Hakoah construction underway

September 25, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Construction of a new Hakoah Club – a sports and cultural precinct on the site of the old White City tennis centre in Sydney’s Paddington – was officially launched on Friday by the Premier of NSW  Dominic Perrottet.

Sir Frank Lowy checks off the memory board of the old Hakoah   Photo: Giselle Haber

And for the celebration was the former president of Hakoah, Sir Frank Lowy, visiting his Sydney home from his official residence in Tel Aviv.

The club will provide a wide range of state-of-the-art sporting, cultural and other activities for people of all ages and be open to the entire community when complete in the first half of 2024.

Two foundation stones – one for the new centre and a replica of the one laid at the original Hakoah Club in Bondi in 1973 – were unveiled by the Premier and Hakoah President Steven Lowy at a ceremony on-site attended by donors and community representatives, including Sir Frank Lowy, President of Hakoah 1969 – 1988.

Steven Lowy Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Board member Ali Linz told the 130 attending the function: “Before finalising the plans for the site, we conducted a survey of 1500 people aged 18 to over 80. And we asked them what they thought of the facilities that were planned and some programming that might happen. The results gave us conviction. What we found is that 96% of people who were told about the plans said agreed with the statement. We need a place where we can “come together” and feel that sense of connectedness. What was particularly interesting was that young people felt the same as older people. They said things like 20-year-olds are very disconnected from universities and there is nowhere to meet other young people. It’s important to have a fun place where you can meet and have something to eat and drink after you’ve done sport together.”

From her address, it became apparent that the new club’s motto will be “Coming together”.

Steven Lowy said that after a decade of planning, the start of construction was an exciting and truly historic occasion and that the new club would be transformative for the community.

Mr Lowy said that while it would be an inclusive, community-wide asset, the Jewish community had donated $75 million of the total $95 million project cost, understood to be the single largest community commitment of its kind.

“With its rich history, we feel privileged as the custodians of White City to return it to its former glory, welcoming back the sport, entertainment and enjoyment that it provided Sydneysiders for over a century,” he said.

The function was held on what had been the centre court in this one-time international tennis facility. Steven reminded the guests that ‘tennis arrived in 1922 and, until the turn of the last century White City hosted some of the biggest and best tournaments in the world through the golden age of Australian tennis. Legends like Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall and Evonne Goolagong Cawley made tennis history here. As a schoolboy, I watched Davis Cup clashes through the fence’.

Dominic Perrottet   Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Lowy thanked the Premier for his support and acknowledged the contributions of the NSW and Commonwealth governments and the Australian Sports Foundation.

“The support we have received from our partners demonstrates what can be achieved when community groups work together with government and other organisations to create much-needed community infrastructure.”

Facilities at the new centre will include event spaces to support a wide range of social, educational, and cultural activities, including music, art and dance. State-of-the-art sporting facilities include a fitness centre, a floodlit all-weather football field, a learn-to-swim pool, a 4-lane lap pool and weatherproof multi-use courts for basketball, netball, futsal and more. The Club will also provide a range of café and dining experiences for members and guests. Sydney Maccabi Tennis Club will develop and operate nine new tennis courts, four mini courts for children, and a new clubhouse.

He added: “The Community has responded magnificently to the many challenges we have faced, contributing capital and giving of their time and expertise in so many ways. To those of you who are here, thanks for joining us and for your generous support, without which this project would have never happened.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet liked the motto “better together”. He said: “As a young father myself, I know in this time how hard it is to get our young kids off their screens and getting out and doing activities. And it’s being spoken about today about this being a place where we all come together and to drive particularly young people into sports into outdoor recreation, whether it’s tennis, basketball, swimming, all the things that will be available to young people will make a real, a real difference from generations to come. And the more that we do from a state government perspective and a community perspective, in investing in things to get people out and about learning, learning the benefits of team sport and of building camaraderie.”

Dominic Perrottet, Sir Frank and Steven Lowy     Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

He said that the new Hakoah is really like the legacy of the generation who ran the old Hakoah saying: And it takes a small number of people to make a real difference to improve many people’s lives. And it’s that spirit of service, that sense of giving that vision that we see today. That won’t just lead to a great facility in the short term, but it will leave a great legacy in the long term for our children. This  really demonstrates to me that this will be an absolute success.”

Steven Lowy announced that club has already 3000 members signed up and that it would open its doors in 2024.

Gallery photos by Giselle Haber


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