Club will ‘soldier on’ in face of devastating fire

The Canberra Services Club has vowed to rebuild after a fire devastated its heritage-listed home in Manuka yesterday morning.

Flames ran underneath the floorboards of the 70-year-old timber building before 6am yesterday, soon climbing the walls and rising high above the roof to fully engulf the Canberra Avenue property.

Firefighters gained control of the blaze by about 7am, and the receding flames revealed a scene of devastation just a few days after the club served as an Anzac Day focal point for the capital.

The interior was reduced to a blackened mess, timber weatherboards were burnt to shrivelled matchsticks and huge swathes of roofing collapsed, leaving the building all but destroyed. But the Canberra Services Club has vowed to fight on, and is already planning to start trading at a temporary site within weeks.

Club president Matthew Harvey said the club’s management would operate from offices donated by the neighbouring Manuka Oval. The club also intends to rebuild on the existing site in Manuka in the long-term, and Mr Harvey said any new building would continue the tradition of the ruined clubhouse.

”The club is more than just a building,” Mr Harvey said.

”The club, not the building, is still very much alive, and we will soldier on,” he said.

The club’s manager, Allan Evans, stood alongside other staff early yesterday morning, watching on as their workplace was engulfed in flame.

”All the history is gone now, it’s lost, it’s just memories,” Mr Evans said.

War photography, military medals and old uniforms were destroyed in the fire, and fears were held for archived records from Canberra’s RSL clubs stored at the site. But the Canberra Services Club has vowed to fight on, and is already planning to start trading at a temporary site within weeks.

Club president Matthew Harvey said the club’s management would operate from offices donated by the neighbouring Manuka Oval. The club also intends to rebuild on the existing site in Manuka in the long-term, and Mr Harvey said any new building would continue the tradition of the ruined clubhouse.

”The club is more than just a building,” Mr Harvey said.

”The club, not the building, is still very much alive, and we will soldier on,” he said.

The club’s manager, Allan Evans, stood alongside other staff early yesterday morning, watching on as their workplace was engulfed in flame.

”All the history is gone now, it’s lost, it’s just memories,” Mr Evans said.

War photography, military medals and old uniforms were destroyed in the fire, and fears were held for archived records from Canberra’s RSL clubs stored at the site.

Canberra Times, 28 April 2011, by Christopher Knaus

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *