With a legacy that spans more than eight decades, Harbord Diggers has ridden, driven and heralded change proudly.
But the one thing that has remained constant throughout the club’s story are 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 longing 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 1930s helped drive a sense of mateship and community. The club quickly became more than just a place to meet and socialise. It was a central platform for giving back to the local community and helping those in need.
Week in and out 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 in distress and their families.
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 then 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 and a whole new generation of Diggers had emerged.
With the help of a number of key community leaders, in 1952 club officials lobbied for the land in which 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 great period of 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.
By 1988 – 1989 new challenges arose for the club with the Australian Hotels Association allowing establishments extended trading hours and fiercer competition. This brought about new opportunities and the club’s Board pushed for an upgrade in the 90s.
In the early noughties however, despite trying to keep up with the changing demands of society, things weren’t looking as prosperous as they had in the past for the Diggers, prompting Mounties Group to step in to assist in 2006. Along with Mounties Group, came 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 being received in late 2014 for a new Harbord Diggers venue. This new life followed 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 doors swung open to showcase our completed Stage One venue. With that 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 the new Harbord Diggers including fitness, aquatic and remaining Watermark Freshwater residences is due for completion in 2019.