Barunga by the Sea resident Sandy Owen was recently elected president of the Port Broughton RSL Sub-Branch.


Barunga by the Sea resident Sandy Owen was recently elected president of the Port Broughton RSL Sub-Branch – the first female to hold the title in 20 years.

Sandy, a member of the RSL club since 2009 when she joined with her late-husband Malcolm, said it is a huge honour to be president.

“I am the second female president of the Port Broughton RSL, following in the path of Lorraine Arbon who held the role in the late 90s,” she said.

“When it was announced at the club’s Annual General Meeting I was actually quite emotional.

“I have been overwhelmed by the positive response and well wishes from the community.

“I think my election shows how progressive our RSL is and provides me the opportunity to be an exceptional role model, especially for women in our community.”

Malcolm, a Vietnam War veteran, passed away in 2014, and since then Sandy said she has become increasingly involved in the club by holding executive roles on the committee.

“We joined the RSL as a way to meet people and to get involved in the community,” she said.

“That is still a very large part of why I am still involved in the RSL – it’s a chance to give back to the community.

“I also have a lot of respect and value for the RSL as an organisation and its support of returned servicemen.

“Part of the reason for really stepping up my involvement with the RSL is to continue Malcolm’s legacy.”

In her acceptance speech Sandy said she has some incredible footsteps to follow in, but would like to think she can make some of her own.

“I don’t want to make any such changes to the club, I only want to continue and extend the community’s involvement,” she said.

“One of my major goals is to attract young people to be involved in the RSL.

“As part of the RSL there are processes and events we engage in, like our key services being ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day, but there is also a huge calendar of events that provide a social outing for people of all ages.

“We have a barbecue on the third Sunday of every month, which is open to the public, as well as social afternoons at the club every Thursday and Sunday from 2pm to 6pm.”

Sandy and Malcolm moved into Barunga by the Sea from Adelaide in 2009, after falling in love with Port Broughton when they holidayed in the seaside town.

“Port Broughton and Barunga are both lovely, vibrant, happy and at times spontaneous places – it really does make for a wonderful lifestyle,” she said.

“If it hadn’t been for the community, I would have struggled a lot more in dealing with the grief of losing my husband. The support they gave me will never be forgotten.”

As well as her role with the RSL, Sandy is on the Port Broughton Hospital Auxiliary and is part of singing duo ‘Makin’ Tracks’ with her close friend Lyn Stead.

“We sing a mixture of country rock, ballads and rock n’ roll from the 50s, 60s and 70s – think Del Shannon and Patsy Cline,” she said.

“We sing at the local markets, the Christmas pageant and private functions, like birthdays and fundraisers.

“We have actually done a fair bit of travelling now through our singing, we have visited Moonta and are going to the Riverland soon.”

For more information on the Port Broughton RSL click here.