Toodyay Club forced to shut amid rising debt
Pot Black – Toodyay Club member Steve Andrijich prepares to ‘break’ on one of the few remaining full-sized billiard and snooker tables left in the Wheatbelt. It was originally installed at Stirling House which was formed as a ‘gentlemen’s club’ in Stirling Terrace opposite the bakery 117 years ago. The table is free for use by Toodyay Club members and guests, and has been kept in very good condition.
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
THE TOODYAY Club in Oddfellow Street has been forced to close and a meeting will be held this month to decide its fate.
The club shut its doors in the middle of last month after a long period of rising debt.
Bowlers can continue to use the club’s synthetic green but not its other facilities – including a members’ bar and commercial kitchen – both of which closed last month.
Keys to toilets and washrooms on bowling days must be now arranged in advance.
A club meeting has been called for 10am Saturday August 6 for members, bowlers and supporters to decide if they want the facility to re-open and if it is possible to keep trading.Read more
The club pays a “peppercorn” rent to the Shire of Toodyay which owns the land occupied by the club building, bitumen car parks and two bowling greens, one of which is not used or maintained.
The club’s history dates back 117 years to when it started as a ‘gentleman’s club’ in Stirling House, now occupied by the Toodyay Spice and Grill restaurant.
THE TOODYAY CLUB also holds a liquor licence to sell beer, wine and spirits.
Bowlers have a separate 10-year agreement with the Toodyay Club to use the popular green for a $175 monthly fee.
It is understood the in-house agreement is due for renewal next year.
The Toodyay Club was originally established as a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ in Stirling House – premises now occupied by Toodyay Spice and Grill restaurant in Stirling Terrace – and dates back 117 years.
A dining room at the rear of Stirling House contains eight marble floor inserts to support a full-sized billiard table, which is now located in the Toodyay Club’s games area in Oddfellow Street.
The historic table is thought to be one of only a few left in the Wheatbelt for a sport once popular among local ‘gentlemen’.
The Toodyay Club also has two pool tables, darts, a commercial kitchen and function area with tables and chairs which have been used for fund-raising events such as live music, birthday parties, Friday night dinners, wakes and other social gatherings.
It is understood the club found it had no option but to shut last month because the not-for-profit organisation was no longer able to pay bar staff and continuing debt, including power bills.
Most management committee members quit their elected roles last January, and the club president has also since resigned.
Several are understood to have urged the club to shut earlier this year because debts could not be paid, and “walked away” when others decided to keep it open.
“None of us wanted to see this happen but there was no other choice,” one prominent former committee member said.
“We need to find new ways to reopen the doors and keep going.”
“We also need to ensure our town continues to have a suitable venue for local bowlers and visiting bowling club members who spend their money in our town when they come here for tournaments.”
Saturday’s meeting is open to all Toodyay Club members and supporters.
It will include a call for those present to offer suggestions from the floor about how the club can pay off debt and resume trading.