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Club to rise from the ashes

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Photo: Melinda Jane

When Katoomba RSL eventually re-opens the club is hopeful that ANZAC Day commemorations will resume as they did before the devastating fire earlier this year.

Last month the RSL lodged a Development Application (DA) with Blue Mountains City Council that detailed their plans for 70-86 Lurline Street, which currently sits empty after the charred remains of the previous building were demolished.

Katoomba RSL President, Brian Turner, said he was pleased with the progress that had been made relating to the venue.

“The lodgement of the DA is one more step that has been taken in a very long process,” he said.

Mr Turner said it was very important during the process of compiling the DA that the community war memorial, which still stands out the front of the club, is preserved.

“At this stage we are looking at various options,” he said.

When the club re-opens Mr Turner said they plan to display all of the war medals that were salvaged from the fire, which are currently going through an extensive and costly cleaning and re-ribboning process.

Sadly one thing that will not be returning to the site is the HMAS Katoomba banner that had just been restored only weeks before the February fire.

HMAS Katoomba was commissioned in 1941 and completed its service in the local area in 1948.

The banner was presented by citizens of the Blue Mountains to the HMAS Katoomba Association in 1961 by the Mayor at the time.

In 2004, the banner was given to local Council by the Association as membership was depleting. Unfortunately the banner was destroyed in the recent fire.

There will also be a number of photos and uniforms that will be noticeably missing from the new RSL.

On a positive note, when the club opens its doors again, Mr Turner said he is sure all visitors and guests will be pleasantly surprised with what they see.

“While remaining one storey high the space will be much larger,” he said.

“The concept of sandstone being used at the front of the building, as noted in the DA, was

thought of because it reflects what we see in the Blue Mountains region.”

The RSL also recently acquired the residential property and land at 4 Merriwa Street, which will be used to extend the premises of the club.