Nestled on the banks of the glorious Hastings River, The Westport Club has been an important part of the social fabric of the Port Macquarie community for many years.
In its early days, the Grand United Port Macquarie West Bowling Club, as it was known, was formed when a community of gentlemen from the Grand United Order of Oddfellows (GUOOF) or the Lodge came together to start a club.
The inaugural meeting of the Grand United Port Macquarie West Bowling Club was held in the Council Chambers, Port Macquarie in 1957. At this meeting, Mr Bert Hamblen and Mr Ted Barrett of GUOOF informed the meeting that the Lodge had money available to support the formation of a bowling club.
From this inaugural meeting, a pro-tem Committee was formed to start the new club.
Two years in the making
After two years, the Club was finally opened by Mr Abby Cains, Vice-President of the Royal NSW Bowling Association, on 3 October 1959. The total cost of the project, which included the new club and two bowling greens, was £34,000.
One of the initial challenges for the inaugural Committee was obtaining 100 members that the Club needed to obtain a license. This necessitated taking in some female members to obtain the number required…an unusual step back in those days! Two applications to the licensing court were necessary before a license was granted on 13 August 1959 for a Liquor License and Poker Machine License.
Always making progress
In 1966-67, extensions were made to the clubhouse incorporating the Hasting Lounge, a new foyer and structural alterations to the kitchen to provide more amenity to members. In addition, a third green was constructed at the club in 1969.
The growth of the club was considerable and to meet demand, the club opened its first floor extensions in 1980.
A decade on in 1990, further growth of the club saw additional land purchased adjacent to the Club and more bowling greens erected. The same year an auditorium for 500 was built.
In 2003, at the urgency of the local Council, the Club reduced its number of bowling greens to 3 and used the space to create a new car park to accommodate its growing membership and to support its plans to expand further. This planned expansion unfortunately did not eventuate due to the club’s financial position.
Skies grow stormy
In 2005-2006, the Club found itself in severe financial trouble. Thankfully an amalgamation partner in Mingara Recreation Club was found and a successful amalgamation process was completed. In 2006 the Club was re-launched back into the Port Macquarie community as The Westport Club. The community was extremely supportive and the Club went on to win the accolade of ‘Club of the Year’ in 2010 and again in 2012 at the ClubsNSW Awards For Excellence.
Expansion starts again
As of 2015, major and extensive refurbishments were undertaken to transform the entire Club. An investment of almost $14 million will see the 18-month project deliver a new look club, including new restaurant, bar, lounge, TAB, gaming floor, entry, reception and flagship cafe.
Stage 1 of the renovation was completed in April 2016 and The Westport Club boasts a brand new reception area as well as exciting new premium destinations – Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge and Aqua Restaurant, both with stunning views over The Hastings River.
A grand re-opening
In August 2016, Stage 2 of the $15 million refurbishment works was opened and showcased a new gaming floor with alfresco gaming area. In November 2016, the refurbishment project was completed and The Westport Club unveiled its flagship cafe/bakery Hastings Coffee Co, as well as an update of all external signage and a new entry statement featuring the clubs new shimmering gold logo.
A bright future
Now established as one of Port Macquarie’s premier waterfront venue, we welcome you to join us not only for a special day, but for every day. Enjoy delicious meals from Aqua Restaurant, stunning house-made pastries at Hastings Coffee Co. and a whisky selection like no other at Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge. Our team are here, ready to make every visit memorable at the leading leisure and community venue in Port Macquarie – relax with us.