End of an era for Mullaloo Squash Centre

Picture: Bruce Hunt
Picture: Bruce Hunt

AFTER 35 years, the Mullaloo Squash Centre will officially close tomorrow evening.

Having owned the centre for the past 22 years, Dean and Deb Brown said on Facebook the most recent 18 months had been a “rollercoaster ride”.

The centre at 25 Koorana Road was initially slated to close later this month to make way for the construction of a four-storey $5.75 million apartment building, which was approved in May.

Apartments approved to replace Mullaloo Squash Centre

However, those plans changed with the site being sold to a new buyer, with the centre saying in October the new landowners would “keep the centre operating for the next few years”.

But less than a month later, plans changed again with the new owners, meaning the centre would close for good on December 5.

Mr Brown said his family had experienced some “fantastic times” in the past 22 years but it was time to move on.

“We’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

“We have had the same staff for 22 years which says a lot about what we had.

“We’ve seen some great young kids come through and had a lot of milestones including the biggest prize money tournament in Australia at one point.”

Past and present members celebrate the end of an era.

Mr Brown said he wanted to “truly thank” all members and staff for their support.

Developer and Bode co-owner Brad Kelly confirmed its approved application for 23 apartments was no longer going ahead but said they encouraged Mr and Mrs Brown to accept the new offer because it had a “quicker changeover and settlement” than the apartments would.

“It is a shame because it took quite a bit of work to get the application approved but in the end, we all had the common purpose of getting a good outcome for the current owners,” he said.

“We loved the site and the location but the timing for the owners was better and we respect that.”

Mr Kelly said Bode would continue to concentrate on its Iluka apartment development which is “flying along” having just secured its construction funding.

Panel approves $6m apartment block in Iluka

He said they would also continue looking at locations “anywhere in the northern coastal corridor including Mullaloo”.

Mullaloo Squash Centre past and present members gathered at the centre on Saturday to celebrate “the end of an era in our local squash world”.

Mullaloo Squash Club founding members Cheryl Gibbs, Lyn Moffatt and Todd Hoole.

The centre was officially opened by Dennis Lillee on July 7, 1984.

It has had just three owners in those 35 years, with Mike Wheeler and Bernie Wilkins before Dean and Deb Brown.

Other stalwarts include Lyn Moffatt and Cheryl Gibbs who have worked at the front desk for 32 and 27 years respectively.

The centre is now hosting a clearance sale that not only includes racquets, balls and bags but also tables, chairs, oven, pie warmer, fridges, televisions, paint, ladders and pictures.