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Opening of the extension to the Mt Pritchard and District Community Club Limited

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Mr President, Mr Grace, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It was with much pleasure that I accepted your

invitation to perform the official opening of the

extensions to this magnificent club. Ted Grace had

extolled the Club's virtues so strongly that I had to

come to see for myself the progress you have made in .the

development of your club.

Looking around at what has been accomplished, members,

directors and staff can all be proud of the giant

strides that have been made since the opening of the

club in 1961.

The transformation of what was then the Mt Pritchard

Workers Club established in sgme old huts, into the

magnificent edifice we see today is truly remarkable.


Three features characterise your club, namelyt

- You have kept your original premises; a reminder of

your humble beginnings;

- You have retained your initial patron, Gough

Whitlam, a continuing reminder of your Labor roots

(Gough incidentally officially opened the club

under its new name in 1968); and

- You continue to fulfil the promise, enshrined in

your club's name, of serving the local community.

Since the fifties licensed clubs in New South Wales have

undergone a remarkable expansion both in suburban and

country districts. Although many clubs have retained

their specialist nature, there has been an evolution to

the larger clubs such as your own which can rightly be *- ' 0

considered community centres.

Recognition of clubs such as your own as community

centres is, I think, very important.

Clubs such as this can be a focal point where people of

quite diverse background can -be at one with each other

in a relaxed environment.

Clubs' importance in our communities is highlighted by

the fact that the community they serve is a microcosm

of the pluralist society that Australia has become.

One of Australia's greatest strengths has been its

acceptance of people from quite diverse nationalities

around the world.

Our plurality and diversity is a national asset to be

cherished and safeguarded.

We live in a society which, while supporting a common

group of institutions, legal rights and obligations

leaves individuals free to maintain their particular

religion, language and customs. In this way local

communities, such as your own, contribute to the

richness and traditions of our nation.

In an important sense of national unity can only exist

where individuals feel at home within their local

community. In this respect clubs such as this play a

crucial role.

They bring men and women, young and old, people of

diverse ethnic and economic'backgrounds, together. Many

people now share in the recreational and leisure

possibilities presented by the clubs. .


Here in Australia we have seen developed, over time, a

strong network of voluntary organisations which carry

out a range of activities vital to the health of the

community. Their role is indispensable in a society

such as our own.

Our clubs are an essential focus for such activities.

In this regard, the bricks and mortar are basic

ingredients to providing facilities, but the really

important role of the club is to provide services first

to its members but also to the wider community.

Gone, hopefully, are the days where larger clubs were

just poker machine and beer palaces. Clubs such as

yours are now community and social centres providing

entertainment, and a venue for functions and meetings

both of your own sports clubs and outside organisations.

Clubs such as yours not only serve as a focus for some

of these activities; they should also be developing new

directions and dimensions for local involvement.

Let me give you an example.

•This International Ifouth Year is a good time to look at

the needs of the younger people in our community. I

know the Fairfield City area has a very high youth

population. I am sure there are ways in which this Club

could examine support for young people in things such as

low-cost recreation, health, legal help, accommodation,

or transport. I invite you to consider the challenge.



This Club could, for example, examine how best to make

its facilities available for use by young people in the

local area. In this regard I believe there is a

particular need for services for young women. I am

certain you could think of many other ways of

contributing to the youth of the Fairfield area.

Celebrations such as you are holding today give everyone

concerned an opportunity to reflect on the direction of

the club and the contribution it is making to its

members and the community.

It is in this spirit that I have much pleasure in

declaring these extensions open, and extend my best

wishes for the future activities of the club.

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