It was only 10 short years ago that the Fraternity Club was on the verge of receivership.
Today the popular Fairy Meadow club is a vibrant hub of music, entertainment and fine foods thanks largely to a $3 million renovation project.
The impressive renovation, which included a new $550,000 pizza restaurant was two years in the making.
But a lot of the groundwork was done almost a decade ago by the leadership team when the club was in dire straights.
The Fraternity Club was on the verge of receivership before a large debt was overturned by some hard work behind the scenes and the inspired leadership of president Mick Cuda, who drummed up financial support.
We have managed to reinvent ourselves. It’s pleasing to see the success that this incredible club has achieved in recent years.- Greg Field
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.
General manager Greg Field said nowadays the club boasted around 15,000 members and was viewed as an attractive location for dining, events and socialising.
Mr Field said the two-year renovation project had seen key areas transformed including the club lounge, foyer and gaming room.
He labelled the work as a huge step forward for the club and its members, who could now enjoy stunning surrounds backed by a strong financial future.
“I’ve been blown away by the renovations. They have surpassed expectations. It’s made our club bigger, better and more inviting,” Mr Field said.
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 Illawarra’s Italian migrant community.
“We have managed to reinvent ourselves. It’s pleasing to see the success that this incredible club has achieved in recent years,” Mr Field said.
“We will continue to improve and we have our sights set on, in time, refurbishing the main bar and also improving toilet facilities.”