Penrith City Nashos celebrate 20th Anniversary

Members, guests and local politicians, including Melissa McIntosh MP, Federal Member for Lindsay; Tanya Davies MP, state member for Mulgoa; and Penrith City Mayor Tricia Hitchen, all gathered at Emu Sports Club on Thursday 7th April to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Penrith National Servicemen’s Association of Australia.

Originally the Penrith City Sub-branch, Penrith Nashos received its Charter on the 7th April 2002, exactly 20 years ago to the day.

The Sub-branch was formed
due to the efforts of the Blue Mountains & District Sub-branch and notices were placed in the local newspapers for people interested in forming an Association Sub-branch at Penrith.

A meeting was subsequently held at the Penrith RSL club on the 10th of March 2002, chaired by the Vice President of the Blue Mountains Sub-branch, Tom Kelly. A steering committee was formed from those who attended (55 in total) and names submitted to NSW State office.

The Inaugural meeting was held on the 7th April 2002 at Penrith RSL club, where nominations were called for from the steering committee for the Office bearers.

Those elected were President Max Close, Senior Vice President Peter Liccioni, Junior Vice President Vic Bywater, Secretary Alice Muller, Treasurer Erik Peterson, Committee: Publicity Officer Harry Morfoot; Welfare Officer Neville Wood; Membership Officer Trevor McDonald; Raffle Co-ordinator John Muir; and Quartermaster Harry Morfoot.

This meeting was attended by 73 people and Penrith was at that time the 39th Sub-branch of the Association. Today it still has 5 of those original Foundation members, who have had continual membership over these 20 years.

Nashos member Fred Bucholtz had the honour of cutting the ceremonial cake

Past presidents include Harry Morfoot, John Taylor and Harry May, with many more changes in both the Executive and committees over that period of time.

Penrith City Nashos has since become an Incorporated Association and had a name change as well, now called Penrith City Australian National Servicemen’s Association Incorporated, affectionately known as Penrith City NASHOS. The Sub-branch has, and always will, support the local Cadets Units of the area, being TS Nepean Naval Cadets, 21 Army Cadet Unit and the 323 Air Force Squadron, Glenbrook.

The cadets have assisted in many ways, with attending the Annual Memorial services and participating in many parades.

The Sub-branch has supported Legacy, Anzac Day Appeal and Poppy Day, by selling badges on these days around the local pubs and clubs, raising much-needed funds.

Penrith City Nashos members have also attended O’Donoghues Hotel at Emu Plains, instigated by Harry and Tom, on Anzac Day during the 2-up game, when members would go around with their Slouch Hats and the patrons would give freely. Over the 5-6 years Penrith City Nasho’s has done the collections, a total of $15,000 has been raised and donated to both Legacy and DefenceCare, along with various other organisations / charities.

In 2006 the National Servicemen’s Memorial was erected at Victoria Park, St Marys through the help of Jackie Kelly, Federal MP for Lindsay at that time, who sought and obtained a grant. David Bradbury, Mayor of Penrith City at the time, allocated a place in the Park and Penrith City Nashos have held their memorial service every year since, except for 2020 due to the Covid crisis.

Federal Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh with Nashos President Harry May

President Harry May said “Our thanks go to the Penrith City Council, which in 2021 upgraded our memorial to include better paving, a garden and a park bench to the rear of it, which was dedicated that year to two of our founding members, Harry Morfoot and Tom Kelly.”

“Although the past couple of years has seen a lot of upheaval due to the Pandemic, the Association’s regular meetings have not been held as much and social outings have slowed.

“This year has seen a good start, with our meetings back on board and looking forward to our regular social outings. Our membership is now around 56, down from the heydays of 100+, but we still find time to share the camaraderie amongst us when we meet.

“I would like to thank all who have attended here today to help us celebrate this, our special day. Members, guests, MP’s Federal and State, the Mayor, other sub-branches, thank you for all the support you have given us over the years. And to the team who have worked over the past few months to make today a reality, thank you and to anyone else I may have missed, thank you also.”