OF Your Local


The Sorrento Portsea sub-branch was established, just after World War 1, in 1919.

The local returned servicemen shared their skills to build the first RSL hall on Sorrento’s main street.

Commonly known as the ‘Tin Shed’, the building had a beautiful dance floor where the RSL held dances, balls and, of course, their meetings.

After World War 2 it was decided to double the size of the existing hall.

An annual carnival was run over a couple of years to raise the finances and, to quote one of the veterans,

“We did the same as the old diggers, we shared our skills and finally completed the building”.

In the 1960s, the building was leased to music promoters and became the original Tom Katz venue, hosting the “best switched-on” Australian bands like AC/DC, The Loved Ones, Skyhooks, Billy Thorpe and Australian Crawl.

The club purchased a Nissan army hut from the Balcombe army camp and relocated to the bottom of the hill,

below the main building, in the 1970s. Meetings and ‘smoke nights’ were held there for a number of years.

During the 1980s, the original building on main street was sold to a developer and the Nissan hut was acquired by the shire (to become part of the current day car park), in exchange for a resettlement fee and the land where our club rooms now stand.  The new building was opened in 1990.

By 2007, member numbers had dwindled and the club had been running at a loss for some years.

The sub-branch was forced to close but club members, including veterans of WW2, Korea and Vietnam, rallied and formed the “Save Sorrento Portsea RSL” committee.  Thanks to the hard work, fundraising and lobbying of that committee, the club was able to reopen just six months later.

Since then, the club has gone from strength to strength.  Member numbers are at an all-time high, and huge crowds have attended annual events like Australia Day, ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.

In 2020, during the coronavirus shutdown, the club rooms were renovated and expanded.

Three years later, in late 2023, the premises were expanded again, with a refurbished and renamed Jack’s Bar & Lounge, and The Terrace indoor/outdoor areas getting a new image and a new level of service.

With our new partnership with The Kitchen Group, we can offer two excellent dining options under the one roof :  The Kitchen Sorento offers modern Australian fare, and of course the Sorrento Thai restaurant still provides the best Thai food anywhere on the peninsula.

There is lots happening:  Members’ Night every Friday, dining options, Jack’s Bar & Lounge and The Terrace beer garden, Tom Katz live music venue, full-size billiard table, large screen TVs, etc, etc.

The club has plenty to offer members and visitors alike.

“The Tin Shed”. The RSL hall on Sorrento’s main street, circa 1960s.
AC/DC was one of hundreds of bands to perform at the Sorrento Portsea RSL hall during the 1960s and 70s. Everyone from AC/DC to The Zoot played at Tom Katz. And it’s still drawing big crowds today.
Hundreds of people marching down Sorrento's main street to the Cenotaph on the foreshore, for an ANZAC Day service.

Can you help with the history of our club?

We’re looking to expand our history with as much accurate information as possible, and photographs throughout the years would be most welcome.

The white tiles look good on the photo. Please email us if you can assist.

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