The embattled Fraternity Club, built on the sweat of volunteers in the early 1950s, became a second home to Italian migrants and their families.
Every weekend Olga Romano's father and uncles would work on the construction site and it was her cousin who laid the first brick.
It is where she met her husband Federico Romano at a dance at the age of 19, where her daughter married and where countless birthdays and family functions have been celebrated.
For many Italians it became a substitute homeland, where almost every member spoke Italian and understood the Italian way of life.
It was 60 years ago today that the club, then known as the South Coast Social Club, first opened its doors to the public and for many it was a chance to form lifelong bonds.
Mr Romano still has his first membership card and receipt, which cost him two pounds, two shillings in 1955.
"I came here nearly every day," said Mr Romano.
"I'd come here after work before going home. I'd play bocce, carpet bowls, darts, dominoes and cards. I came to enjoy myself."
For the hundreds of young male migrants that came to Australia in search of a better life, the Fraternity Club was a reminder of home.
Each Easter and Christmas old Italian mothers would bake traditional fare, which they would spread out on a long communal table. To show their appreciation the young men would in turn ask them to dance.
"They weren't just interested in dancing with the young ladies," said Mrs Romano.
"They would get all these old women up on the dance floor. It didn't matter how old they were. For them it was like dancing with their mothers back home."
To save enough money to build their own home, Mr Romano, who worked at the steelworks, spent his holidays pulling beers behind the bar at the Fraternity Club.
"This is the only club we ever go to. It's been a big part of the lives of many Italians," Mrs Romano said.
"It's been a home away from home, not just for us but for many Italians."
Retired carpenter Giovanni Marengon also met his wife, Beryl, at the club.
He was a member from 1956 and a board member for 29 years until 1988.
"I still go to the club every Saturday and Sunday," he said.
"For me it's been a place where you can go and discuss life, talk about politics and the state of the country, that sort of thing."
From a membership of 300 people the Fraternity Club now boasts 8000 members, targeting a multicultural clientele.
The financial trouble that had dogged the club for the last five years has improved significantly, to a point where the club is now clawing its way back out of receivership.
In 2005, with debts of more than $9 million, the club was forced into administration. By 2008, following a failed attempt to save the club, that figure spiralled to $12.5 million.
"The club went from good to bad because of some poor management decisions over extensions," Mr Marengon said.
"They went too big and had to borrow a lot of money. They couldn't pay it off. The club has been in trouble ever since."
The current debt is now $7.5 million. Club president Mick Cuda said he was confident that during the next year, with further strategies and continued strong trade, that debt would improve.
"When I took over as president five years ago the club was a few weeks away from having no cash at all," Mr Cuda said.
"We were that close to closure. In that time we've worked hard with the administrator.
"We have put in place strategies and tightened our belt. We're now managing our income much better."
Mr Cuda said staff had contributed "100 per cent" to the club's ability to rise from the ashes by working harder and being more flexible employees.
The 60th anniversary of the Fraternity Club will be celebrated with a formal dinner on Saturday night.