Diggers legacy spans over eight decades
There are several things that have remained consistent throughout the club’s long journey; the pillars of community and mateship on which it was founded.
With friendships forged on the Poppy Fields of France, a group of Aussie Diggers returned home to the Northern Beaches yearning for a place to meet and share their stories over a cold beer. And so, on 5 June 1930, Harbord Diggers was born.
Like the Great War, the Great Depression of the ‘30s helped band people together. The club quickly became more than just a place to meet and socialise. It was a home for giving back to the local community and helping those in need.
Members would meet at a precarious old hut by Freshwater beach. Billy teas were served to holiday makers and money raised went towards essentials for members and their families who were suffering hardship.
In 1933 a storm washed away the hut by the beach and members moved to higher ground to the residence of a club member. In 1935 the club was relocated to Wilsons Old Barber Shop on Moore Road.
The club finally settled on its current headland location in the early 1950s. At a time when the nation was still recovering from the devastation of World War II, a whole new generation of Diggers had emerged.
In 1952, with the help of a number of key community leaders, club officials lobbied for the land where the club stands today and building soon commenced. It was at this time that the Diggers became the life blood of the Freshwater community with a focus on contribution, care, concern and camaraderie.
The ongoing expansion for the Diggers came in the late 1960s and continued into the 1970’s. Stars from around the world ‘trod the boards’ of the auditorium to massive crowds. By the late 1980s the club experienced massive membership growth and Harbord Diggers solidified itself as one of the most successful and iconic clubs in Australia.
Between 1988 and 1989 new challenges arose for the club with the Australian Hotels Association allowing establishments to extend trading hours and fiercer competition arose. This brought about new opportunities and the club’s Board pushed for an upgrade in the ‘90s.
Despite trying to keep up with the changing demands of society in the early noughties, things were not looking as successful as they had in the past for the Diggers, prompting Mounties Group to step in to assist in 2006. Mounties Group brought a strong vision to revamp the club.
By 2010, having endured decades of salt, wind and patronage the now weathered Harbord Diggers was reaching the end of its life.
A new dawn for the Diggers was on the horizon following DA approval in late 2014 for a new Harbord Diggers venue. This new life begun with construction on the new precinct commencing in 2016 and the Stage 1 launch of the new venue in 2018.
On 30 June 2018, the new Harbord Diggers swung open it’s doors to showcase a completed Stage One venue. Members and locals were presented with a smorgasbord of new dining, entertainment, and lifestyle options, with the Diggers’ legacy still beating at our heart.
Stage Two of Harbord Diggers including fitness, aquatic and Watermark Freshwater retirement residences was completed in 2019.