The Returned Services Association for Taradale (Taradale RSA) was formed 100 years ago, in 1920. Support among those that had served in World War I was the main catalyst for creating the RSAs.
It wasn't until 1928 when the Taradale RSA was affiliated to the New Zealand Returned and Services Association (NZRSA).
Meetings were held in a blacksmith's premises in Meeanee, Labour hall, private homes, and the local town hall because there were no club rooms. There was not enough money to build their own.
Thirty-three years after the Taradale RSA was formed, the Greendale Cycle Club's premises – consisting of two small rooms - were purchased in Gloucester St for £700 (2020: $41,000).
President Jim Germain, who had served in the Pacific in World War II was convinced they needed a place of their own.
Club president Jim Germain rallied all the members in 1956 to attend voluntary working bees to complete a large addition to the old cycle club's building. This would consist of a hall, kitchen, toilet block and stage.
The Taradale RSA's membership was of course boosted by those who served in World War II joining. A mixture of WWI and WWII returned service men built the hall.
The extensions would cost £2650 ($140,000) and this was raised by debentures, countless cake stalls, auctions and raffles.
The debentures were promised to be paid back within 10 years, but some decided they didn't want the money repaid to them.
Every weekend for 11 months from June 23, 1956, the men of the Taradale RSA in a spirit of comradeship, willingly gave their time so the new building could be opened in 1957 by the president of the NZRSA. (Women weren't allowed to lift a hammer, so they were limited to bringing morning and afternoon teas.)
Some of the WWI veterans worked alongside WWII soldiers. Some who weren't members also helped out – such as plasterers.
Many amusing incidents occurred during the building, including one man who managed to glue his trousers to the wall, and had to cut himself free.
President Jim Germain was held in high regard by his members, and he was the driving force behind co-ordinating the building effort. He did not have a car at that stage, so he bicycled down to the building site balancing his tool kit.
The men also worked during the week from 6.30pm until sometimes 10pm, and lights were put up to do this. Such was the noise at the later hours, the neighbours often complained about the late night hammering.
The Taradale RSA debated whether to apply for a liquor licence in 1963.
A referendum was held and 75 per cent of the club agreed a liquor licence should be obtained. While some members would not miss warm beer coming out of cupboards and spilling on wooden floors, others were against a licence. It took some time after the vote for the matter to settle down among the members.
This meant a bar would be required to be built and at the same time an office, front foyer and billiard room were built.
At that stage there was 370 members at the club.
In 1974, the building was extended yet again with a lounge and a new bar.
Further additions occurred in 1985 (restaurant, new foyer, toilets); 1993 (memorial wall commemorating the three services, committee room and office), 1996 (kitchen sub-section, library, toilets, and large storage area), 1997 (larger bar and gaming room). These were opened in 1986 and $300,000 was raised towards the cost.
In the past 10 years, other additions have occurred, including a gaming room extension and a TAB facility.
• Michael Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contract researcher, commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history.