Spearwood and Cockburn RSL stalwart awarded meritorious medal

Cockburn RSL sub branch member John Bavich.
Cockburn RSL sub branch member John Bavich.

WWII veteran Jack Bavich was in Darwin when the last bombing took place.

Surviving the raid, he was then posted to an island offshore with the 13th Brigade before eventually returning home.

Since his return he has dedicated the last 50 years to the local Returned and Services League (RSL) and was recently presented with their prestigious meritorious medal.

His connection to the RSL started at an early age as a Gerald Street resident in Spearwood.

“I was only a kid when they were growing up,” he said of WWI veterans. “I knew the whole lot of them.

Mr Bavich served as president of the Spearwood Sub-Branch from 1962 to 1970 when it amalgamated, becoming the inaugural president of the Cockburn Sub-Branch where he served a further 22 years in that capacity.

“I like being with someone, otherwise I’d be on my own at home most likely,” he said of his long-held connection to the RSL.

In the early 1980s, the Bavich family donated wood and money from a timber house they no longer needed, which was used to develop the Frederick Road RSL site.

Now known as the City of Cockburn Sub-Branch, the group hosts meal nights for the aged and organises a youth Anzac event in addition to its regular meetings.

Just days from his 95th birthday, Mr Bavich is still a crucial part of the branch, standing on a dais on Anzac Day and attending monthly meetings.