How you help Darlene the off-road racer

A tight-knit team in the Navy

Updated 11 Feb 2024 (first published Feb 2024)

Meet Darlene Blake, who is our dedicated hero for VIP Heroes Draw 15. Darlene always enjoyed the team environment of the Royal Australian Navy. After serving for ten years, Darlene felt isolated and experienced a loss of connection once she had left the Defence Force.

Since joining the RSL RAEMUS Rover Off-Road Racing Program and receiving support from RSL Queensland, Darlene has connected with other veterans and found a new purpose. She’s now on the track to wellness.

Coming out of my comfort zone, it's stopped me isolating myself; the interaction with the team has just been invaluable. RSL RAEMUS Rover has had a huge impact on my life personally.

Among the first women to serve at sea

Darlene joined the Navy as a Steward in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS). At the time, the WRANS wasn’t permitted to serve at sea.

When that changed, Darlene served on the HMAS Newcastle, and going to sea as part of that crew was a highlight of her Naval career.

Darlene’s connection to the Defence Force runs deeper than her own service; her husband and great-uncle are also veterans.

When she transitioned out of the Navy and moved to a small country town, Darlene found civilian life difficult without the support and camaraderie of her crew.

With her husband often away interstate for work, Darlene was raising her children and trying to find things to do.

“It was hard not being in that team environment anymore,” Darlene says.

“I’d gone from a wonderful team environment to being by myself and fending for myself. I had many challenges; it was isolating.”

Over time, Darlene lost self-confidence, and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

And then she found off-road racing.

Navigating back on track

The RSL RAEMUS Rover Off-Road Racing Program provides a team environment for veterans to get involved in and find a renewed sense of purpose.

Every veteran has a role to play, from navigating or driving the race vehicle, to being on-hand in the pit crew and managing event logistics.

The teamwork required to manage the off-road racer forges friendships and strengthens bonds, giving veterans clarity, and common ground, and making it easier to transition into civilian life.

Darlene is now a navigator on the RSL RAEMUS Rover team, and her husband is actively involved as well.

“If you had have asked me a few years ago, would I be involved with off-road racing, I would never have imagined myself doing it,” Darlene says.

“RSL RAEMUS Rover has had a huge impact on my life personally.”

“Coming out of my comfort zone, it's stopped me isolating myself; the interaction with the team has just been invaluable.”

I never dreamt I could do the things that I've been doing and that I've experienced, so it's personally been a huge confidence boost for me.

Darlene also spends time assisting other areas of the team management, such as the administration involved in running the program.

“That's been so interesting to see all the work that goes into it; the assistance that RSL Queensland has given us as well and how that works.”

Finding camaraderie and mateship again

Darlene has also found a support team through her local RSL Sub Branch – part of a national network that provides veterans with welfare and wellbeing services and social connection.

A good friend introduced Darlene to a local RSL Sub Branch, where she received financial assistance for medical expenses and support with DVA claims for a medical condition – an often-challenging process for veterans to navigate.

“That’s been a wonderful support,” Darlene says.

Darlene and her husband are both now members of the Sub Branch and are enjoying the newfound camaraderie.

“Being a Sub Branch member, to me, means a lot personally. Being part of another team; it's being a part of a group, a small Sub Branch, which is much more personal.”

“That camaraderie and mateship is back again. All those things really matter.”

Darlene has also found purpose by helping with ANZAC Day Service preparations and researching veterans on the Honour Roll for families.

“It's been wonderful. The work I've put in is making me feel worthwhile; I'm giving something back.”

“Being a Sub Branch member has had a positive impact on my life in many ways.”

I'd like to say to the RSL Art Union thank you so much for making these services possible through your funding.

“It enables us to do so many things to live life a bit.”

How your support changes lives

Our regular supporters are so important for RSL Queensland to provide much-needed help to veterans and families. The money raised helps deliver a range of impactful services and programs to help in real and meaningful ways. In 2023, 20% more veterans and families were supported by RSL Queensland’s services than the previous year, including:


veterans and families supported by RSL Queensland’s services.


claims and appeals submitted to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.


jobs found for veterans and their partners.


veterans and families housed in safe, permanent accommodation.

Frequently asked questions

How your support helps
What does my contribution to RSL Art Union go towards? 

Funds raised through RSL Art Union allows RSL Queensland to provide practical support, assistance, advice and camaraderie to current and former Australian Defence Force members and their families across Queensland and nationally.

RSL Queensland’s mission is to provide care, commemoration and camaraderie to enable veterans and families to live with dignity and respect.

For example, in 2023, RSL Queensland supported 8,411 veterans and their families with their services, found jobs for 285 veterans and their partners, and helped 202 individuals into safe, permanent housing.

You can read about our services and stories at

How can I get assistance from RSL Queensland?

Life always has its ups and downs. But as a veteran, or the partner of a veteran, you don’t have to face them on your own.

Whether you're looking for employment, scholarships, wellness programs, or assistance with DVA claims, RSL Queensland has free programs, and people at the ready, to help you achieve your life goals.

To learn more and get assistance, visit or call 134 RSL.

Our Prizes
How many prize homes do you draw each year? 

Every year we bring you 10 multi-million dollar properties, some with added gold bullion or even luxury cars. Get a sneak peak at future prizes with up to 5 games available for purchase or pre-order at any time. See the VIP Calendar for more on prize draw dates.

What are the VIP Heroes Draws?

In addition to our 10 prize home draws each year, VIP Club members have exclusive entry in two VIP-only Heroes Draws worth millions in gold bullion (subject to State/Territory Licensing approval). In other words, you must be a VIP Club member to be able to purchase these tickets. See the VIP Calendar for more on prize draw dates. Or find out about how you can become a VIP here from $5 a ticket.

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What is the Bonus Gold prize?

If you purchase a ticket book worth $10 or more in one of our 8 prize home draws, or a ticket book worth $30 or more in one of our 2 Golden Treasure prize home draws, you're eligible to win a Bonus Gold prize!

Ranging between $10,000 and $100,000 in gold bullion, the Bonus Gold prize is awarded to the first prize winner and determined by the value of their ticket book purchase.

For more information, please see the Terms and Conditions.

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You have the option of taking possession of the gold bullion or selling the gold bullion to claim its value in cash.

Please note that selling costs and market variations apply when selling gold bullion.

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After each draw, we attempt to contact the winner by phone as the priority. The winning ticket number will also be posted on our Winners page, Facebook and Instagram shortly after the draw.

See our latest winner stories.

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For the latest draw updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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The transfer of all our lottery prizes to prize winners is not taxable for the prize winner. There may be tax consequences for the prize winner for the ongoing use or sale of the prize. More detailed information can be found via the Australian Taxation Office.

Please note RSL Queensland is not able to provide financial or taxation advice. We advise all our prize winners to seek professional financial and tax advice to fully understand any implications.

Where are the draws held?

RSL Art Union draws are held at ANZAC House, 283 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 or as specified in the Terms and Conditions for each draw. Draw results will be published online, on Facebook and Instagram.

Are all of your prize homes new?

The majority of RSL Art Union prize homes are built brand new, while some are existing homes, expertly renovated. In both instances, RSL Queensland works closely with our accredited partners in the building industry to ensure the highest quality of standards is maintained.

Are your prize homes open for viewing?

Due to the often residential location and popularity of our prize homes, RSL Art Union has not been permitted by regional councils to conduct open homes because of the disruption to the local community.

Our prize homes might be closed to public viewing, but you can explore them in just as much detail online, any time you like! Visit our Prize page to access draw brochures, photos, videos, floor plans and virtual tours. All addresses are listed on our prize pages, so why not take a drive past and explore the neighbourhood. RSL Art Union will continue to assess opportunities to re-open prize homes to the public into the future.

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