In 1960, thanks to the dream of five men, Kurt Müller, Willi Klimt, Manfred Teissl, Anton Krischer and Erwin Klein the German Austrian Club was conceived. A public meeting confirmed support for the idea and on 16 July 1960 the club was officially formed.
The aims of the Club were: To promote the upkeep of the German language in written and spoken form and to promote good German fellowship while enjoying functions of a cultural and entertaining nature.
Regular functions were held in the RSL Clubrooms and other halls in Wodonga and by 1963 they had sufficient funds to pay for a large block of land in Hovell Street on which stood a little old house. Here they held meetings, card evenings, film nights and Saturday School where children of members were taught to read and write the German language. They still needed to hire larger halls for large functions, mainly the Baranduda Hall. The Saturday School lasted until 1972 when numbers dropped off.
Extending the club rooms or building a new one was always on the agenda. A lot of the fundraising events were conducted with that in mind but the Club was also very community minded, donating to many worthy causes along the way. One of the Club’s biggest fundraisers was the Wodonga Oktoberfest, where close to $22,000 was donated to the Wodonga Hospital from the proceeds.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1975 with 4000 revellers present. In 1981 it was decided to reduce the size of the event has it had gone beyond the capabilities of the committee to run that huge event in addition to planning the building of a new clubhouse.
Land was purchased in McFarland Road and building began in 1980. The Club constitution had to be amended and the whole process of applying for a liquor licence took from 1979 to 1983. The red tape and bureaucracy that the Committee had to navigate for the building and the licence makes for interesting reading. The fact that the Club survived and still going strong is a credit to all involved.
COVID-19 prevents celebrations to mark the milestone. HAPPY 60th ANNIVERSARY.