Nepean Retired Men’s Club has been part of Penrith for more than 40 years, but next week it will hold its final meeting and ‘retire’.
Born in August 1980, the Nepean Retired Men’s Club was first formed to ‘provide regular meetings for retired men from all walks of life… to hold discussions and hear addresses on topical subjects… and to arrange visits to places and organisations of interest’.
Since then, meetings have been held on the third Wednesday of every month, between 10am and 12pm, at the John Lees Centre in Penrith.
At one point the men’s club was so popular they could only accommodate 120 members, but hundreds of men have enjoyed the activities and outings on offer over the last 43 years.
According to club President Michael Manning, membership numbers have “diminished” following “the emergence of men’s sheds, walking groups and other men’s activities”.
Now unable to bear the financial burden, the club will hold its final meeting on Wednesday, June 21.
Manning believes the pandemic accelerated the decline in numbers.
He said the lockdowns “made it impossible to hold meetings or other activities for more than a year” and even once they ended a lot of members were still unwilling to attend meetings.
While their closure marks the end of an era for many Penrith locals, the men’s club is able to look back on the last four decades with fond memories.
“There are many interesting stories to tell about members,” Manning told the Weekender.
Charles Oxenham was the guest speaker at one of the first meetings in 1980.
He was a 51-years-old and a Western District Inspector for the NSW Fire Brigade at the time, but joined the club on his retirement and is still a member at 94.
“Another member, Don Ryan, was President of the club from 2002 until his death in 2014,” Manning said.
Manning took over as President in 2014 and remains in the post.
Over the years, the club developed an active program which featured guest speakers and social activities, including regular day trips to Goulburn and the Central Coast and annual weeks away for members and partners.
“The decision to wind the club up is sad but necessary,” Manning said.
There will still be a monthly coffee catch-up at a Tench Reserve venue on the third Wednesday of every month to ensure the camaraderie and friendships the club created can continue.
Formerly with the ABC, Makayla is a graduate of Western Sydney University. She covers a variety of news topics for the Weekender, including courts.