In 1932, the viscious effects of the Great Depression were being felt and the need to provide welfare in those grim times was a powerful motive to form a Returned Services Association in the west. In the past a man or family needing a few shillings in hard times had to travel to the RSA in Auckland and in many cases the cost of travel was almost as much as the grant. The new association was based around the New Lynn, Henderson and Titirangi “units” as they were called in those days. In 1933 units were formed at Swanson, Waitakere-Taupaki and Hobsonville.
There is little recorded about the first clubrooms sited on a council section on the Henderson side of Swanson Hall. Local sources suggest the rooms started life as a couple of army huts at tank traps in the Scenic Drive area established in 1942. Members were mostly WWI returned men but from 1946 as WWII servicemen began returning, this changed and membership was strictly for returned men only. The club was then open only on Friday night and Saturday afternoon until late, entertainment being indoor bowls and smoko events.
Things changed for the better when the Swanson RSA women’s section was formed. A joint social committee organised some great evenings for members and their guests with music from local groups. About this time the hall next door became vacant, and it was decided to make an offer which would give the RSA room to expand. The fact that two out of three Hall representatives were also RSA members helped the negotiations.
Money was raised from members to carry out necessary alterations and repairs. For example, there were no proper toilets and the building needed re-blocking. The rear third of the hall was divided off and this part became the RSA, with the remainder let to the various organizations to run socials and dances. A grand opening was held on 12 December 1964.
In the early 1980s the hall was getting too crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, particularly during meals and entertainment. Minor modifications were made inside the hall. After the front of the hall was hit twice by cars traveling along Swanson Road, it was decided to start planning a new building. Land was bought from both Redwood Park Country Club and the local council. Members finally moved in towards the end of November 1990.
In 2013 the entire site was redeveloped again into the current building
The list of all serving men and woman for WW1 and WW11 are on the honour boards at the RSA.
WW1 unveiled on 15 November 1919 by Right Hon. W.F. Massey P.C Prime Minister.
WW11 unveiled on 22 June 1991 by Dominion Vice President N.Z.R.S.A. Ian David Cox M.B.E.
Rugged Determination, p91