RSL Wyola Club, 1903, 1946, 81-83 High St
The 1903 building was designed by T. Anthoness, and built for tailors J.A. Hicks & Co. It was extended to designs by Allen & Nicholas in 1946.
I think the club was called Wyola before the RSL moved in - probably in 1946 - but I haven't been able to find any source for the earlier name. There were one or two ships of that name. The Club also used to own lots in Bannister St adjoining the High St property, including the Grosvenor Cellars building; see this news item from The West Australian, 27 April 2010.
Built 1903 by architect T. Anthoness. Original use was not RSL, which was formed in 1920s. Various changes and restorations were made to the building in 1946 for the Wyola Club and again in 1955 (Allen & Nicholas Architects).
Currently (2013), Fremantle RSL Wyola Club Inc.
Two storey rendered building with prominent and decorative parapet and pediment, with a zero setback from the pavement. The parapet has an engaged balustrade and low piers topped with spheres at the corners of the façade; the crowned pediment is tall with highly decorative stucco. The first floor has three stucco arched timber casement windows and fanlights, flanked by engaged ashlar effect pilasters. The ground floor has an awning over the timber and glass façade, which is not original. Heritage Council.
At the beginning of December 2014, the front of the Club was boarded up and a notice said that entry is from the rear, in Bannister St. It's also obvious that there's no ceiling in the upstairs room.
In 2015 the building was renovated.
Update August 2015: the Wyola Club is no longer on High St. The greater part of the facade is now a homewares shop, while the left hand portion is a very strange long, large, empty hall (bigger, for example, than one coffee shop in the street) which allows entry to upstairs as well as through to whatever remains of the RSL Club, the Bannister St portion, perhaps half of the former Club.
Update March 2016: As far as I can tell, the Wyola Club no longer exists. The laneway at the back leads to no evident entrance to any premises.
Update June 2016. A notice was sent to members to call a meeting 1130 24 June 2016 to wind up the Wyola Club as it has no assets.
Steve Grant, Fremantle Herald, 25 June 2016.
THE Wyola Club in Fremantle is broke and set to wind up this week.
Club president Christine Dunbar sent out a letter to members late last week notifying them of a special meeting which was due to be held yesterday (Friday, June 24).
The letter says members will be asked to vote to confirm the club, which until 2010 owned two properties stretching between High Street and Bannister Street, ”has no assets”.
If the resolutions are passed, the club will close immediately and the office bearers will fill in the necessary paperwork to cancel its incorporation.
“Refreshments will be served at the close of the meeting,” was the closest Ms Dunbar came to a flourish for the demise of the historic club.
If Wyola is broke, it means that since 2009 it has churned through somewhere around $3 million, the price it’s believed to have received for the two properties.
One of the sales caused headlines because club manager Phil Douglas had purchased the property for a quarter of its market value thanks to a clause in a lease he’d signed with the club in the early 1990s.
The uproar from current and former members caused WA’s commerce department to step in and initiate Supreme Court action against Mr Douglas.
In the end they reached a settlement, with Mr Douglas agreeing to pay an additional $500,000, reaping Wyola $982,559 all up.
A club member the Herald spoke to said in recent times just a dozen or so stalwarts would turn up for drinks on Friday nights.
Commerce said the Herald’s call was the first it had heard about the wind-up of the club.
No one was answering the phones at Wyola when we called.
It’s been a tough time for Fremantle’s social clubs. The Fremantle Club and the Fremantle Workers Club have both had to sell their CBD premises and have had to move into temporary accommodation.
The Workers Club is hoping to move into a new hub with the local bowls and tennis clubs on Fremantle Park.
Perhaps the tug and the club got their name from a Nyoongar word - but I'm only guessing. Photo from Wilkinson.
Parker, David Dare & Ron Davidson 2010, The Clubs, FotoFreo, Fremantle.
Wilkinson, Danielle 2013, From Beef to Reef: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Robb Jetty, dissertation, Flinders University.
State Heritage Office entry for this building.
Garry Gillard | New: 1 October, 2014 | Now: 24 January, 2017