“After talking to another person for about an hour, he turned and put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Would you like a drink?’ That was it. There was chemistry.”
Old Concordia Club. sauce: attached
Marrickville’s Concordia is one of the smaller clubs originally founded by groups of immigrants from around the country.
And then the place was noisy. Musicians play old German songs on accordions, and diners enjoy pork his knuckles and other German delicacies. Old photos of past club members line the walls, and there’s a deli that sells German condiments and sweets.
Old Concordia Club. sauce: attached
Manfred says business is booming as the customer base has grown.
“The Concordia are no longer strictly ethnic. We are just there, and that is why we are successful.”
What is an “Ethnic Club”?
However, there is no census to estimate how many of them are called ‘ethnic clubs’ or clubs founded by immigrants to Australia. Not all clubs are licensed venues. Some clubs are simply halls or homes owned by community organizations, while others have evolved into providers of care and education for the elderly.
However, we know many venues are struggling to stay open. Clubs Australia estimates that in New South Wales alone, 33% of small clubs show signs of distress or severe distress.
Cyprus club sign in Sydney. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
Many of the venues that exist today started out as football clubs.
“A week or so after arriving, they joined a local football club where they could meet people who spoke the same language and had similar interests. it was a soccer club [them] Work, home, sometimes family. “
Men, gods and coffee at Cyprus clubs
One afternoon, 40 people gathered in the club’s dining room to have lunch and dance to a band playing traditional Greek music. Statues of Greek gods and goddesses line the staircase, and old photos of past members hang on the walls in a blue and white color scheme.
A couple enjoying a meal at the Cypriot Club in Sydney. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
About 50 men in their 70s, 80s and 90s are playing cards in the basement. “Not for the money,” one of them insists.
it looks like old school cafenio (Café) Found everywhere in Cyprus and Greece. It was frequented by men and still functions as a social gathering place for the village.
In a society where loneliness is classified as a health problem, loneliness is a winning combination.
Traditional statues and figurines on display at the club. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
Amylios, a regular, makes the 120km round trip from Penrith in western Sydney several times a week.
“I was in the war too. I was not injured, but I saw people die. I was lucky to be alive.”
Amilios in the basement of the club. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
Amilios says the club gives him connection with people who understand his past.
“We enjoy each other’s company. We tell stories about our past, sometimes good, sometimes sad. Being surrounded by our own culture makes us feel more comfortable.” ”
I feel more comfortable when I am surrounded by my own culture.
– Amilios, Cyprus Club Member
As well as offering traditional dance classes and Greek language lessons, the club is now looking at other ways to attract business and is going through a rezoning process in hopes that the development will help it survive. increase.
A tale of two Polish clubs
Club president Richard Borysiewicz said the board decided long ago that growth was the best way to survive.
The original entrance to Ashfield’s Polish Club before it was demolished for new development. sauce: attached
“Instead of getting carried away by emotions, we look at the facts and think, ‘What do we have to do to survive? Is it?’ I thought.”
There’s a tray of Polish jam donuts covered in powdered sugar and a jar of coffee for a lady listening to health stories in Polish.
Polish club in Bankstown. sauce: attached
Zofia, who is in her early 90s, is one member of the group. She jokes that she hopes the group’s gender balance will change a bit.
“If there are free men, they don’t want to come here. They are too busy. But there are a lot of free women here. It’s nice to go out and have coffee.”
Zofia and other seniors meet once a month at club Bankstown in Poland. credit: Peggy Giakoumelos SBS News
For Zofia and many others, the group is a social outlet and one of the only ways to meet friends of similar age and background.
Short of men, another female member pipes up. “We are all free!” she says.
“Unfortunately, the last two years have been devastating for us.Additionally, there have been floods.A lot has happened.In the last two years, we had no income at all, almost nothing.So now , we start again.”
Bankstown’s Polish club, which hosted official guests from Poland in the 1970s. sauce: attached / attached
Both Polish clubs are located in areas where demographics have changed rapidly due to migration from Asia, the Middle East and the subcontinent.
Robert Borsak is Treasurer and Director of the Ashfield Club and President of the NSW Shooters and Fishers Party. He believes development is one of the few ways for a small club to keep the early founder’s vision alive.
Ashfield’s Polish Club, Richard Bolisevic and Robert Borsak at the construction site of the apartment complex. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
“This is not just a fantasy. If you don’t make this work as a business, there is no Polish community organization here at all. And you have to work hard to make it work and then make a profit. I have to,” he says.
Michael Lubieniecki is a club volunteer and the son of the club president. He believes it will survive.
Michael Lubieniecki at the Bankstown Polish club. sauce: SBS News / Peggy Jacomeros
“There will always be niches. There will always be clubs like this. Maybe not as many as there used to be, but there will always be some. Polish clubs are a kind of organization and people are here. I love coming to
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-history-of-australias-ethnic-clubs-and-why-their-survival-matters-today/xjfs6yk4v The history of Australia’s ‘ethnic clubs’ and why they matter today