The Ararat RSL Sub Branch was formed after the First World War, receiving its first charter from the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia (Victorian Branch) on April 6, 1919. In those early days the Sub Branch held its regular monthly meetings at the Ararat Mechanics Institute in Barkly Street.
The Sub Branch continued to hold their meetings at this location until 1962, before moving to a new location at 24 Queen Street, Ararat. A converted weatherboard house was the new home for the RSL, and after numerous renovations, the house then took on a more comfortable feel as clubrooms. In 1968 the Committee of the day, undertook major renovations to the Queen Street building, again converting it into a more purpose-built Clubroom facility with a kitchen, toilets, and a bar area together with a new meeting room. The Queen Street Sub Branch was utilised until 1992 when the premises was again renovated.
As the Sub Branch continued to grow, the Committee showed great vision by looking to purchase a new site, for a bigger footprint in town in early 1995. The Victorian Railway Institute building on the corner High & Queen Streets was purchased by mid-1995 at the cost of $90,000 and building works commenced in October that same year. At the cost of one million dollars, the new clubrooms were officially opened by local Member for Ripon, Mr Steven Elder on May 2, 1996.
Since that time, after several extensive renovations and additions, in 2013 the Ararat RSL underwent the biggest renovation to date at the cost of 1.9 million dollars. Almost a complete reconfiguration of the entire venue, the Ararat RSL took on a more modern contemporary look, with the addition of a luxury function room. Currently the Ararat RSL proudly employs over 50 staff, and over 2500 members.