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Clock turned back as new chapter in Sharks' history is written

It's as if the clock has been turned back nearly half a century on the edge of Woolooware Bay.

Sharks Leagues Club stands forlornly next to a large, bare tract of land as preparations are made for the construction of the final stage of the Woolooware Bay Town Centre development.

It was a similar sight in the mid 1970s when financial problems stopped work on the new club before the first stage was finally opened in April 1977

Work started on constructing a $2.3 million three-level leagues club next to the Sharks' home ground Endeavour Field in 1973.

However, by the time that money was exhausted, the building was only at lock-up stage and another $1 million was needed to complete it.

Institutional lenders offered no help, so the club launched a Save the Sharks appeal and sold debentures to members and the general public.

A fund-raising drive at Miranda Fair was a feature of the appeal.

The Leader was a strong supporter, publishing names of major contributors, who included other leagues clubs.

Premier Neville Wran, who promised to help the Sharks before the 1976 election, was true to his word and the State Bank backed the rescue mission.

The next chapter in the club's history will see the building remodelled and incorporated into the retail and residential town centre development.

The new-look leagues club is scheduled to reopen at the end of 2021 or early 2022.

In the meantime, the Sharks have a new home at Kareela, which will continue to operate after the Woolooware Bay facility is restored.

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