Tamarama on Target for New Club
Tamarama Beach was once Sydney’s first coastal amusement park, originally called Bondi Aquarium before being renamed Wonderland Park.
After the closure of the fun park a surf club was founded on the northern headland in 1906. Ever since the introduction of surf lifesaving the club has been able to boast “no lives lost” in more than a century of patrols by volunteer lifesavers and council lifeguards.
But the clubhouse has not been able to withstand the test of time and the wrath of Mother Nature has taken its toll. As a result, a development application, in place since 2014, has been approved for the redevelopment of the club.
Despite opposition from a number of local residents, Tamarama Surf Club Captain Tim Murray is confident that work will begin towards the end of this year.
Mr Murray also said that an ongoing fundraising campaign had already raised $2.35 million – including a $350,000 State Government grant – of the $4.65 million needed for the project, and that they were on target to reach their goal.
“We have people and organisations confirmed to give us money and it’s all coming together with good clarity to raise $4 million,” Mr Murray told The Beast.
“As a small club it is a lot of money to rebuild, and it has been a lot of work to raise that money.”
“There has been good support and advice from some of our members who have experience in building and construction. With all going well we could be underway between September and December.”
Mr Murray said that there were initially a lot of people “aggressively opposed” to the project, with some suggesting it would be a “casino on the point”.
He explained that the club had repositioned itself and was focusing on community awareness and surf education in the new building.
“We have been running a Migrant Day once a month with education and training programs to make them more surf aware. We also have an aboriginal outreach program, which has resulted in a few of the young Indigenous kids taking part in Nippers,” Mr Murray said.
“The new building will give us more space to run these programs, and more people will be able to take advantage of our surf education sessions.”
“Around two million people walk past Tamarama Surf Club every year and half of them would be migrants. We now hold sessions for around 700 migrants every year and hope to build that up to around 10,000.”
He said the club was not going to be a social venue like North Bondi and Bronte, as many believe, and that their aim was to be more relevant to the broader community.
“We will be keeping the same envelope as the existing building and the external walls will remain. Of course this will all be subject to an engineering assessment once work gets underway,” he said.