This week marks 65 years since the White Ensign Club in Nowra was officially opened on Trafalgar Day, October 21, 1954.
By the time World War 2 had ended, Shoalhaven's air station was evolving into what was to be commissioned as HMAS Albatross.
With around 2000 young men stationed there, and with little to do on the base, many came in to Nowra and some drank to excess.
This potential problem was recognised by a group of young ex-servicemen who saw that a club in town may be an answer.
An approach was made to Naval authorities, and while plans were made, there was an obvious need for finance.
A women's auxiliary was soon raising funds, and within a couple of months Mrs Beale (wife of the commanding officer at Albatross) was stressing the need for the facility to Nowra CWA.
The branch moved quickly by making arrangements to purchase the former Shoalhaven Private Hospital in Bridge Road.
When this announcement was made, the group had raised 1000 pounds.
The amount was doubled when a monster fair and dance night was attended by 3000 people.
Holden cars were raffled by the committee and members travelled to Wollongong to sell tickets to steelworks at change of shift.
Within 14 months 8000 pounds had been raised and a 10,000 pound loan for reconstruction work secured.
It was officially opened by Vice Admiral Sir John Collins. In the early days there were a couple of army huts at the rear, and they provided accommodation for 20-30 of the young sailors who may have decided to stay in town overnight or at the weekend.
In time the role of the White Ensign Club would be outlined in its charter, "to promote the comfort, recreation and welfare of servicemen, primarily those in the navy."
When the club celebrated its fourth anniversary it had recreations rooms, a television lounge, ladies' lounges fitted out by the women's auxiliary, a dining room, locker rooms and full bar facilities. The library was also well-used.
The White Ensign Club was popular for many years but eventually closed after 35 years as the need was no longer there.
Factors included the greater mobility with many sailors having cars, the crackdown on drink driving, and the canteen and other facilities at HMAS Albatross.
The enterprise wound up in July 1989. Funds went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.