The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected national organisations. The RSL’s primary mission is to ensure for the wellbeing, care, compensation and commemoration of serving and ex-service Defence Force members and their dependents. This includes caring for the sick and elderly; providing grants and scholarships; perpetuating close and kindly ties of friendship created by mutual service in the Australian Defence Force; preserving the memory of those who suffered and died for our nation; and promoting the defence of the nation of Australia. In the early days the RSL was instrumental in organising Anzac Day and Remembrance Day commemorations. It also advocated for veterans’ entitlements, the protection of former battlefields and the rights of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The stamp design features the badge of the RSL. The RSL badge features the Crown signifying allegiance to Queen and country with the national flowers of Australia, Wales, England, Scotland, and Ireland — the wattle, the leek, the rose, the thistle, and the shamrock. In the centre of the badge is a sailor, a soldier, an airman, and a service woman, who are marching with their arms linked, symbolising friendship and that all services, and ranks, are united in comradeship. The RSL badge is worn in honour only by those who have rendered service in the armed forces of the Crown or its allies.
The colours used in the badge design represent different things. The red represents the blood tie of war that exists between comrades; the white stands for the purity of motive in joining the League — to render services without thought of personal gain or ambition; and the blue indicates willingness to render that service to a comrade anywhere under the blue sky, wherever he or she may be.
The badge also features images of servicemen and women taken from recruitment posters for the armed services from the 1940s and 1950s. Copies of both posters are held in the collection of the Australian War Memorial: “The services offer you...”, photolithograph poster, 1950-55, AWM ARTV08599, and “Join us in a victory job”, Maurice Bramley, lithograph poster, 1943, AWM ARTV00332.
School children from across Australia are invited to capture their individual reflections about those Australians who have sacrificed their lives for us in conflicts by writing their individual thoughts upon a Commemorative Cross.More information >