A man who has many memories of the Wagga Leagues Club, has rescued its iconic sign from being split up and plastered on a Sydney skyscraper.
Gil Mathew met his wife at the club more than 40 years ago.
When the iconic club was torn down, to make way for a new development, Mr Mathew was driven to save its most famous feature.
The sixteen letter sign, that glowed in neon blue for decades, will light up Wagga again.
Mr Mathew paid $2,800 for the sign and donated it to the Museum of the Riverina.
Museum director Luke Grealy was amazed and excited to be given a sign that cost more than the museum’s yearly acquisitions budget.
“The Leagues Club was more than just a sports club,” Mr Grealy said.
“It was a really important social club where many people had their first beer or met their bride.
“I used to go a lot and I remember at one of my last jobs as an MC there and a guy was parachuting and crashed into the oval and broke his bones.”
It is these colourful memories that show why the club holds a special place in the hearts of many.
“I’d heard they were going to take it to Sydney and it was going to get put on a building – not even as the Wagga Leagues Club, they were going to cut it up,” Mr Mathew said. “I wanted to buy it so everyone from Wagga can share it.”
President of Riverina Men Of League foundation David Mulrooney said the club was lucky to be a beneficiary of a club memorabilia auction.
Thousands of dollars were raised at the auction which saw the sign, along with newspapers and other portraits documenting Wagga’s major sporting moments, sold.
“I played five grand finals on that (the Eric Weissel) oval.The club didn’t just support rugby league, it supported all sports in Wagga and helped many kids start pave their sporting careers,” Mr Mulrooney said.
The money from raised from the auction will go towards helping club members who are need.
“When we hear of someone in need we can provide a wheelchair or set up a trust fund,” Mr Mulrooney said.
The letters are waiting to be spruced up and then given a new lease of life in their home city. Their exact location is yet to be decided.
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