apparent “loss” of another club tradition, the removal of hats inside.
“And as if ’grounding arms’ on the playing of the Ode wasn’t enough, the club has also ruled that men can now enter the multistorey premises wearing hats. I consider this another insult to member soldiers of all ages,’ Mr Murphy said.
“The whole idea of the banning of wearing hats in all RSL clubs around the nation is out of respect to the fallen. It’s a form of salute to those who fought and died for their country in all theatres of wars for more than 100 years.
“In all remembrance services around the world, it is tradition for men to remove hats out of respect for those who lost their lives in the service of their country.
“Instead, it would seem this disrespectful decision is to attract a younger crowd through the club’s doors to boost revenue without having specific dress regulations.”
The issue of dress codes is one which is confronting clubs across NSW and not just Twin Towns.
But the issue has been raised at the club from many members and Mr Fraser said the decision regarding hats had been taken to reflect contemporary membership and community attitudes.
“The tradition of requiring males to remove their hats is one with a military background but in a society where hats are very much the norm and gender equity is a requirement, we think the time has come to change our rules,” he said.
“Many members and patrons are not aware that Twin Towns Services Community Club is a separate entity to the Coolangatta Tweed Heads RSL Sub-Branch, with the Sub-Branch office located in a separate building.
“Both affiliated associations work extremely well together, sharing common goals and philosophies and at a recent informal consultation between the groups, the RSL supported and understood the club’s need to change in these ways.”
The Murwillumbah Ex-Services Club and the Currumbin RSL Club both continue to play the Ode at 6pm and require men to remove their hats when entering the building.