Cronulla RSL Club’s $6.5m makeover

SCAFFOLDING has been removed from the front of Cronulla RSL Memorial Club after a $6.5 million makeover, revealing a stark “sea change”.
Nanjing Night Net

The sun-drenched bowling green overlooking the beach has been replaced by an extensive, new indoor dining area, with automated, large louvre windows and doors, which will be adjusted according to the weather.

A covered verandah attached to the dining area leads to a large beer garden.

Sea change: How Cronulla RSL Memorial Club looks now. Picture John Veage

RSL: $6 million conversion of a bowling green into a “family-friendly, semi-outdoor dining area” is close to completion. Ian Bourke (president) and John Waters (CEO) Picture Chris Lane

The additions extend the previous dining area, providing spectacular views from 65 metres of uninterrupted glass frontage.

The club’s chief executive John Waters said the new area, due to open on November 29, was designed to be “family friendly”.

“We have changed our [liquor] licence to allow children, accompanied by an adult, to be anywhere except in the gaming area,” he said.

Mr Waters is surprised the views are even better than those previously enjoyed by club patrons.

“You can watch board riders catching waves out on the point, which you couldn’t do before,” he said.

“Other than the [Bondi] Icebergs, I don’t think there is a club that has got anything like this.”

A revamped poker machine lounge has the same number of machines but more located in a semi-outdoor area for smokers.

An official opening will take place in January.

Mr Waters said the new dining area, to be known as the Sun Room, would seat 280, with tables catering for two to 12 people.

The verandah would have a further 60 seats, while the adjoining beer garden, named The Decking, would have seating for 160.

Mr Waters said the beauty of the Sun Room was that it could be adapted to the weather.

“On a nice day, you can open it right up, but if you get a big nor’-easter or bad weather, you can close it up and use the the airconditioning,” he said.

Mr Waters said they expected the club’s membership of 15,000 to grow significantly with the completion of the project.

“We have been getting 30-40 membership applications a day,” he said.

Mr Waters said the club had upgraded airconditioning, sound system, CCTV and IT equipment.


Bowlers are still being looked after, chief executive John Waters said.

‘‘Obviously, they were disappointed but we have maintained the front green and recovered it with more durable tiff grass. The numbers have dropped, with some going to other clubs in the area.’’

Bowlers initially resisted the loss of a green, but the plan received overwhelming support at last year’s annual general meeting, attended by 256 members.

The board argued they wanted to secure the club’s future and make it less reliant on gaming revenue.

A similar, but more expensive development proposal in 1999-2000 failed and the board was voted out.

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