As a year tarnished by financial woes nears its end, the Wagga Boat Club is now quickly approaching something far more positive – its 50th anniversary.
Hope in the club’s future was renewed last week when members voted to keep its doors open after a year of tough financial losses amid the longest blue-green algae outbreak in the lake’s history.
Boat Club commodore Mick Henderson said despite the ups and downs, the club had come a long way in its half a century.
“The original club house was actually built as a hut out at Uranquinty, and they brought it on down to the lake,” Mr Henderson said.
“Now, it’s transformed from just a club out in the sticks with a lake to a situation where the city’s now building around it – they’ve got the walking track, the lights, the parks, and it’s just a real community-minded area now.”
Mr Henderson said those humble beginnings quickly grew until the Boat Club became a hub for water sports and community events.
“It’s a venue that’s now been holding sporting events for the last 50 plus years, and the Barry Carne’s been going for over 40 years, too,” he said.
“We just need people using it more, because we keep coming back to this same five-year pattern where the lake goes dry and empty and the club falls in.”
There were also murmurs of Wagga’s caravan park relocating to the lake to draw more customers to the businesses around it, but Mr Henderson said that was now looking unlikely.
To mark the club’s 50th anniversary, he and the team are hosting a birthday spectacular next month complete with great food, musical entertainment, and a live auction to last the night.
Ellen Henderson, who is heading up the celebration’s organising committee, said she hoped the whole community would get behind the club to make sure its 50th birthday would not be its last.
“It’s always been a community club, it’s owned by the members, and it’s just been a great place for the whole family,” Ms Henderson said.
“I know that people don’t want to go to the club all the time, but if they just use it every now and then instead of just 30 or 40 people using it, they can help us keep it open.”
The Boat Club’s 50th birthday bash will be held on October 12, and residents can purchase their tickets online.