Words by Peta Goodall
On Sunday 8th June 2014 the Point Lonsdale Boardriders Clubhouse, in the Engine Shed situated in the Lighthouse Reserve, was officially declared open. After a fifty year journey the Club finally had a place to call home.
The Engine Shed is a far cry from the temporary home of the Club back in the days of its inception. Fondly referred to as "Lakeside" (due to its proximity to Lake Victoria at the end of what is now Emily Street), the dilapidated building, consisting of three walls and half a roof, was made available for Club use by the then owner Alec Laker, father of Chris Laker, the Club's first president. Previously used as a workshop, the derelict building proved ideal for Club "activities", many of which are now legendary!!
At the end of the sixties and early seventies the Club had a brief hiatus. When up and running again, but with no real home base, meetings and get-togethers were held at various locations such as the bars or pool rooms at local watering holes or members' homes. During the eighties meetings were mainly held at the home of Clive Robinson in Lawrence Road.
The resurgence of the Club in the late nineties saw the resumption of the annual aggregate competition along with the continued staging of the Greg Davison Memorial event. It then became apparent that a more structured mode of transport and storage was required to enable the smooth running of these events. Consequently, in 2006, a custom-built trailer was acquired to accommodate the ever-increasing amount of equipment. The trailer was constructed and donated to the Club by Chris Laker and thanks to his overwhelming generosity the Club now had a "mobile" home.
A few years later discussions began regarding the possibility of the Club having its own home and permanent base. By 2010 with new President Ross Bird at the helm, the cause was taken up in earnest and a sub-committee was established to further pursue and submit options to the Borough Council. One concept was to build on land adjacent to the Point Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club in Gane's Reserve. This proposal and subsequent plans submitted were rejected, as were other ideas for locating the Club. However, in April 2010 a commitment was received from the then Mayor (Cr. Bob Merriman) that Council would help in the endeavour to locate a suitable site.
Two years later in 2012 the Council offered the Club the use of the Engine Shed in the Lighthouse Reserve. The building had been unused for many years and had fallen into a state of disrepair, but the potential was there and the Club accepted the offer (and challenge) with relish.
With the Club's 50 year celebrations set for June 2014 it was hoped that a lease could be obtained in time to complete restoration and have the official opening as part of these celebrations. After much constructive negotiation and mutual cooperation between both parties, a five year lease was eventually signed 17 March 2014. The race was now on to meet this deadline
With a common aim to transform this forgotten and neglected building into a "home" of which we could all be proud, an army of volunteers of all ages applied their individual skills and talents. With sheer determination our goal was achieved.
Since its official opening the Engine Shed has not only provided a great venue for all Club activities but has been embraced by the wider community. This was never more evident than with the highly successful market and music nights staged at the Shed in January 2016. We have also played host to a number of diverse events, including a morning tea for visiting Federal politicians, a memorial service, refugee day, music album recording, Queenscliff Literary Festival, school study groups and Queenscliff Point Lonsdale Community Enterprise Grants Presentation night.
The Club is immensely proud of what it has accomplished in bringing this wonderful old building back to life. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with the Borough Council and to maintaining and improving the building into the future.