Community outraged as Dalby RSL comes to bitter end

The Dalby RSL has closed, with its last day of trade on Australia Day.
The Dalby RSL has closed, with its last day of trade on Australia Day. Nancy Evans

THE Dalby RSL sub-branch president has blamed "financial matters" for the shock decision to close the iconic Drayton St club after trading finished on Australia Day.

The Dalby community has been outraged after the announcement made to the club's 38 staff just 24 hours before the final beer was poured on Sunday night.

Dalby RSL sub-branch president Graham Coles slammed a suggestion that the decision to close the club - of which RSL Queensland holds 51 per cent ownership - had not been a combined effort.

"Closing the Dalby RSL has been an agreement with both the Dalby RSL committee and state advisers owing to financial matters," he said in a statement.


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The club did not specify the nature of the "financial matters".

In his statement, Mr Coles said the club had "been struggling since 2009" and pointed the finger of blame at numerous factors, including the 2011 and 2012 flood events, as well as "the younger generation these days thinking the RSL is for older people".

The club is a popular venue for school formals and weddings, and Mr Coles said all creditors would "be paid in full".

"We are all upset to see such an icon close down but circumstances have our hands tied," he said.

The president's comments come as little comfort to the club's former employees.

One axed staff member told The Dalby Herald they believed they would struggle to find another hospitality job locally.

"I honestly don't know what my plans are at this stage," they said when poured a beer for a patron who had come for a final drink.

"If 40 of us are looking for the same kind of job in a place the size of Dalby, what are the chances we'll all get one?"

Mr Coles said the Dalby RSL sub-branch would remain operational.

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