Fair YMCA Victoria St 5 Nov 1966

The Eaglehawk Y Service Clubs (the former Y’s Men Club chartered 17th May 1958 and Y’s Menettes Club chartered 13th September 1958) this year reach 64 years of service to Y’s Men’s International, the YMCA and the
community. Based at the local Peter Krenz YMCA Leisure Centre both clubs continue to be a source of wonderful social interaction and community spirit. Our Clubs still contribute financially to many local groups, including the YMCA, and also meet their international obligations within the Y’s Men’s movement

      “We are proud of our history”

Beginning in the Eaglehawk RSL Hall in 1958, the Eaglehawk Y’s Men’s and Y’s Menettes clubs formed a boy’s club and a girl’s club, built basketball courts and bought a trampoline. They collected and sold wood for fundraising and conducted an annual Fair.

After 6 years the Eaglehawk Y’s Men’s Club purchased the disused Star Picture Theatre in Victoria Street (now the IGA supermarket car park), renovated the hall, and again built basketball courts. A very successful
basketball association was formed for men’s, ladies’, and juniors’ teams. The Y’s Men and Y’s Menettes annual fair continued here. Ten years later this fair was incorporated into the Dahlia and Arts Festival in Canterbury Park.

Opening the second YMCA at the IGA  carpark site 1966

During the 1970s the Eaglehawk Y’s Men’s Club operated a boy’s club, a girl’s club, basketball competitions, harriers, weight lifting, little athletics and hockey clubs. Fundraising activities included selling show bags and a catering stall at the Bendigo Show, an annual Golf Tournament at the
Eaglehawk Golf Club, and a Dinner Ball every year.

In 1976 the Y’s Men combined with the Eaglehawk Borough Council to build the Leisure Centre at Lake Neangar, initially donating $44,000 ($34,000 from the sale of the Victoria St. property plus $10,000 of club funds).  An normous amount of money in those days all raised through voluntary fund raising activities. As well as hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of labour was
donated by tradesmen members during the construction of the centre and the many additions and alterations since including $20,000 towards stage two when two additional squash courts and the stadium were built.

From the opening of the Leisure Centre in 1979 until 1986 the club and members ran the Leisure Centre and the crèche. Then the YMCA took  over the operation and appointed a manager and the Centre became at one stage the busiest YMCA in Victoria. The added space encouraged centre based fundraising activities including a Trade Fair and a Collectors Fair utilising the gymnasium and newly built activities room. The club built a skating rink and then used it as the floor when they built the larger activities room along the front of the Leisure Centre costing $52,000, also making tables and purchasing chairs.

Dahlia & Arts 2006

In the 1990’s they converted what was initially a large storage room into the
gymnasium $14,000 and helped lay 60 metres of concrete at the main entrance $7,000 and spent many hours constructing the new foyer and offices during the conversion of the outdoor pool into an indoor aquatic centre. Constructed the mini golf course $12,000 and donated $13,000
for air conditioning and gym equipment.

Between 2000-2005 the clubs assisted with the construction and fitting out of the staff lunch room, paid for the painting, purchased carpet and installed an overhead projector and PA system during the refurbishment of the meeting room. Equipment for programs and toys for the creche were provided in the aquatic area, pool covers, water feature, aquatic dumbbells, aquatic microphone, storage cubes and lockers were added. A number of large financial donations were given to support the Community Youth
Development Program.

Between 1975 and 2018 the Y Service Club (Women) gave $69,628 and the Y Service Men donated $368,494 to the Leisure Centre, a total of $438,122 raised by volunteer work.

Catering has always been a large part of the club’s efforts from the Madison, Fire Brigade Demos, the Bendigo show and Dahlia & Arts gala fair and the Bendigo Swap using our three catering vans as the basis for our

Dahlia & Arts Float ymalb?

The clubs ran the Gala Fair in Canterbury Park an integral part of the Dahlia & Arts Festival for 40 years providing fun and entertainment for the local community until handing over to the younger, fitter St. Liborius Parents Club. A close association with the Dahlia & Arts Committee continues with donations over the years by both clubs, which provide support for the festival, prizes for the school relay and the cycling criterion and candles or glow sticks for Carols by Candlelight to the value of $12,890.

Our association with the Bendigo Vintage and Veteran Car Club Swap meeting started back in the 1990s when the van opened all night and grew when we added the drinks, ice, kiosk, pie sites and the van for the whole weekend in 1999.  Led by the Swap Committee, all club members, family and friends and volunteers from other clubs and community groups we worked together for the next 18 years to make it happen. Our participation in this event which needed hours of voluntary work, has injected more than $120,000 into the local clubs and community groups who helped us and into the car club and the Bendigo Hospital Radiation Unit for their “Raise the Roof” appeal. Since 2018 the clubs have assisted Rotary, who now provide the catering at the Swap and when possible undertaken smaller catering jobs, but like all such organisations our activities have been curtailed by Covid restrictions.

But the clubs are not all work and no play. Members attend combined events with members of other Y Service Clubs – conclave for the men and the weekend away for the women, conventions, both local and international. We have hosted exchange students and members’ children have lived overseas with other Y’s Men families.

In the early days there was always a family emphasis on our social activities with the annual Christmas picnic, bbq’s, bike hikes, car trials and fishing trips. Children volunteered beside their parents and lived the Y’s Men’s motto, to “Acknowledge the Duty That Accompanies Every Right”. Social activities are regularly held, theme parties, visits to places of interest, any chance to get together and have fun and get to know each other a little better. Weekend camps for relaxation after major fundraising efforts, fun and frivolity helps cement friendships and many of us treasure the incredible support we have received from our fellow members when facing illness and loss.

Both Y Service Clubs support local projects, community groups and charitable organisations, schools, individuals and international fund raising efforts. For over sixty years they have supported the Peter Krenz Leisure Centre and the local community, the old and the young, the disabled and the fit and healthy, students and sporting clubs and individuals wishing to achieve their dreams, those in need of financial or mental help or affected by disaster and the groups who provide this help. 


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