Flying high

James Merlino raises the State Victorian Flag at the Upwey-Belgrave RSL.

Around 60 people gathered to witness the unveiling of a new flagpole at the Upwey Belgrave RSL.

Hosted by the Upwey-Belgrave RSL, an official ceremony was held on Friday, 1 November with Local MP James Merlino and RSL Victoria Treasurer John Cullen attending.

After the original flagpole fell over during heavy winds, the race was on for the RSL to erect a new one before Remembrance Day.

The new pole dwarfs the previous and an enormous Australian Flag from Yarra Ranges Federal Member Tony Smith’s office ensures the RSL can be seen from anywhere in Upwey.

Senior Vice President at Upwey Belgrave RSL Anthony Stewart said the flagpole falling down was an opportunity to give the place a bit of a makeover.

He said that soon after the event, the support started flooding in and the project was underway, seeing the old plinth replaced, as well as the construction of a new pole, all undertaken by RSL members.

“We have a lot of people that tell us they can’t find the RSL, so I we went for the bigger flag, because we figured bigger is better … the flag itself is 3.6 by 1.8metres but I think it’s definitely appropriate,” he said.

“We put four and a half tonnes of concrete as the base, so it’s not moving ever again.”

Three flags are flown from the flagpole at all times – the Australian Flag, Victorian Flag and the RSL flag.

Though, Mr Stewart said that CFA will be able to raise a special banner on days of total fire ban

“On total fire ban days the CFA are getting a specific flag made up for the sub branch.”

“They will have keys to the flag pole and can change the flag to one that displays a total fire ban warning, which we think – community wise – is the right thing to do.”

Mr Stewart thanked the contribution of members including All Terrain Excavations and Neil O’Donoghue who helped construct the flagpole and poured the cement.