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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then came the entertainment and by now you would know that it’s not an event unless we have some Elvis.
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.
It’s a shame a centenary event only comes by once in a lifetime.