The History of the German Club Gold Coast
Readers on the Gold Coast of the German Newspaper “Neue Welt” found a small typed notice during May 1975 which read as follows:
Dear Reader, we are planning to start up a German Club on the Gold Coast and invite all German speaking Citizen to an evening gathering. Please ring 399 822 between 9am and 4 pm or write back to us. With friendly regards, Werner Roszka
The motion was caused by an ongoing desire of several German women, whose husbands met regularly to play Skat and the women felt left out and that they also should have some form of regular get together.
On Monday the 9th of June, 37 persons followed the call and met at Theo’s restaurant in Surfers Paradise. The evening was a success and consequently a Committee was nominated and voted upon and the Name “Deutscher Klub Gold Coast” was adopted. It was agreed that later that months a Dance Evening was to be held to attract more interest.
With loads of energy and enthusiasm the Club grew and in the same year 2 Teams were send to Brisbane to participate in the Skat Championships, several Dance evenings and meeting were held and a new Committee was elected during December that year. Nearly 100 members strong the Club was in a good financial position. Arno Schilling, a famed Wood Carving Artist carved a Club Shield and presented it to the Club.
Plans for 1976 included several gatherings from Dance evenings to Boat Tours. A Klub Magazine was published and attempts were made to support German Language Classes on Weekends. The social undertakings of the Club were most successful and Dinners and Balls showed strong following. On the downside, several changes to Committee hindered progress and President Werner Roszka reported a lack of participation by members and several issues of disharmony within the Club.
The Club Shield, carved by Master Carver Arno Schilling
was unveiled at the Club House Opening on the 24th of July 1982
The Bar Area in the Club House during the Opening
Named the “Sauerkraut Factory” by some,
the new Club House proved very popular as a pool of “Gast Freundschaft”
President Rudi Hecke opens the :Club Room”
on the 9th of December 1983
It appeared that two fractions within the Club tried to steer into different directions, which resulted in a change of Committee under the Presidency of Rudi Hecke. During 1978 the Club was registered as a Company Pty Ltd, new sub Groups formed including a Women Group, Skat, Chess and Rummy playing Groups. Even a Club Song was composed and the Club grew in Numbers and its standing within the Gold Coast Community. The Major of Berlin donated a Flag, Bartlett’s Barn in Nerang became the Club House and became well known for its hospitality, “Gemuetlichkeit” and arrays of German beverages.
During June 1978 the Club purchased a 7 ½ acre block of Land on Springbrook Road, near the Merrimac State School. At a price of $40,000 the Committee was forced to ask the members for a donation of $50.00 per person and several members donated far more. The purchase was completed and celebrated with a huge Picnic, again much food and drink donated by generous members who saw the potential in the Club and were willing to contribute far and beyond.
Over the years the Committee had developed exceptional organisational skills in staging successful events, from Dance evenings to October Fests, all attracting large crowds which enjoyed the German Food, Dink, Music and Hospitality.
The time was ripe to plan and built a Club House onto the vacant Block of Land. To finance the Club House a plan was devised to “sell” the bricks at $25.00 each to members wanting to support the “own Clubhouse”. With the assistance of a Bank Loan, Committee and Members met during February 1982 to determine where to place the Hall, which was designed by Werner Roszka and Master Builder Claus Sievers began to erect the Building. The official opening was on the 24th of July 1982 and the total cost was $100,000. This was only possible with the help of the members who donated time and work skills. Max Sommer donated 70 palm trees, planted around the Club House. Not everybody was happy with the project and nicknamed it the “Sauerkraut Factory”. Trading hours were Friday and Saturday between 5pm and midnight and Sundays from 12:30 to 8pm. It proved very popular with members and locals alike.
The Ladies Groups took the biggest credit in the success of the Club house and the financial success of the Club. They cooked, baked and knitted, filling the coffers of the Club. As a consequence a Kitchen was added to the Club House, allowing food to be produced on site, resulting in more patronage to the Club.
By now the popularity of the October Fest had grown so much that in 1982 it was held at the Carrara Sports Centrum, attracting over 3000 guests.
By 1983 the Club faltered slightly, membership was going backwards and tensions within the leadership were apparent. The Kitchen was leased out and the general meeting saw again a change of Committee members and its President.
The Committee invested further into the Club facilities, A Cool Room was added, the Max Sommer Lounge and the Car Park was built. The October Fest, again held at Carrara saw over 5000 guests in attendance. 1984 saw the establishment of a Beer Garden and a Soccer Group formed. Sylvester saw over 450 Guests in the House and adjacent Tent, accounting for a roaring success.
The Lady’s Group (around 1985)
A full Restaurant creates great Atmosphere
The Men’s Soccer Group
1985 saw the May Fest grow to over 1500 visitors. Tension grew between the Skat Group and the Committee, resulting in expulsion of the Group which lasted nearly 15 months and caused a lot of upheaval, including some headlines in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
1987 saw a restructuring of the Club, whereby all groups became sub groups, reporting to the Committee. The October Fest was held on the grounds of the Club and a full public Liquor License was obtained, membership grew to nearly 400 members. A year later saw the EXPO being held in Brisbane and many Locals and Tourist “discovered” German Food and Drink, which resulted in further increasing popularity of the Club in the Coast. Arno Schilling carved the new surroundings at the Club Bar, adding to the rustic character of the Club House. The October Fest saw nearly 6000 visitors over 3 days and the profit was used to expunge the Loan to the Bank. After just seven years, the Club was now free of any Loans.
In 1990 a wing was added to Club House, enlarging the facilities by some 120 seats. During October that year the World Skat Championship took place at the ANA Hotel in Surfers Paradise and 260 players from all around the globe partook in the two weeks event. Following this tournament, the Club held a Day Tournament, attracting some 120 players, including many professional players.
The Club house was updated during 1991 and a hand carved chandelier, three meters across and 250 kg heavy was added. This unique and exquisite piece was created by Arno Schilling, founding member and Master Wood Carver Artist. Further upgrades were made to the Bar and successful May Day and Mother Day functions added to the success of the Club. A caretaker residence was erected and Security measures upgraded.
By now the Committee had established an annual Calendar and Events were created, planned and executed with precision and finesse. Australia Day, May Day, Mother’s Day, Foundation Ball, October Fest, Christmas and New Year’s Eve Functions became successful mile stones during the year.
1993 saw the installation of Air Condition and enlargement of the Entrance with a “Porte Cochere”. October Fest greeted over 6500 visitors and the locals came in droves to enjoy German hospitality.
The Club House from the Eastern Side
Carnival at the Club
Fassnacht, Karneval, Fasching
Spass, Alaaf und Helau in any Language
The Entry before the Reno
Dress up by the Men’s Group
Building the Porte Cochere in 1993
To be continued ….
these were the first 20 years