Balmoral Beach Club Centenary

In 1914 a group of young Mosman men who called themselves ‘The Smugglers’, met at the site of the old Euroka Camp to swim in the harbour.  They decided to form a social and swimming club and held a meeting in the Mosman Town Hall and on the 12th of February 1914, the Balmoral Beach Club was established.

Individual place settings

Individual place settings

The BBC is situated on the northernmost point of Balmoral Beach.  Back in the day a simple wooden building was erected as a clubhouse and opened on the 24th of January, 1915.  Two small tram cars were purchased and used as change rooms for children.  A brick two-storey clubhouse was built in 1928 and served the club until the present building replaced the structure in 1999.  The current venue has an upper floor dining room with some of the finest views out through the Sydney Heads and has become a very popular venue for functions including weddings.



The club got off to a great start with many people joining however in the Great Depression its membership dropped to less than 300.  Then came WWII and the members of the BBC responded sacrificially.  Of the 300 men, women and child members, over 100 volunteered for the Armed Forces.  Seven gave their lives and are lovingly remembered by trophies named in their honour.  Swimming and running races are held every year in honour of these men whose lives were tragically cut short and today’s 2000 members compete valiantly to win one of these very special trophies.

Arriving early, I was able to see the setting up

Arriving early, I was able to see the setting up in action

The mindset of the BBC has always been that it is a family club that holds races every Saturday and Sunday where no one is refused entry because of a lack of swimming ability.  All races are handicapped and the mingling of swimmers of varying ability before and after the races has built up a strong camaraderie in the BBC.

The table setting

The table settings

The BBC holds races every Saturday and Sunday of  the year and there’s even a week of events held between Christmas and New Year called ‘The Summer of Fun’.  It’s non-stop!

The Taronga Zoo function centre

Main function room in the Taronga Centre

Carl’s a member and he’s putting in my membership but he’s been saying that for years so if I’m ever to swim there I’ll probably have to submit it myself.

Beautiful shades of blue

Beautiful shades of blue

Anyway, to celebrate the centenary, a ball was held at the Taronga Centre in the grounds of the zoo.  I thought the room was beautifully and appropriately decorated with retro swimsuits and lots of memorabilia.

And the sun begins to set on Sydney Harbour

And the sun begins to set on Sydney Harbour

It was a black tie event with a sit-down dinner for around 220 members.  I knew tickets would sell out fast so on the morning they went on sale, Carl went on-line immediately.  By that afternoon all tickets had been sold with another 40 hopefuls on a waiting list.

Retro swimwear

Retro swimwear

We were very much looking forward to the event and arrived early.  More than an hour early to be exact as Carl had volunteered himself for a a few moments on stage and needed to rehearse.

And there's a singer you may recognise

The Beach Club singers.  One of them you may recognise!

A retro swimsuit

A retro swimsuit

When the room began to fill we mixed and mingled and then it was time to sit down for the dinner.  The entree was a crispy duck salad.  I didn’t think much of the presentation of this entree but it was truly delicious with the twice-c0oked duck meat falling from the bone with just a nudge and the richness of the duck being beautifully contrasted with the sharp vinaigrette and the slight sourness from the grapefruit and pomegranates.

Crispy Duck Salad with gem lettuce, pink grapefruit and pomegranate, chardonnay vinaigrette

Crispy Duck Salad with gem lettuce, pink grapefruit and pomegranate, chardonnay vinaigrette

For a main, Carl had the pan-fried barramundi with no complaints at all.  He loved the flavourful broth and thought the basil went very well with the barramundi.  And as a bonus, he always enjoys a few potatoes on his plate.

Pan fried barramundi with spring vegetables, chat potatoes and pistou broth

Pan fried barramundi with spring vegetables, chat potatoes and pistou broth

I had the pure Angus beef tenderloin which was a generous-sized steak that was cooked medium-rare (my favourite), with a good amount of hollandaise and beef jus (nothing good about a dry meal).  I wasn’t mad on the potato fondant and left half of it but the portobello mushrooms were divine with the steak.

Pure Angus beef tenderloin with Portobello mushroom, potato fondant, hollandaise and beef jus

Pure Angus beef tenderloin with Portobello mushroom, potato fondant, hollandaise and beef jus

The dessert was a frozen nougat with raspberries and lime.  I would really like the recipe for this dessert.  Utterly delicious with good texture, great flavour and a smoothy creaminess and so very pretty.

Frozen nougat with raspberries and lime

Frozen nougat with raspberries and lime

Then came the entertainment and by now you would know that it’s not an event unless we have some Elvis.

Elvis appeared to sing Suspicious Minds

‘We’re caught in a trap…’

And then it was onto the dance floor until we were ushered to the door where a courtesy bus transported us to within walking distance of our front door.

The centrepieces for the table.  The lady who made them is a stylist and she said she would come and help me decorate the venue for Archie's 21st - score!

The centrepieces for the table. The lady who made them is a stylist and she said she would come and help me decorate the venue for Archie’s 21st – score!

It’s a shame a centenary event only comes by once in a lifetime.

More work by the stylist

More work by the stylist

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  1. Looks like a fun evening! Carl’s such a great sport! I don’t think I could ever get Trace up on a stage! BBC is simply gorgeous with lovely views and great food too. Glad you had a good time.

  2. I just love all of that vintage swimwear – it looks fabulous!

  3. Sounds like a great club, with good values. I enjoyed the swimsuits.

  4. Those 50’s swimsuits are just gorgeous. And very flattering too. Congratulations on scoring a free stylist for the 21st – that’s got to be better than winning the lottery at the moment I reckon. Or maybe not. But pretty close 🙂

  5. What a fun and delicious evening. 🙂 The old-fashioned bathers are delightful. 🙂

  6. Oh, what fun it would be to attend an event like this in a beautiful setting with appropriate and creative styling, great food (what is barramundi?) and wonderful entertainment. It sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful evening out. What a great place this will be to celebrate Archie’s 21st.

  7. Hi Charlie. I’m here from Kim’s. I spent my childhood next to the Balmoral Beach Club!!!! My large, extended family would gather in the patch of land next door to the club once a month for a picnic. We’d swim out to the shark net, walk around the rock pool, the gelato van would come around; and at the end of the day we’d pick up empty coke bottles from the beach and get 5c for them at the kiosk (pre Bathers Pavilion). The Club always seemed very glamorous to me from the other side of the white wall.

    Thanks for a happy trip to the past.

    • What beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing. Everything sounds the same as it is today except you have to buy your gelato from the kiosk (Bathers has a very small kiosk at the south end of the building) and you can’t get any money for your coke bottles!

  8. Wow, I love those retro suits!! Very modest and pretty! The food looked divine. And dessert?!? Oh my! That’s awesome about Archie’s 21st! Score indeed!!! 🙂 You get to do the most fun stuff, Charlie!! xo

  9. Great place!

  10. I adore that those retro swimsuits!

  11. What fun! You’re meal looked mouth watering. Yum!

  12. Could we have a video of Elvis, I mean Carl one time please Charlie?
    That’s so nice to have somewhere with so much history.

  13. Please get that recipe dessert for us asap 😉

  14. You get to have so much fun, Carl is such a great sport. I can’t seem to be able to drag my husband anywhere fun, leave alone get him up on a stage! I would love to get my hands on those retro swimsuits. I would go for barramundi, looks awesome!

  15. Charlie, what a fun event! Wish we could have seen your black tie outfit! It looks and sounds like a great night out!

  16. The locale and place settings were lovely but the food presentations were about on a level that I would be able to accomplish which is kind of sad.

    Although I can’t tell how good the Beach Club singers were, all the gentlemen were elegantly turned out and the lady was gorgeously dressed as well. Very tropical.

  17. i saw the pics on your instagram! Theeyve committed to the blue theme perfectly! 😀 Yay fo another appearance by Elvis!

  18. I’ve only seen ‘Elvis’ on video once but I’d be happy with a full performance one day. 🙂 The BCC sounds like a wonderful family spot.

  19. That stylist is so talented, love the different designs 😀
    And delicious evening of course!

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. What a gorgeous event, I just love the centrepieces and it’s no surprise you asked the stylist to help you decorate! Although, you would have done a gorgeous job on your own too, but it’s nice to have help and not have to think about one other thing. The meal also looked very appetizing but I’m with you about the presentation of the duck, or lack there of — though I’m very glad it tasted delicious. I’d love to see what you were wearing for this lovely event. The sky certainly does have the look of fall to it but the Sydney skyline is quite beautiful. What a lovely evening.

  21. What a lovely event! And how great does Carl look???? Fabulous. The setting is fun and the retro swimwear even moreso.

  22. G’day! Looks to be heaps fun and love the table settings, Charlie!
    Love seeing anything retro, especially swimsuits!
    Cheers! Joanne

  23. Wow, such a fun event Charlie, I like the pictures of the retro swimwear…
    Hope you are enjoying your week 😀

  24. What a great event, Charlie, and how fortunate you were able to score tickets. It’s amazing that the little club that those men started would last 100 years and survive two world wars. It really is cause for a celebration. The views of Sydney Harbor were stunning. Those men knew where to form a club.

  25. What a great night, I’m glad the swim wear was decoration not dress code 🙂 I hope you share the recipe if you can get it out of the venue, and score indeed with the stylist! Fantastic! Xox

  26. Sounds like you had a wonderful night – loved the flashback to the swimwear from years past!

  27. What a fantastic evening out!
    Have an awesome day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  28. Great post and beautiful photos! The retro swimsuit looks awesome! The frozen nougat with raspberries and lime looks like a perfect wrap up to your dinner. What a great event!

  29. What a great event and I love the retro swimwear! In fact, it would be fun to have a suit now that looks like one of those. 🙂

  30. What a lovely event to be part of! that special club sounds very sylish & I love those retro bathing suits too! 🙂 A lovely read aka post! x

  31. How nice that your Elvis had another opportunity to perform. I am sure he is a fan favorite! And this club is really spectacular. The views are wonderful and its place in history is very special. I hope you get your very own membership and can take advantage of the swimming. Gotta say I love those old vintage suits. I’m a little vintage, so i think I’d look good in them now. 🙂

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