A BRIEF HISTORY OF
THE RUSSIAN CLUB
The Russian Club is 96 this year and is fast moving towards 100th anniversary. Back in 1924 it started on a very modest scale with a few expatriates who came to these shores and who wanted to have means of getting together in some place where they could speak in their language and have opportunity to fulfil their needs to retain cultural identity. They hired a small room in George Street, Sydney and began the long journey into the future.
It didn’t change much until arrival of groups of refugees from Europe who happened to be displaced persons after the end of second world war however the numbers were still quite small.
The main boost club received was when Russian people who lived in China began to arrive here in their thousands. It happened in early fifties. The club needed bigger premises and purchased a property in Strathfield where after some renovations it was quite acceptable to call it home. Strathfield in those days was a popular area for Russian people to settle. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral was not far from the club and on Sundays after the church service people would flock to the club to have lunch of traditional borsch, piroshki, blini, pelmeni etc. They would have chance to exchange news, gossip and so on.
To accommodate the growing number of people, the Club embarked on a number of renovations and extensions. Those of course in reality were a kind of patch up jobs and in the late eighties there was a decision made to let a developer to build on Club’s land a multi storey units block in exchange for incorporating the new Club premises on the ground floor of the new building. The project was completed in 1994 and since then the Club has its own new premises occupying the ground floor with an underground carpark.
Over the years the Club maintained a very rich cultural life. Concerts, drama theatres, choirs, dance studious, meetings and functions of all possible imaginations. Today the Club is expanding its own programs through effective partnerships with other non profit groups to engage a wider audience both Russian and the local community and as such, offers the two halls in the premises for limited hire to the community. In recent times, the Club has become a gaming free venue.