The Harbord Diggers development concept is considered a world first, with the creation of a truly intergenerational community hub
With changing community needs and an ageing population in Australia, the entire community, no matter what age, needs a place to meet, gather and call their own.
In today’s busy society, we often don’t know our neighbours, don’t see our family as frequently or spend enough quality time with our kids. But with the new Harbord Diggers, we now have an opportunity to create a venue to facilitate all this and more.
A place where local children can learn to swim, be educated and cared for, all at the same time that our older aged residents have a safe and secure living environment that provides plenty of activities and social engagement.
A place where you can enjoy a beer with a mate or a relaxing meal with your family. A place where we can encourage healthy living, where you can take a break at the day spa, enjoy great entertainment or simply connect with friends and family.
More importantly, we have been given an opportunity to create a new style of venue that will improve the lives of the local community and benefit generations to come. This is the vision and plan for the new Harbord Diggers; to deliver a community asset that combines entertainment, living, fitness, dining, wellbeing, childcare and enjoyment - all in one place. The creation of an intergenerational community hub, a new Dawn for the Diggers and our club of the future.
Stage 1 construction is now progressing on the new Club and while we are under construction, we have a fantastic temporary club that offers a range of dining and entertainment – come and visit us today!
To read more about the vision behind the new Harbord Diggers, view or download the Intergenerational Vision document here or to visualise what the new Harbord Diggers will look like, watch our fly through video that gives a 360 degree view of the proposed design.
NB: Please note that this video provides indicative, artist impressions of the new Harbord Diggers. Minor changes have been made to the design and plans since this video was finalised.
Our iconic Club enjoys a rich Australian history. The Club was founded more than 80 years ago on the sands of Freshwater Beach, by a group of Australian Diggers. Created to make sure that the sacrifices of their fallen mates would not be in vain and needing a place to meet, share stories and enjoy a beer, they created Harbord Diggers and there began a longstanding legacy.
Originally located in an old hut overlooking Freshwater Beach, the Club in its present location was completed in the mid-1960s and was constructed to meet the needs of the local community at that time.
Situated on the headland between Freshwater and Curl Curl beaches and with stunning views right up and down Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the Harbord Diggers site is unique and truly special.
After six decades, however on a site surrounded by ocean - facing the salt, the wind and the sea water - the current building has come to the end of its life.
With the club born as a totally not-for-profit social enterprise that uses its profits to assist others in the local community, it needed new life to be able to serve the community and its members, now and into the future.
Harbord Diggers is no longer sustainable in its current form and has lost over $9.2 million over the last six years. To sustain its operations for the enjoyment of future generations, the club identified that it must diversify its services and develop new contemporary facilities to ensure it becomes a profitable social enterprise.
In mid-2011, Harbord Diggers commenced a community consultation, urban design and planning process to prepare a master plan to guide the future use of the club, the site and the Freshwater Headland - now the Harbord Diggers development project. The outcome of the process was approval of a site master plan, which obtained significant community support.
In September 2013 the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) approved the Stage One Development Application (DA) for the project. The Stage One Development Application approval (master plan approval) outlined the building envelopes (footprint, setbacks, and heights), layout and uses permitted on the site. Approval was gained to develop a new club, members’ areas, seniors’ living village, professional childcare facility, community facilities and state-of-the-art fitness and aquatic centre.
The next step required the preparation of a Development Application to articulate the detailed design of the various buildings, comprehensive technical studies of the proposed development and confirmation of the location of various uses onsite. As a result, Mounties Group lodged this Development Application in early August 2014. To develop this plan involved significant consultation with members of the Northern Beaches community, as well as other interested groups and stakeholders.
In late 2014, the Joint Regional Planning Panel approved this Development Application, allowing the club to commence finer plans for the redevelopment of the site. Harbord Diggers is extremely proud that the club’s Development Application was approved by the JRPP – an outcome that is the result of significant hard work and strong support from the community, members and loyal club supporters.
The Harbord Diggers redevelopment is expected to create over 390 jobs, which will help to contribute some $21 million per year into the local community.
With final development approval received, the club has commenced the redevelopment process, with major works currently taking place for Stage 1 of the project.
The redevelopment of the Harbord Diggers club is the result of more than four years of intensive planning and community consultation and will see the club transition into a modern, community precinct with multiple uses.
Before lodging the Development Application and in order to demonstrate design excellence, the Club undertook an architectural design competition where five groups were chosen to develop design concepts for the site.
The competition was undertaken to ensure the new development was designed to the highest possible standards and in a manner that is sympathetic to the local surroundings.
The Architectus Consortia were determined the design competition winners, with the Consortia featuring award-winning architectural firms Architectus and CHROFI, along with Sydney landscape architects, JMD Design.
The winning design by Architectus + CHROFI + JMD Design was then developed into a detailed Development Application, submitted in late 2014.
Key features of the new Harbord Diggers design and architecture include:
A design approach informed by the local landscape and character of the area
Breaking down of the headland envelope into two buildings to increase permeability, enhance views and accessibility through the site
World class hospitality and entertainment facilities that take advantage of the extensive northerly aspect
A high quality seniors living village
Modern community facilities including a childcare centre, fitness and aquatic centre
Improved landscaped areas and open public space.
Harbord Diggers recently announced the appointment of Paul Kelly Design as the interior architect for the hospitality precinct of the Harbord Diggers redevelopment.
The award-winning designer has 19 years’ design and commercial styling experience, having worked on a number of high-profile projects including The Ivanhoe Manly, Sokyo at The Star, The Oaks and The Bourbon. Throughout his career, Paul Kelly has designed in excess of 500 venues, comprising of bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels and gaming establishments.
Paul Kelly Design was selected following a tendering process and design competition which attracted some of Australia’s leading hospitality architects.
Paul has a reputation for pushing the boundaries and bringing spaces to life. His guidance will help us establish Harbord Diggers as more than just a club, but a world-class leisure and entertainment complex and a cherished community hub for all generations. As part of his appointment as Interior Architect of the new Harbord Diggers club, Paul Kelly Design will be responsible for guiding the overall atmosphere of the new Harbord Diggers various restaurants, lounges, entertainment areas and gaming floors.