Workingmen's club celebrates 50 years

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 10/05/2014
Invercargill Workingmen’s Club
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/ Fairfax NZ
SO MANY MEMORIES: Invercargill Workingmen’s Club 50th Jubilee Committee chairman Mike Heywood prepares to welcome members to the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations. 

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A raid by police put an end to the drinking at an Invercargill football club in 1962.

But the bust proved to be the origin of the Invercargill Workingmen's Club and this weekend the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Members of the Corinthian Football Club gathered to quench their thirst at a time when Invercargill was a dry area before World War II.

In 1947, the association with football came to an end and the Corinthian Sports Club Inc bought a building in Esk St several doors down from the site of the Invercargill Workingmen's Club.

Grog was consumed under a "locker system" without a charter to serve alcohol. The club was eventually raided and the grog pile confiscated by police.

Authorities promised the booze would be returned if the club obtained a charter.

The charter was granted on April 24, 1964, and the Invercargill Workingmen's Club officially opened its doors with a "well-stocked larder of spirits".

Outgrowing the original Esk St property, the club moved to its current location in 1973.

Invercargill Workingmen's Club 50th Jubilee Committee chairman Mike Heywood said a large contingent of former and current members would gather at the club during the weekend.

It may be called the Invercargill Workingmen's Club but women were accepted into the fold in 1981 and the club also has youth members. "There will be a meeting of a few old friends and sharing old stories," he said.

A few beers would help quench the walk down memory lane.

In honour of the celebration, an inter-sports competition was held. The Indoor bowls team of Grant Fortune and Brent Keen cleaned up and will be presented with the 50th jubilee trophy at the celebration dinner tonight.

The club kicked off its 50th birthday party last night with an informal gathering.

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