Clubhouse Opening Thanks

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Please click on the button below to access the fabulous images that captured the Official Opening Ceremony and the Special Members Opening last Saturday. Should you wish to purchase a high-res version of any of the photos, please contact our photographer, Kate Collingwood, by emailing

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What a weekend just past as we celebrated the much anticipated opening of our fabulous new Clubhouse. For those of you who were unable to join us, it really was a wonderful day of celebrations, kicked off on Saturday morning with the Premier, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP and the Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire, Cr David Gill on hand to officially unveil the commemorative brass plaque that will adorn the western wall of the new building. The official ceremony, ostensibly to thank those who had made the Project possible through their generous financial support – The State Government, Mornington Peninsula Shire and our Cornerstone & Community Donors – was followed with canapés and a little bubbles as all present toured the building for a closer inspection. The weather gods smiled on us, as Huey sent the most magnificent 2m sets rolling ashore – contrast that to Bells Beach where the event was cancelled again due to no surf – should have brought it to Portsea!

Our team of event planners then beavered away in preparation to welcome up to 800 of our members who had replied to the Members Opening Celebration. With the late afternoon sun painting a stunning backdrop, our members began streaming down at 4pm to finally get inside the building they’ve been patiently watching rise out of the dune over the last 16 months. And from the looks on some of the faces, it was worth the wait!! The new radio room, now at ground level to enable interaction with the public, still provides uninterrupted 180 degree views of our beach. Then, upon entering through the two large rolling doors into the new gear storage area, the 3.6m ceiling height gives an awesome sense of scale. With the first aid room on the left that enables an ambulance to back up literally right to the door, you proceed towards the eastern end of the building with beautifully appointed and clean change rooms, as well as the Multi-purpose Room which we envisage will become our youth “hang-out”. Along with the bean bags and table tennis tables, this room is dominated by a spectacular montage of photos showcasing our strong patrolling and competition history.

Moving up the central stairs case, you find yourself looking into the amazing new Day Patrol room which will provide a comfortable and highly functional base and shelter from the elements for our Active patrolling members. The “DayPa” as its known, separates the accommodation wing to the east, comprising of 5 separate bunk rooms plus laundry, bathroom and locker room, from the main Club rooms to the west with southern and eastern glass walls and sliding doors showcasing one of the best views in the country. Off the main room sits the full commercial kitchen with servery and cool rooms, the main bar that opens onto the western deck and the main reception area with its office, amenities and lift, as well as the main staircase that leads down into the main front entrance atrium.

Having completed the tour, guests then joined the rapidly growing group soaking up the last of the setting sun on the deck, whilst enjoying a drink and some fabulous food from Clover Culinary Projects with fellow members and friends. And while Easter plans reduced attendance a little, the space thankfully didn’t feel crowded by the assembled throng who partied the night away to the live music from Pym Sutton and later, the dance tunes from our resident DJ’s James Nola and Jesse Faulkhead testing the Club’s new Sonos system!! A very worthy celebration for our fabulous new facility.

Of course none of this organised or occurred by itself. A tremendous amount of planning and literally thousands of volunteer hours have gone in to delivering our new Clubhouse and I’d like to thank the following:

The Building Sub-Committee

  • Ash Murdoch – Chair of the BSC during the final construction phase, whose expertise on managing large projects was invaluable when overseeing the builder and the multitude of sub-contractors;
  • Matt Mahon – the Club’s Deputy President, Matt was responsible for Government and stakeholder relations, dealing with the State Government, Mornington Peninsula Shire, DELWP, Parks Victoria and a raft of other key suppliers, service providers and stakeholders;
  • Andrew Regan – Nipper dad and Project legal counsel who managed all of the project contract negotiations and disputes along the journey
  • Brett Croft – Nipper dad and Project finance guy who liaised directly with Club Treasurer, Angelo Biviano, to maintain the project budget and keep tabs on all of the cash inflows and outflows;
  • Cam Hunter – Life Member who, given his years of experience and history with our Club, has overseen lease negotiations with PV and other discrete projects;

The BSC has gone through several iterations over the 7-year Rebuild journey and others who have significant contributions along the way include:

  • Craig Evans – Chaired the BSC for several years prior to Ash and was responsible for guiding the Project through the torturous design and consultation phase to get us to the start of construction;
  • Fiona McLean – an architect herself, Fi provided critical review of the architectural design throughout the process and was pivotal in the decisions around the final look and feel of the building we have today, working closely with Sadler and Carr to ensure a building we can all be proud of;
  • Jodie Madden – with her background in construction, Jodie worked closely with Nick Martin in assessing several in-kind donation offers from donors looking to help with materials and services to reduce the overall project cost;
  • Charlie Schall – the man who initially raised the state of the old change rooms and the case to renovate them. From that came a grant application for $100K, before the recognition that a broader Master Plan for our Club and our facility was required. Charlie subsequently chaired the inaugural BSC through the initial concept design phase;

There are many more members who sat on the BSC and assisted over the journey, not to mention Committee members who were called upon to assess proposals and make the hard decisions. At the risk of missing someone, I’d like to single out the following for their contributions:

  • On the BSC – Sarah Curtis, Tim Clark, Andrew Cox, Tim Colquhoun, Andrew Doquile, Andrew Kiss, Ash Williams, Mark Morris, Julian Grainger, Simon Knight, Matt Perrott and Nick Tissot; and
  • On the Committee – Tim Hart, David Paterson, Tim Adams, Sophie Riddell, Jesse Faulkhead, Hunter Judge, Stephen Daniel and Elena Parker.


Our Cornerstone and Community Donors – who have all answered the call and so generously supported our Rebuild Appeal to make this Project possible, along with the support of the Victorian Government and Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Nicholas Martin – has been the driving force behind our Cornerstone and Community Donor efforts and has single-handedly managed a process that has generated well in excess of $4.1m, over half of the total project cost. As anyone who has ever tried it knows, asking people for money is a tough gig and Nick has done it with grace and most importantly, (almost) achieved his target. He has had the assistance of several of our key Cornerstone Donors including Club Patron Rob Fildes AM, Lindsay Fox, Denis Roche and John Higgins who generously opened their homes for fundraising events over the last few years. As I said, Nick has ALMOST hit his target, but still needs member assistance to close the final $400K gap to avoid the Club having project debt post-completion.

The Build Team

  • JW Sadler Architects – Club members Jim and Jacinda Sadler have been the CLub’s principal architects, with Jacinda answering the call from Charlie for help very early in the process, way back in 2012. It was Jacinda who came up with the initial concept designs and slowly adapted those throughout a long consultation period with members, consultants and other key stakeholders. An early 3-storey design got the kibosh from PV early on, but after many hours trying to work out how to fit everything into the operational western end, they came up with the highly functional design we have today;
  • Carr Design – joined the project team late in the design phase to work with the BSC and Sadler to design the beautiful external façade we have today in keeping with the aesthetic of the dune on which we are located;
  • Bruce Henderson Architects – were brought in to design the interior palate and finishes which I think we can all agree have hit the right note. Reviewing BHA’s proposed finishes and furnishings were members Kim Hunter and Sophie Croft;
  • Nash Management – our Project Managers who have successfully managed the difficult task of keeping this highly complex project, with its many twists and turns, on track and on budget; and
  • Ireland Brown Constructions – our builder who had the even more difficult task of actually building the Clubhouse in the shifting sands of the Portsea primary dune. Given the engineering work that has gone into the foundations deep below below the dune, our new facility will surely stand the test of time, not to mention mother nature!

In addition to the primary Build Team, there are countless other consultants, too numerous to mention here, who have been called upon to perform discrete tasks in the areas of expertise.

Opening Organising Committee

Finally, there was a small group of members who jumped in to actually plan and organise all of the logistics that went into hosting two significant events on the one day – the Official Opening Ceremony last Saturday morning, which was followed by the Special Members Opening later that evening. They had to organise literally everything from the guest lists and RSVP’s to food and beverage, to equipment hire including furniture, glassware, cutlery and crockery, to entertainment, staffing, security, AV hire and set up, photographer and of course cleaning up afterwards. Take a bow Fiona Wilson, Kim & Paul Hunter, Brett & Sophie Croft, Matt Perrott and Matty Mahon for what were two highly professional and well-run events.

So finally, on behalf of a very grateful Club, I say a massive thank you to all of those listed above (plus anyone I’ve missed!). It has a been a long journey, but I trust all those who were able to join us last Saturday share the view that it was well worth the wait. Let’s treasure it!


Stu Rayner

Please click on the button below to access the fabulous images that captured the Official Opening Ceremony and the Special Members Opening last Saturday. Should you wish to purchase a high-res version of any of the photos, please contact our photographer, Kate Collingwood, by emailing

See All Photos