2018 marks the 60th Anniversary of Bankstown Sports Club. This is a time to reminisce upon the history of the club, with its humble beginnings in 1958 a result of members wanting somewhere they could meet for a drink and chat about the weekend’s sporting matches. However, our 60th anniversary is also a time to look forward to the bright future ahead for the club. Bankstown Sports will continue to be reflective of our community and true to its charter of supporting and fostering sporting activities while offering a warm, friendly and comfortable venue to enjoy a meal and a drink or some light entertainment.
In 1958, the Bankstown District Cricket Association passed a motion to meet with other interested sporting bodies about forming a district sporting club to provide off-field amenities and support for local sports men and women. Members had to be male, over 21 and play sport. Number 8, Greenfield Parade, was purchased the same year as the site for the new club. Later, the club obtained its license and was officially named Bankstown District Sports Club. From the 243 original male members in the club’s early days, membership has grown to more than 70,000 today.
Over the years, Bankstown Sports has amalgamated with numerous clubs in need of financial assistance and support. While some were in dire straits, we have helped others survive and prosper, and the club executive has learned new lessons every time it has been approached or become involved in an amalgamation. Bankstown Sports amalgamated with Baulkham Hills Sports in 1999, and in 2008 brought Bankstown Sports Bowls under our wing, while in 2011 Birrong Sports joined the family. Today, all three clubs remain part of the Bankstown Sports Group and are prospering. More recently, in 2016, Bankstown Sports amalgamated with The Acres Club, (formerly known as Greenacre Bowling Club), and in December 2017 we took control of operations at Auburn Tennis and Recreation Club.
In the early years, after a hard day on the sporting field, members could come back and relax and enjoy a middie and a dabble on one of the 10 pokies then head home, spruce up and return for the Saturday Night Dance which was a social highlight of the week. Around 1969, the new auditorium, dining room and Chess Bar were completed and they were the height of sophistication. The club was becoming a talked-about hub for entertainment, with acts coming from far and wide – even overseas – to perform at Bankstown Sports. By the mid 90s tribute Bands and “imitation” performers were flourishing and filling seats at the theatre.
Today, the gamers haven and unique social escape – Platform Zero Esports – or PZE - is the changing face of sport, with the creation of the club’s own console and PC-based gaming brand launched in 2017. The club now runs weekly tournaments in the dedicated PZE Bar, where keen gamers come and test their skills against each other. But that doesn’t mean we have forgotten our younger fans, with the climbing frames of Monkey Mania and more challenging Turbo Climb now being part of the club, although the latter is also proving popular for corporate team-building exercises also. Flinders Centre Bankstown has added another huge facet to our entertainment offering, as it enables Bankstown Sports to attract large international conferencing events and exhibitions, all with easy access and ample parking available.
Bankstown Sports Club’s mission statement is ‘Making a difference for our Community’. This sentiment is at the heart of everything we do at the club and acts as a guide for our daily operations and business decisions. Under government legislation, under the ClubGRANTS scheme, all large clubs must invest a minimum of 2.25 per cent of their annual gaming revenue back into the community. Bankstown Sports has always exceeded this figure and on average, we have contributed over 4 per cent each year to community projects. From 1959 to 2018, the club has contributed over $47.6 million to local sporting and community groups.
The club’s original 1958 charter was to sponsor and foster sport, with all members and their children to be actively involved in sport in order to join the club. Fast-forward to 2018, and Bankstown Sports now supports more than 40 associated sporting clubs in the Bankstown, Birrong, Baulkham Hills, Greenacre and Auburn areas, which are all run by volunteers and cater for recreational, social and competitive sports for over 7500 juniors and senior participants. While Bankstown Sports is a family-friendly community club delivering entertainment and dining to members and guests, it also has an obligation to support community sport, especially grassroots junior sport – in addition to its broader community obligations.
We are delighted to be celebrating our Diamond anniversary as a club and community leader, and we look forward to sharing the next 60 years with you.