On the verge of ruin since 2008, Fairy Meadow's Fraternity Club has clawed its way out of receivership thanks to a lifeline offered by the Commonwealth Bank.
More than 500 members were told the good news at a formal dinner on Saturday night at the club's 60th birthday celebrations.
Strains of Queen's We Are The Champions mixed with cheers of joy and elation as the board announced details of a refinancing loan from the Commonwealth.
Crippled by two high-interest loans with a fixed interest rate of 8.5 per cent, the club has received a Commonwealth Bank offer to consolidate the multimillion-dollar debt at a more manageable interest rate of 6.02 per cent.
The man behind the negotiations, club president Mick Cuda, said the heart and soul of the club had been salvaged.
"There have been hardships for sure," Mr Cuda said. "But our members have been patient with us. The difference with this community is that it has always had the strength to provide assistance whenever it's required."
The Fraternity Club, which was built brick by brick by a handful of immigrants in 1952, has played a vital role in the lives and memories of the Italian migrant community who gathered at Saturday's dinner to share fond memories of their "home away from home".
"It was an emotional night," Mr Cuda said. "I had many old Italian women come up to me in tears, telling me how important the club had been to their family.
"When it went into receivership, it was like they had lost a part of their family. There was a sense of loss. Listening to them speak was spine chilling. I had tears myself."
In the history of the club, nobody could recall a happier moment than when members were told that the facility was to be handed back to them by the receivers.
That alone will mean a huge financial saving for the club, which had been forced to pay $1.25 million to the receiver over five years - an average of $250,000 a year.
The club's troubles began in 2005 after some poor business decisions and faction fighting within the then board.
By the time Mr Cuda took over as president in 2008, the debt had blown out to $13 million.
His first job was to build back confidence in the new board and attract more members to the club.
"I went knocking on doors," he said. "I went to various sporting associations, including the Port Kembla Pumas and Football South Coast. The clubs which had supported us in the past, I went to them and asked for their patronage."
Mr Cuda's five-year strategy paid off and earlier this year, he began to renegotiate the debt, which now stands at $7.5 million.
Under the latest deal, the Fraternity's two major lenders have agreed to reduce the loan to $6.75 million. That agreement made the club's prospects more attractive to the Commonwealth Bank, which made the refinancing offer last Friday at 6pm.
While the deal still needs to be rubber-stamped by the board and then approved by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Mr Cuda said it was just a formality and the club should be handed back to members within a few months.
"From a cash flow perspective, we will be well ahead," he said. "The interest rate is very favourable and having the one lender will be much cleaner, much more transparent. It's been a long journey but we did it. We've managed to rebuild confidence in the club."
There are plans to move forward with the development of a new foyer, with construction expected to begin by the end of the year.