Remuera Returned Soldiers Social Club 1932-2002

Sir George Richardson

The Remuera Returned Soldiers Social Club was founded in 1932 by Sir George Richardson, who lived at 20 Omahu Rd, Remuera, (on the corner of Platina and Omahu roads) and who became both a member and the patron of the club.


He had been a master gunner who came to New Zealand in 1891 as an instructor in gunnery. On 16 April 1907 he was commissioned as a captain in the New Zealand Militia, and became chief instructor of artillery services. It was noted in 1909 that he was ‘the hardest worked officer in the service’. He rose rapidly through the New Zealand military forces and was New Zealand’s representative on the Imperial General Staff at the War Office in London during World War 1. He saw service in Belgium, Gallipoli, France and Greece. He did so well that he became New Zealand’s military representative in London, as well as taking charge of the administration of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and commanding all New Zealand troops in the United Kingdom. He received many awards – a CMG, a CBE and CB and was knighted in 1925 (KBE).

He worked assiduously for returned servicemen, especially the disabled. In May 1935 he entered local body politics as a member of the Auckland City Council; he was deputy mayor at the time of his sudden death on 11 June 1938, survived by his wife and five children. Two thousand people attended the funeral service of this unpretentious man, who never forgot his humble beginnings and who throughout his military career, at least, displayed a rare ability to engender confidence among his superiors and loyalty from those serving under him.

Sir George Richardson [1]

St Aidans Xmas Party


He was president of the Auckland Returned Services Association and died aged 70 at his home at 20 Omahu Rd in 1938. The N Z Herald reported on 1st August 1938 that when he died in 1938 a subscription was raised among club members to purchase a memorial portrait to be installed at the clubrooms. Colonel H W Dawson performed the unveiling and paid tribute to the soldier and the man. Great admiration and appreciation was expressed for the work he had done among the returned men and after the unveiling buglers sounded the “Last Post.” Mr. S. Hamlin sang “Requiem” and the buglers sounded “Reveille.” Mr. Kenneth Richardson and Mr. Hugh Richardson, sons of Sir George, were guests of the gathering.

The Remuera Returned Soldiers Social Club prospered from the beginning. It was not part of the official Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) and on 7th November 1938, Remuera voted to oppose the proposal that all social clubs be converted into sub-branches of the RSA, in view of a lack of information.

RRSC was leasing the hall at 77 Green Lane East and due to an increasing number of veterans from the 2nd N Z Expeditionary Force in WW2, it purchased the hall and house in 1941 from John Summerville Hope for £1100, without any call for public assistance. There is no information regarding the beginning of the hall but the house was built around 1919 for Kathleen Blenda Coleman, wife of Laurence Harcourt Coleman, horse trainer.

Club activities at the hall included social functions and club life, smokos and smoke concerts, indoor bowls which included mixed pairs and an annual Christmas party at St Aidan’s for members’ children. Pastoral care included the constant care of ex-servicemen in the district who, through war disability, sickness and other misfortunes, faced hardship and straitened financial circumstances, while members’ wives had rendered great service in assisting the wives and families of men overseas in the present war, by making baby trousseaux and children’s garments for the Auckland Patriotic Fund.

In October 1940 the Club agreed to make the hall available for forming a Ladies Guild for the benefit of wives and children of men serving in the forces.  The Ladies Sewing Circle was endorsed and approved to be known as the Auxiliary Committee of the Club.

Certificate of Incorporation RRSSC 1941


The Remuera Returned Soldiers Club was then incorporated as an incorporated society on 8th August 1941, becoming the Remuera Returned Services Club. After incorporation in 1941, annual reports were filed with the Companies Office and are kept at Archives New Zealand. In 1943 there were 291 members and a building fund had £745. In 1944 there were a growing number of members from the 2nd N Z Expeditionary Force of WW2 and £1354 in the building fund. In 1945 with “severe pressure” of growing membership from WW2 veterans, and total inadequacy of the present premises, which were held to be old and outdated, plans were well on foot to pull it down and replace it with a modern structure. Plans were prepared for a two-storey building to provide offices, dressing rooms and sports rooms for the club’s activities and opportunities for catering for many which at present have to be indulged in only to a very limited extent. The aim of an appeal made to the people of the district and well-wishers of the club is to raise £6000 or £7000 to carry out the full plans as designed.

Remuera Ex-Sevicemens Club


Image: The small low-roofed structure on the left is all the accommodation Remuera Ex-Servicemen’s Club has for its rapidly-rising membership. It has purchased the property, also the adjoining section and residence, and proposes building modern, up-to-date club premises. AUCKLAND STAR 8 APRIL 1944

The Remuera Round reported that the accepted tender for the new club house was £8,910 but so far the response by the public to the appeal for necessary funds had been disappointing. Before it made the appeal, the club had already raised about £3,000 by its own efforts. In 1945 the mortgage on the property was discharged and the club premises became free of debt. The plans for the new building were almost completed and the president said that provided the War Building Comptroller is favourably disposed and that the requisite materials are obtainable, a start can soon be made. The result of the circular appeal to Remuera residents has to date been very disappointing. Only £260 has been received. However, more is expected when the appeal is followed up by personal interviews. The Building Fund held £ 2320.12.3d. By December 1945 the old hall had been pulled down (Remuera Round Dec 5th 1945).

Club rooms & ground bought & paid for by the Returned Men of WW1. Club to welcome & hand over debtfree to Remuera returned men and women who served in WW2


The Remuera Round reported that the accepted tender for the new club house was £8,910 but so far the response by the public to the appeal for necessary funds had been disappointing. Before it made the appeal, the club had already raised about £3,000 by its own efforts. In 1945 the mortgage on the property was discharged and the club premises became free of debt. The plans for the new building were almost completed and the president said that provided the War Building Comptroller is favourably disposed and that the requisite materials are obtainable, a start can soon be made. The result of the circular appeal to Remuera residents has to date been very disappointing. Only £260 has been received. However, more is expected when the appeal is followed up by personal interviews. The Building Fund held £ 2320.12.3d. By December 1945 the old hall had been pulled down (Remuera Round Dec 5th 1945).

Remuera Ex-Sevicemens Club


Image: The small low-roofed structure on the left is all the accommodation Remuera Ex-Servicemen’s Club has for its rapidly-rising membership. It has purchased the property, also the adjoining section and residence, and proposes building modern, up-to-date club premises. AUCKLAND STAR 8 APRIL 1944

The Remuera Round reported that the accepted tender for the new club house was £8,910 but so far the response by the public to the appeal for necessary funds had been disappointing. Before it made the appeal, the club had already raised about £3,000 by its own efforts. In 1945 the mortgage on the property was discharged and the club premises became free of debt. The plans for the new building were almost completed and the president said that provided the War Building Comptroller is favourably disposed and that the requisite materials are obtainable, a start can soon be made. The result of the circular appeal to Remuera residents has to date been very disappointing. Only £260 has been received. However, more is expected when the appeal is followed up by personal interviews. The Building Fund held £ 2320.12.3d. By December 1945 the old hall had been pulled down (Remuera Round Dec 5th 1945).

RRSC Hall 2002


However in 1947 the AGM held at the Remuera Library hall on 15th May 1947 told a different and frustrating story: the year under review has been one of the most difficult in the club’s history. Those wide activities which came to be regarded as normal over a long period of years continue to be curtailed by the lack of a home. It is greatly to be regretted that this should have happened at a time when membership is continually increasing and it is becoming more and more desirable that a hall should be available. Application for a permit to build the 2 storey hall was made to the Building Comptroller in Auckland and the club received an assurance that such a permit would be granted. A contract for the hall was let and signed, and the old hall was offered for sale by public tender. The highest tender was accepted and its demolition proceeded with.

It was only on application being made by the builder for his permit to proceed after the site had been cleared that the club was advised that owing to a change of policy the permit would not now be granted. After a lengthy and fruitless correspondence with the Building Comptroller in Auckland and Wellington, it was decided to make a personal appeal to the Minister by a visit to Wellington of five members. The local Remuera M.P. Ronald Algie introduced them to the Minister of Works, the Hon. Robert (Bob) Semple. The Minister gave them a long and sympathetic hearing and stated that if he were able to help them, he would do so. A letter was however later received from him stating that owing to housing difficulties and shortage of materials, the permit could not then be granted, but he invited them to reapply in 6 months’ time. The application was renewed at the end of that period and after a considerable delay an uncompromising note was received from the Local Building Comptroller advising that the permit had again been deferred.

The Club then decided to look for a suitable army building which could be dismantled and re-erected on site.

Two buildings as part of the Radar Buildings Kohimarama Road were identified as being suitable for the club’s purposes to be purchased from the War Assets Realisation Board in 1947. However, it was decided to proceed with the purchase of the Purewa Naval Buildings which housed wireless radio transmitters during WW2. But again, the buildings were taken over by a government department, so attention was turned to a building at Ardmore measuring 50 ft by 19 ft but which had been partially dismantled and its materials sent to Sylvia Park. The Club submitted a tender of £393 for the Ardmore buildings, with the other two lots of materials totalling £639.4.5d.

Indoor bowls were held in the Remuera Library hall. Attendances had shown a marked falling off and that the mixed evenings have been temporarily suspended. The lack of facilities to provide any refreshments has been a deterrent factor.

Lt Col Peter Harvey Bell


In 1948 the club reported that the new hall was in the process of being erected and was proceeding rapidly to completion. The new clubrooms were opened on the afternoon of the Saturday 31st July 1948. Major-General Peter Harvey Bell, C.B. D.S.O., pictured left, of 82 Victoria Avenue presided over a large assembly of members, their wives and guests, the latter including Brigadier Ronald S. Park and the President of the RSA, Mr A. P. Postlethwaite.

His final charge delivered in declaring the building open now appears in the entrance hall. The charge said “This is to be the home of the Remuera Returned Services Club. May politics, petty bickering, malicious suspicion, uncertainty and bitterness never enter its doors. May it always be the home of loyalty, service, good fellowship, and charity in thought and deed. May its member always find here rest and relaxation, sympathetic understanding, and inspiration for that service for others that seeks no reward and which will, I hope, always be one of the high ideals of the Remuera Returned Service Club. I formally declare this building open.”

Smoke concerts were held on the last Saturday of each month in the new hall. Indoor bowls again came to the fore on greens that were described as second to none in Auckland. Membership now stood at 445. The cost of the new hall had been £6322.10.10. Funds collected were £4801 with £1991 owed to the bank.

The Smoko concerts featured various artists, including Messrs Charlie Massee, Joe Cox, Ron Baker, Ron Jensen Mr Hill and the 5th Battalion Orchestra. (1943). Messrs Carlson, Hall, Mitchell and Mr Scoffin, George Wade’s Band and the Piano Accordion Players. (1943); Mr Carlton (pianist), Shorty Jamieson, Harold Hibbs, Snowy Allen and Alan McElwain (1944). Dances were also held from time to time and engaged Plimmers Orchestra with Mr L Ewen as M.C.

In 1951 five smoke concerts were held during the year. With the exception of the ANZAC smoko, the attendances were recorded as being disappointing and revenue had suffered accordingly. Greg Smith conducted the orchestra and the artists but dances had also not been a payable proposition. In 1952 the number of financial members today was drifting from the peak of 450 when the clubrooms were opened. However, thanks to donations, the club’s indebtedness to the Bank had been reduced from £1518 to £1000. In 1956 there were 450 members but only 200 had paid their subscriptions. By 1959 the club’s roll was nearly 400 but of these only 156 members were financial. The yearly subscription was only 5 shillings. However, the Poppy day collection raised £356.12.1d, the smokos held during the year were very successful but all showed a small loss, mainly due to the high cost of refreshments.

Remuera Memorial to the Fallen. In July 1949 the committee gave its support to a proposed parents’ memorial on Mount Hobson in the form of a stone seat, sundial and plaque.

It was not until 1951 that a Ladies Committee was inaugurated with members being wives, and/or daughters of members. However, the Ladies Committee felt there had been insufficient guidance from the Executive in relation to money being held by the Committee. From their weekly bowling evenings, the Committee had obtained revenue but there had been no regular contributions to the Club’s funds. It was agreed that the Ladies Committee would make the same contribution as the men’s bowling evenings. In 1954 the Ladies Auxiliary was disbanded due to a lack of confidence by the Club Committee.

In 1954 the Club Committee resolved to acquire a strip of land from Mr Oliver the neighbour for £50 which was 50 feet wide at the back of the hall to enable a stage to be built.

Indoor bowls cartoon


Indoor bowls continued to be a very important function of the club, with a great proportion of the club’s revenue derived from this source. Buster Stilton and his committee were congratulated on having stimulated interest in this area. Mrs E V Stilton & Mrs K M Pearce won the Auckland Pairs Championship. 1966 saw a record poppy day collection of £561.10.0. But the committee flagged that unless the Children’s and Diggers Christmas parties had more support, due consideration should be given to cancelling the children’s party. Also very few Diggers turned up for the annual cocktail party and due consideration should be given to cancel this function also.

As recommended by the last AGM, the Club affiliated with the Auckland RSA. In 1980 it was resolved that the name of the Remuera Returned Services Club be changed to the following, due to the amalgamation of the Remuera and Epsom Returned Services Clubs (Inc) – Remuera-Epsom Returned Services Club Inc.

The Epsom RSA had not started until 1944 and Jack Baker of Epsom recorded his memories of the Epsom RSA as being in an “ex-Yank Army Nissen hut where John Killeen (signwriter and father of artist Richard Killeen) ran dances on Saturday nights.” Due to diminishing membership, the club dissolved itself and remaining members joined forces with the Remuera club. The Nissen hut near the southeastern corner of Green Lane and Manukau Roads was demolished by the regional roading authority to make way for the “Greenlane highway”. A plaque from the Nissen hut which had been missing for 30 years was found in the Remuera club rooms in 2005 and returned to the Epsom and Eden Historical Society.

Thirty years later the Remuera-Epsom Returned Services Social Club suffered the same fate. The Remuera-Epsom Returned Services Club was removed from the Companies Office Register on 4th March 2002. The land described in the schedule being a surplus asset of the society was vested in the Wild Trust. A substantial part of the cash held by the Remuera Epsom Returned Services Club was paid to the Ranfurly Home, plus a further $7,000 on deposit was also paid to the Ranfurly Home.

In the 1980s many donations were made to local organisations:

Remuera Intermediate School £ 100

Red Cross £ 50

Salvation Army £100.00

Crippled Children £50.00

St Chads Scouts £33.70

Telethon £100.00

Plunket Society £20.00

St Chads Scouts £20.00

World Vision £50.00

Landslip Appeal 50.00

Brownies Girl Guides, Radio Telephone Air Cadet League, Save the Children, Cancer Society, Paraplegic Society.

Cornwall Players Poster


The Cornwall Players Dramatic Society Inc were regular users of the club hall. They were founded in 1985 for the purpose of bringing theatre art and entertainment to the One Tree Hill Borough and regional area and to allow the ‘first-timer’ to go without embarrassment or fear, where they would be accepted and encouraged to show their talent.

The Cornwall Players were the brainchild of Heather McKenzie with Robin Smith and Margo Hodgson, with A J Burney as Acting Chairman. Their first productions were the “Music Hall” in the Jack Dickey Hall and a wartime “Army Revue” in the Remuera –Epsom RSC Hall. Key players were Arch Goodfellow, John Mellor, and Kate Appleton. They ceased performing in the hall in 2004.

Last Post 

Sometimes the annual reports listed the deaths of members under Last Post:

1948 F E (Sammy) Watson (a foundation member of the club), John Newsome, Bill Lyon.

1949 Cyril Moses, Bill McLaren, W J Mills, J WS Pennalligen

1950 R Lamb, Alf. Lynch, J A Stanton, L Asher, H Langton

1951 W Speary, Dick White-Parsons, Dave McPherson, H Strickland, Scott Colville

1952 J Boggs, H R McDonald, F L Little, N L Taylor

1953 C Linehan, W Hagen, S Hamlin, Thos. Duff

1954 Duncan Campbell, Tom Gaunt, H Rennison, J Woodhall A E (Bert) Lincoln who was Hospital visitor for the Auckland RSA. General Peter Harvey Bell, Joe Cox. Jack Young, Harry Emus.

Members of the Remuera Returned Services Club

When the club rules were registered in 1941, they were signed, often with indecipherable handwriting, by:

  1. William Donald, House xxx, 8 Ngapuhi Rd, Remuera
  2. Leonard Sanderson, Builder, 11 Abbotts Way, Remuera
  3. Norman Cyril Tucker, Accountant, 23 Dexter Ave, Mt Eden
  4. Harold William Gibson, Butcher, Greenlane
  5. William Reid McLaren, Commercial Traveller, 37 Ranfurly Rd, Epsom
  6. Sydney Nelson Bain, Contractor, Remuera
  7. William Henry Kempin, Mechanic, Remuera
  8. George F Forrest, Stationer, 58 Maungakiekie Ave, Epsom
  9. Tom Newsham, Carpenter, Remuera
  10. John Alexander Young, branch manager, Epsom. Boundary Rd, Papatoetoe
  11. Arthur Charles Tye, Horticultural Instructor, Remuera
  12. Wiliam Clifford Coutts, Postmaster, Epsom
  13. James Gibson, Boilermaker, 207c Gt South Rd, Greenlane, Remuera
  14. Leonard Hardley, Wickerworker, 57 Meadowbank Rd, Remuera
  15. Henry James Tizard, Customs Officer, 35 Waiatarua Rd, Remuera
  16. E Baxter, Manager, 24 Garland Rd
  17. Harry Hughlings Jackson, Agent, 279 Tamaki Drive, Kohimarama
  18. Alexander Walter Bird, Works Manager, 238 Greenlane Road
  19. Kenneth MacDonald, Slaughterman, 9 Garland Rd, One Tree Hill
  20. Henry Walter Richardson, Plumber, 3 Umere Cres / 685 Remuera Rd
  21. Cyril Reginald Moses, Accountant, 18 Umere Cres, Ellerslie
  22. James Charles Ross, Carpenter, 9 Koraha St, Remuera
  23. Charles Louis McFarland, Builder, Remuera
  24. Thomas Herbert Matthews, Engineer, 2 Quentin Ave, Epsom
  25. Frederick Ryle Rittle(?), Fitter, Remuera
  26. Frank Brennan, Pensioner, Parnell
  27. Duncan Beath, Labourer, 16 Morrow St, Remuera
  28. John Owen Robertson, Company manager, 368 Great South Rd,
  29. John Alex McNab, labourer, 3 Speights(?) Rd
  30. Alfred (?), Bacon curer, 95 Great South Rd, Remuera
  31. Karl Ifwerson
  32. Charles William Snow, Custodian, Government House. 27 Parrish Rd, Sandringham
  33. Edward Welch, Pensioner, Garden Road 5, Remuera
  34. Thomas William Kerr(?), Water xxx, 66
  35. Claude Hall Clarke, Farmer, 3 Ngapuhi Rd SE2
  36. Henry Edward Clark, Merchant, 63 or 68 Alberton Ave
  37. William Alfred Kent, Baker, 17 Rocklands Ave / Alfriston Rd
  38. Duncan McKenzie, xxx, 10 Warrington Rd Remuera
  39. George Victor Barley, Truck driver, 88 St Lukes Rd, Sandringham
  40. Ernest John Mitchell, Clerk, 9 Marua Rd Ellerslie
  41. Leonard Arthur Shirtcliff, Gatekeeper, Bassant Ave, Penrose
  42. Thomas Hartfield, Gardener, 547 Manukau Rd, Epsom
  43. Frederick McLeod, Waima Rd, Glen Eden
  44. Frederick Ashman, Deputy Foreman (?), 43 Konini Rd, SE6
  45. William John Henderson, Engineer, Remuera
  46. Edmund Caul Patterson, Plasterer, 19 Clonbern Rd, Remuera
  47. Hector xx(?) Guest (?), Director, 32 Rangitoto Ave, Remuera
  48. Arthur Ingham, Signwriter, 47 Konini Rd, One Tree Hill/Ellerslie
  49. Donald Norman Taylor, War Pensioner, 57 Main Highway, Ellerslie
  50. Ernest Robert Murray, Joiner, 10 Quentin Ave, Epsom
  51. Thomas Edward Shadbolt, Driver, 12 Walls Rd, Penrose
  52. James Alfred Loon (?), 27 Lincoln St Ponsonby
  53. Cyril Dudley Lester, Soldier, 1 Kenny Rd, Remuera
  54. Arthur Aislabie, Driver, Remuera
  55. Ralph Landen Thompson, Company Secretary, 186 Gillies Ave / 14 Atahuri Cres, Greenlane.
  56. John Arthur Stanton, Schoolmaster, Remuera
  57. Alfred Henry Scoffin, Engineer, 31 Benson Rd, Remuera
  58. Frederick Lawrence Stilton, Painter
  59. Arthur William Wattus, Official Assignee, 22 Westbourne Rd, Remuera
  60. Thomas Herbert Matthews, Engineer, Epsom
  61. John James Torrens, Metal worker, 136 Upland Rd, Remuera
  62. Norman Nivell (?), Welder, 33 Marewa Rd, Greenlane
  63. William John Wells, Engineer, 17 Peach Parade, Remuera
  64. Archibald Charles Barton, Plumber, Remuera
  65. Harold Sunley, Salesman, 17 Coates Ave, Remuera
  66. John Henry Wattam, Pensioner, Remuera
  67. William Stanley Fanselow, Agent & Importer, 5 Waiatarua Rd, Remuera
  68. Leonard Arthur Shirtcliff, Gatekeeper, Penrose
  69. Hugh Robert Chermside, Transport Foreman, Remuera
  70. Henry Archibald Uredon (?), Garage proprietor, Remuera
  71. Frank Mitchell Curry, Jeweller, 26 Lucerne Rd, Remuera
  72. Ebenezer Watson, Company manager, Remuera
  73. Herbert Percy Leeves, NZTS, 601 Remuera Rd, Remuera
  74. William Henry Kempin, Dental Merchant, 38 Waiatarua Rd, Remuera
  75. Nelson Colin Pierce, Bursar, 99 Orakei Rd, Auckland
  76. Lanes (Louis?) Edward Spedding, Factory manager, 46 Cornwall Park Ave, Auckland
  77. Stanley(?) Ernest Bennett, Estate xxx 12 xxx?
  78. Joseph Leslie Scoullar, Journalist, 47 Shelly Beach Rd, / 68 Patterson Ave, Auckland
  79. Lawrence xxx Riwc(?), xx xxx Prop, 24 Wheturangi Rd Auckland SE4
  80. Frederick Roper O’Gorman, Tailor, 15 Gore St, C1
  81. Wilfred Stanley Adams, Clerk, Remuera
  82. Edward Charles Dare, Civil Servant, 48 Rotomahana Terrace, Remuera
  83. Montague Cummins(?), Company manager, P O Box 174, Auckland.

RRSC Presidents Board 1932-1979

Presidents 1980-2001

Charge on opening of Remuera Returned Service Club hall by Major-Gen Peter Harvey Bell 31 July 1948

PRESIDENTS OF THE REMUERA RETURNED SERVICES CLUB INC

1932 R G Slyfield

1933 R G Slyfield

1934 I Brown

1935 I Brown

1935 G H Forsythe

1936 F E Watson

1937 – 38 H R Chermside

1939 W S Fanselow

1940 N C Pierce

1941-43 W Donald

1944 H J Tizard

1945 H J Tizard

1946 W S Fanselow

1947 W H Dunne

1948 J B Cox

1949 J B Cox

1950 T Newsham

1951 T Newsham

1952 W S Fanselow

1953 W H Dunne

1954 H Crossley

1955 H Crossley

1956 J M Coleman

1957 J M Coleman

1958 D Budd

1959 D Budd

1960 – 63 H B Stilton

1964 P R Jones

1965 P R Jones

1966 C H Leaning

1967 C H Leaning

1968 S E Gibbon

1969 S E Gibbon

1970 F J Audain

1971 F J Audain

1972 J W A Johnston

1973 J W A Johnston

1974 I Waterhouse

1975 I Waterhouse

1976 H H Moroney

1977 H H Moroney

1978 F J Audain

1979 F J Audain

1980 H Crossley

1981 H Crossley

1982 -1983 E Finnemore

1984 -85 I Waterhouse

1986 – 2000 J Sherwin

2001 L J Beere

The Honour Boards and other artifacts of the Remuera Returned Services Club are now kept at the Parnell Returned Services Club.