Nowra Sailing Club was destroyed by fire on Wednesday night.
Sean and Nicholas Thorpe from Terara were on the scene moments after the fire started about 8.30pm.
“We were driving across the Nowra Bridge and could see the building on the left up in flames,” Sean Thorpe said.
“It was already pretty well into it,” he said.
The pair stopped to check someone had called the fire brigade and to see if anyone needed help.
“There was only one other car there, the occupants had phoned the fire brigade,” Mr Thorpe said.
The brothers got to within about eight metres of the fire. They said the heat and smoke were very intense.
“Later we heard nobody had been inside,” Mr Thorpe said.
“People were coming out from the caravan park to have a look.
“Two fire trucks turned up and started spraying the fire. More trucks arrived. I think there were six in the end.
“By about 9.15pm the fire was out, but the building was destroyed.
“It’s pretty sad to see it go,” Mr Thorpe said.
A little bit of sailing club history
The Nowra Sailing Club was until after World War II used by Illawarra Steamship Navigation Company to bring goods from Sydney to Nowra and return with farm produce.
It was the company store that sat alongside the Nowra wharf, which was built in the 1880s.
Before river blasting secured a safe navigation passage for steamers all the way to Nowra in 1903, good were offloaded at Greenwell Point then sent by land to Nowra.
As road and rail links were between Nowra and Sydney were improved, reliance on sea transport dwindled. By the mid1940s, the wharf and associated sheds were no longer used to transport goods.
They became home to the Nowra Fishing Coop until 1964 when the Nowra Sailing Club applied for a lease over the building and wharf.