John Ireland introduced our Guest Speaker, Richard Pottie, noting that he was a busy man running the construction company, Ladex, President of the Riverine Club, Immediate Past President of Kooringal Rotary Club, and involved in Apex as a younger man.
It was the Riverine Club that Richard chose to talk on, starting with some history, both of the Club and its formation, and the building that it occupies today. About a dozen men, graziers, doctors and possibly even a lawyer made the decision to form a gentleman's club, and called it the Murrumbidgee Club in 1881. Just six months later, Riverine Club was adopted as the name.
The first building was the original school including the teacher's lodgings, built in 1861. A few floods, and lack of space dictated that the school needed to move, and that was to Gurwood Street. The next occupant was a doctor, and he owned the land south to Johnson Street.
The Riverine Club had attempted to buy the building during the 1880's, and finally succeeded in 1890. Growth was rapid, and extensions were justified in the early 1900's. Membership was for a privileged few, and "strangers" were confined to a small room, a bit like covid quarantine!!!!!!
The major building project was early Twentieth century, where £13 000 was spent on the building that we see today. £5000 was available from reserves, and £8000 borrowed from banks and guaranteed by members. In the 1920's liquor licensing regulations brought on requirements for accomodation and dining facilities.
Recent changes - they don't happen very often - included a squash court in 1973, and women admitted to the club in 1987. Womens toilets will be included in the next tranche of improvements, after just 37 years.
Membership development is important in the survival of the Riverine Club. Richard asked the Wollundry Rotarians to indicate if they were members of the Club, and some hands went up. The others are the ones that Richard needs to work on.
That was 140 years of history, summed up in just twenty minutes, a great effort and thanked by President James.