After being flooded out twice in one month, it’s no surprise that Camden Sports Club is yet to reopen its doors.
Located along Cawdor Road on the edge of the Camden central business district, the club was one of many premises in Camden to suffer serious damage from the March 8 and April 7 “rain bombs’’.
But it could have been so much worse if it wasn’t the wonderful community spirit that came to the fore.
“With so much community support and volunteer work it won’t be long before the Sports Club is once again serving drinks to a thirsty public,’’ says Ken Morrell.
It’s worth going back to the early hours of Tuesday, March 8, when three days of heavy rain resulted in a dramatic rise in the Nepean River which flowed over Camden’s Cowpasture Bridge.
On the other side of the town, where the Sports Club is located, playing fields and parts of the Camden swimming pool were covered in muddy river water.
“The waters rose in a matter of hours in the very early morning making disaster response difficult,’’ says Mr Morrell.
“By dawn the tennis courts and adjacent bowling club were under a meter of water.
“Once the water had receded, a small army of volunteers gathered at the clubs for the clean-up,’’ he said.
The tennis courts and bowling greens were washed of the thick layer of mud, but the tennis clubhouse was badly damaged – and all contents of the Camden Sports Club were destroyed.
Volunteers carried tables, chairs and floor covering onto the verge for Camden Council to transport to the tip.
The clubhouse was gutted of furniture at the ground level.
“Wests Group Macarthur came to the rescue with the donation of all furniture from their soon-to-be renovated Wests Tennis Club,’’ Mr Morrell said.
Bowling Club members transported the new tables and chairs to make the desolate Sports Club just like home.
What they didn’t know that another “rain bomb’’ wasn’t far away.
On April 7 the heavens opened up once again and poor, old Camden was under water again.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but obvious this doesn’t apply to “rain bombs’’.
Fortunately the second time around a warning was issued by the authorities and volunteers were able to move the donated Sports Club furniture to the upper level.
The bowlers cleared out their lockers and the bistro staff raised their brand new freezer onto beer kegs for safety.
Unfortunately, the flood this time reached 1.2 metres and still left that thick layer of dirty brown mud.
“Members of the Sports and Bowling clubs were devastated – as one commented on TV, tears came with the rain,’’ Mr Morrell said.
“Once again volunteers turned up in droves to clean up and re-organise.
“The local volunteer fire brigade washed mud out of the building and off the greens.
“Volunteers came to take up and dry the newly laid carpet tiles.’’
There’s still much work to do, but at least the club board have made a decision on a reopening date.
And they will have fingers crossed there’s no third “rain bomb’’ in the works any time soon.