It all happened one dark and stormy Friday night – pretty much like it does today for me). The end of a working week and the chance to relax with a couple of beers with a few mates.
The only thing different with this particular Friday night was the journey home. On foot like a responsible citizen, my stumble took me through Fitzroy Beach and along what was to become the Coastal walkway.
You could say that I almost stubbed my toe on this clubhouse. Because on that particular Friday, I saw this old Camp Kitchen/ Games Room in a different light. I couldn’t understand why this building had remained so neglected and rejected for so many years. It was tucked away and almost forgotten
I certainly remember it as the HQ of many a campsite raids over my early surfing summers, but since the camp itself was moved to the Northern side of the office, hardly anyone came through here.
Except on that Friday. And the flood of nostalgia made me pause long enough to give the building the once over It was long enough to get that little mouse back on the wheel and jolt the brain cells into action
The next morning, something must have made a bit of sense because I was sufficiently interested in giving the building a second opinion without the stimulation of a normal Friday night.
Seemed to me that the building had some pretty good bones and the site was second to none.
It’s almost hard to believe but 20-odd years ago, seaside real estate didn’t really rate. It was only a few that actively sought to live beside the ocean. Die-hard surfers and the odd fisherman. Not your normal house-hunter
As fate would have it, the then Council were about to release the building to any one of 3 parties that had expressed an interest in it as a clubhouse. None were surf based.
It was suggested to me that they were about to make a decision on the lease later that week Didn’t leave too much time if I wanted to try and score this on behalf of the surfing fraternity.
After getting the keys off the council for a quick once over on the interior, I made a call to all the crew. Basically to suggest that if they were interested, then they should turn up the next night with their cheque books. I let the council know that there was another interested party and really the only group that qualified. Their answer was not so enthusiastic and they reminded me that surfers already had been granted 2 previous clubhouses and both had ended up as a disaster. They were spot on of course.
The real early crew had seen a cracker turn to ashes at the mouth of the Waiwhakaiho River and the nuclear fallout Shelter at Back Beach went the way of Chornobyl.
As it panned out, after a grovel to the council, 65 good old boys turned up and paid their foundation fees. Their names are recorded on the old surfboard which serves as a reminder
Since that time, we have been served by many able committee members and presidents who have all helped turn this building into what I would call “the best surfriders Clubhouse in the world”. And the rest, as they say, is history
So thanks to everyone for the work they have put in.
Wayne (Arch) Arthur.