Brief History of the Oamaru Club Inc.
The Club has come a long way over it's 50 year history beginning with the original purchase of the "Cayford" dwelling in Severn street. With additions and alterations to the old house being completed in 1963 by contractors Baird, Polson and Sandri at a cost of just over £12,188.
This was followed over the years with various extensions and alterations which have included the Entertainment and Sports Hall, a Billiards/Snooker and Pool room, the Gaming Machine area, a Members Bar, Restaurant, and Lounge Bar. The Bottle Store extension has become a TAB with Bottle Store purchases now made over the main Bar.
The Latest upgrade to the Club was done in 2011 at a cost of over 2 million dollars. This has made The Oamaru Club a modern, welcoming environment enjoyed by Members and sets The Club up for a prosperous future.
The inaugural meeting was held in Hannahs shoe store Thames street Oamaru, May 16th 1961 at 8pm. Seeking support to form a Club on similar lines to other Clubs in districts throughout New Zealand. Twenty local Oamaru Men were in attendance, along with four members of the Dunedin Working Men's Club.
The second meeting was held 23rd May 1961, where it was decided to form a Club, and it would be called the Oamaru Men's Club and Mutual School of Arts registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1908, (in 1981 the name was changed to Oamaru Club Inc.). For the first year entry fee was set at £1-0-0, and subscription £1-0-0 per member, a debenture issue would be made available. The membership limit was set at 500, and a waiting list was established. A suitable set of rules drawn up, and suitable premises were looked for.
The first General meeting was held in the Scottish Hall at 7:30pm 12th July 1961 with 250 in attendance, including four visitors from the Hornby Club Christchurch and three from the Dunedin Working Men's Club.
In February 1962, after looking at several properties, "Cayfords" property on Severn Street was purchased for £4500, and later properties in Cross and Reed Street were purchased to provide car parking, and for future development.
Before the members had permanent club rooms, many successful social nights were held in the Railway, Band, and Eveline Halls. The First Annual General Meeting was held on the 5th July 1962 in the Peter Pan Hall on Itchen Street.
Rules were set in place, including the 10 mile radius from the Oamaru Post Office rule, required by "The Friendly Society Act". In March 1968 women becoming members was voted not acceptable, and remained that way until 1976 when women were admitted as full members. The first female member was Eileen Connors, and the second was Audrey Troon.
In September 1992 the Oamaru Club Inc. agreed to take ownership of the Phoenix Bowling Club, which is now known as the Oamaru Phoenix Bowling Club. Phoenix, as part of the Oamaru Club Incl hosted the Clubs NZ National Bowling tournament for the fifth time in February 2015. In October 2011 Oamaru Phoenix Bowling Club celebrated their 125th Anniversary.
The Club's sporting sections - darts, pool, snooker/billiards, table tennis, indoor bowls, outdoor bowls, golf, and cards all take a very active part in their activities at local, area, South Island and national levels. Most sections have won South Island titles, and some national titles. Their participation makes the Oamaru Club Inc. well known throughout NZ.
The over sixties Travel Club are very strong and active with regular monthly trips, and usually have one big trip a year. As well as trips around the South Island, they have visited both the North Island and Stewart Island.
The Club established the Restaurant in the early 1970s. At times it has been leased out, and currently is being run by the Club. Severn Restaurant is an integral part of the Club and you can make a booking anytime by calling 03 434 6163.
For fifty years raffles have been a big part of Club life. During the time when it was illegal to raffle money, the raffle was called 'photo of the Queen'. The Club runs raffles two nights a week, and this money goes to the general fund. The sports sections also run raffles another two nights of the week to assist the operation of their sections. The raffles include money, meat, and in season crayfish, oysters, and whitebait.
The introduction in 1989 of gaming machines into the Club has made a huge difference. It has enabled the Club to make many donations to various sports teams that have sons and daughters of Club members to take part in national and international events, as well as assisting the Oamaru Club Inc. with authorised operations. Many donations have been made, the largest of $100,000.00 which was made for Special Heart Equipment to the Oamaru Hospital. One of our Club members was the first to receive the benefit of the life saving equipment. Another notable donation, $30,000.00, was made to N.O. Hockey Turf at Centennial Park. Large donations have also been made to the N.O. Junior
Rugby, Jaws of life Oamaru Fire Brigade, St Johns, N.O. Search & Rescue etc.
Rex Allen, Dave Sparks, Pat Connors, Owen Taylor, Owen Godsall, Bill Summers, Doug Harwood, Brent Hobbs, John Murray, Peter Bradley, Keith Heselwood, Russell Pope, Steven Begley.
Rex Allen, Dave Sparks, Bill Guilford, Pat Connors, Dave McLeod, Owen Taylor, Bill Summers, Brent Hobbs, Doug Harwood, Peter Bradley, Graeme Anderson, Keith Hesslewood.
Pat Connors and Doug Harwood have served as area delegates for the Mid South Canterbury and North Otago areas, and Pat Connors also held the position of Vice President on the NZ Chartered Clubs.
Bob Tunnage, Bill Hogg, Ian Miller, Vern Grubb, Noel Berryman, Cliff Hancocks, Ray Wilkinson, Gordon Greaney, Owen Taylor, Earl Corcoran, Keith Brenssell, Prem Nath, Danny Park, Donald Whyte.
So, now you know a little about the history, welcome to The Oamaru Club - we look forward to seeing you here!
Photo credit: Prem Nath