Damaged Nowra Sailing Club to be demolished

DESTROYED: The damaged Nowra Sailing Club from the Shoalhaven River bridge.
DESTROYED: The damaged Nowra Sailing Club from the Shoalhaven River bridge.

A Shoalhaven landmark is set to be removed with the Nowra Sailing Club, destroyed by fire in June,  to finally be demolished.

Fire totally engulfed the weatherboard building on the southern banks of the Shoalhaven River around 8.30pm on June 21.

Shoalhaven City Council director Corporate and Community Craig Milburn said specialist demolition crews will begin work next week on removing the building structure.

Council had to wait for clearance from the insurance companies who had to undertake a series of inspections of the building before work on its removal could start.

“At this stage the top level of the building will be removed and then insurance assessors and heritage advisers will be back to see what damage has been done to the wharf and floor sections to the structure,” he said,

“Due to the damage to the building during the fire they haven’t been able to get in underneath the structure.

DESTROYED: The damaged Nowra Sailing Club.

DESTROYED: The damaged Nowra Sailing Club.

“Then decisions can be made what will actually happen with the site.”

It is understood the site was insured for $1 million.

Mr Milburn said the insurance company was paying for the demolition work.

As for the future of the site, Mr Milburn said council continues to work with the Nowra Sailing Club as to what could possibly be constructed on the site.

“It is the traditional home of the sailing club, and a location they use for the start and finish of their races,” he said.

“Until the site is cleared and we know what we have we are not 100 percent sure what can happen there.”

BLAZE: The Nowra Sailing Club on fire. Photo by Sean Thorpe of Nowra.

BLAZE: The Nowra Sailing Club on fire. Photo by Sean Thorpe of Nowra.

He said no firm plans had been made but the city was keen to see the Shoalhaven River foreshore developed.

The work will be completed before next month’s Shoalhaven River Festival.

In a poll on the South Coast Register website, residents revealed they would like to see something developed on the site.

“Whether it is on that site or somewhere else along the foreshore we will have to wait and see what happens,” Mr Milburn said.

It is understood the Nowra Wharf boat ramp will be closed from Monday September 25 until Friday, October 6 for safety reasons.

An alternative launching ramp is available on the other side of the river at Greys Beach.

There was an outpouring of sadness on social media when news the historic building had been destroyed.

IN OPERATION: Illawarra Steam Navigation Company coastal steamer Allowrie and a riverboat at the Nowra wharf in December 1903. Shoalhaven Historical Society, donated by Miss A Elyard.

IN OPERATION: Illawarra Steam Navigation Company coastal steamer Allowrie and a riverboat at the Nowra wharf in December 1903. Shoalhaven Historical Society, donated by Miss A Elyard.

Numerous emotional posts revealed what the building meant to the local community.

As well as being home of the Nowra Sailing Club, for many locals and the media included, the building is an indicator at flood time.

The seriousness of the Shoalhaven River flood event is often measured by how far floodwaters rise up the front of the building.

In a couple of major flood events in the 1970s only the top of the two gables on the western side of the building were visible.

The site also has a strong historical presence, having played a significant role in the development of Nowra.