RYDE-EASTWOOD LEAGUES CLUB LTD
A Short History
In 1963 ten men joined together to form the Ryde-Eastwood District Rugby League Football Club, their aspiration to field a football team in
first division and to build up support within the community. It wasn’t long before it was realised that to compete at that level would require the support of a licensed Club
and thus also in 1963 Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club was formed.
After securing a lease on premises in Ryedale Rd owned by Simpson Pope Washing Machines, and previously the home of the Holeproof
women’s apparel factory, the board decided to apply for a liquor licence. With opposition from local hotels, the Club’s application was rejected twice,
and the process of applying for a licence took nearly seven years.
A core group of 250 Foundation members (whose names are on display within the Club), as well as various NSW Leagues Clubs
provided financial support to enable the Club to meet its obligations (which included substantial legal bills) and survive during these seven years.
The board finally won its legal battle, which included a change to case law and were granted a licence. The original premises was purchased by
the NSWRL on behalf of the Football Club, and on 19th December 1970 Mr Bill Buckley, President of the New South Wales Rugby League,
opened the Club. The Club had 40 poker machines and was enthusiastically supported by the local community. By 1974 the Club was able to
purchase adjoining factories and the Club’s membership had grown to 15,000.
In 1979 the Club commenced a 3.5 million dollar extension, including additional car parking facilities, bistro facilities and an auditorium.
A gas explosion caused almost a million dollars’ worth of damage and delayed the opening of some of the Club’s facilities for almost a year.
Since then the Club has moved along a path of consolidation, purchasing properties in the local area and trying to ensure that all future plans for expansion are self-funding.
The Club was again extensively renovated in the late 1980s and in 1990 Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club won the NSW Club Industry “Club of the Year”
award.In 1994 plans commenced for the acquisition of an adjoining property (Coopers Tank Works) and a $22 million project of development
and refurbishment. This was completed in 1999. Membership increased from 22,000 in November 1996 to over 35,000 in June 1999.
Current membership fluctuates between 30,000 and 35,000 dependent on the time of the year.
In 2002 Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club amalgamated with Eastwood Bowling Club and commenced plans to redevelop the Bowling Club site.
In August 2003 the redeveloped site was reopened as Hawks on Second Avenue and operated as a satellite club of Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club.
The Bowling Club was closed at the end of 2011 due to poor trading and will be developed as a housing site in future years.
The Club always has an eye for development opportunities but the main focus is maintaining a high standard of facilities at the clubhouse in West Ryde,
with almost the entire Club again being renovated and modernised between 2007 and 2012, and again between 2016 and 2018.
Over the years the Club has strengthened its affiliations with the local community, supporting many different sporting groups and local charities.
The spirit of friendship, support and determination that brought this Club into being in 1963 continues today. On the football side,
the Ryde-Eastwood District Rugby League Football Club successfully competed in many competitions from 1963 to 2004 in their own right.
In 2005 due to ongoing issues with trying to compete in a competition that penalised Clubs without a junior base they formed a joint venture with
Balmain Football Club and Balmain / Ryde-Eastwood competed in the NSWRL Premier League reserve grade and then its successor The State Cup,
reaching the grand final on two occasions, the last being in 2012 when they were narrowly defeated by Newtown.
With Wests Tigers resolving to enter only one team in the 2013 State Cup as West Tigers, sadly the 2012 Grand Final was the last game played
under the Ryde-Eastwood name for four years. In 2017 in a return to its roots as a district Club the Football Club combined with four local junior league clubs
to field two under 19 teams in a Sydney-wide competition and in 2018 the Club fielded five teams including a women’s team with the Club’s under 20s division one
team being narrowly beaten in the grand final. While a number of the executive are common to both the Football Club and the Leagues Club, the two
organisations operate as separate entities.