JOIN THE CLUB: Hardys Bay Club volunteers including Andrew Mackie, John and Treveen Brown, Robert and Janice Barnes need more people to see the unique venue is too good to lose.
JOIN THE CLUB: Hardys Bay Club volunteers including Andrew Mackie, John and Treveen Brown, Robert and Janice Barnes need more people to see the unique venue is too good to lose.

Hear the beat of club’s SOS

HARDYS BAY Club is the centre of its community both literally and figuratively - but it's in desperate need of help.

Despite this, it is doing its bit for the Rural Fire Service, holding a fundraiser on Saturday, February 1 to help the fireys, and communities and individuals devastated by the bushfires.

Local four-piece multi-instrumental favourites Mirrabooka will play, and there will be raffles and auctions, with all money raised going to the Killcare Wagstaffe RFB to distribute.

If you've not been before or for some time, it's a great reason to visit and discover the club's unique character - just minutes from the waterfront, set among gum trees backing onto Bouddi National Park.

Treveen and John Brown are two of a small band of volunteers fighting for the club's life.

Multi-instrumental quartet Mirrabooka will headline the Thank You Firies Fundraiser on February 1.
Multi-instrumental quartet Mirrabooka will headline the Thank You Firies Fundraiser on February 1.

They say it has become a victim of the Coast's success, with the property having last sold for $1.6 million, raising the club's annual rent to an unsustainable level, particularly given the quiet winter months.

"It's not like any other club on the Coast," John said.

"It's all about the community - there's no pokies and the only people paid are the bar and cleaning staff; the rest of us are all volunteers."

Treveen said the club's closure "would leave a huge hole in the community".

"It's where people come to meet and where the music community comes to play," she said.

Originally established as an RSL, the Hardys Bay Club has been through a number of identities, local lenders, owners, highs and lows.

Despite that, the log cabin, with its outdoor deck, gazebo and grassed courtyard, has firmly established itself as a live-music venue, particularly for local musicians.

The club has a current membership of 400-500, having reached about 800 at its peak. A recent outdoor concert by Melinda Schneider and Mark Gable attracted 450 people, and inside the club can hold about 120 on a good night.

The monthly Blues Jam in January raised $1000 for fire relief.
The monthly Blues Jam in January raised $1000 for fire relief.

There is a range of live music from ticketed touring artists to local music jams open to everyone, including the monthly Blues Jam (which in January raised $1000 for fire relief), trivia nights and functions including birthday parties, weddings and wakes.

Coming events include six-piece band Driftwood on Australia Day with a host of Aussie classics, the iconic Dave Graney on February 7, a special Valentine's-themed Bouddi Beats Jam on February 14 and a special yet-to-be revealed album launch on February 15.

"Sometimes you walk into the place and it's just amazing, the atmosphere is buzzing - it's too good to lose," Treveen said.

"There are so many people, particularly older people who feel safe to come in here on their own and who would not have anywhere to go without it.''

They are the first to admit that while the club can dress up well for functions, it is "a bit run down", or as John laughs, "it's got character".

To brighten it up, Treveen started taking photos at club events to display on the noticeboard.

Dogs are welcome at the Hards Bay Club, with some even having their own membership cards.
Dogs are welcome at the Hards Bay Club, with some even having their own membership cards.

"If you look at those photos and the people in them, that's the story of the club," she said.

Asked how people could help, Treveen said: "Apart from the obvious donation of money, I'd say to use the club, book functions there, come to listen to the music and help keep it going.''

They are also eager to hear from anyone who can donate tables or other furniture, sound equipment, office items from computers and chairs right down to paper and pens.

They hope community groups will also contact them about the possibilities of using the club, whether for one-off events or ongoing, particularly during weekdays when it currently only opens from 3pm.

The message from Treveen is simple: "Come down and support your club … you are missing out on something special."

The Hardys Bay Club is at 14 Heath Rd, Hardys Bay, and membership costs just $15 annually. It is open Monday to Thursday 3-10pm, Fridays till midnight and weekends noon until late, and there is also a Thai restaurant on site.

To find out more about the club or the Thank You fireys Fundraiser, go to hardysbayclub.com.au, @hardysbayclub on Facebook or phone 02 4360 1072.


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