Polish Club President Richard Borysiewicz took in the 360-degree sunny Sydney cityscape before him and all thoughts of budget blowouts and building delays, because of Covid and rain, evaporated in an instant.
He was at the topping out ceremony for the $72 million redevelopment that will eventually secure a new club facility for members and guests when it opens in June 2023. The redevelopment of the Ashfield site is also the culmination of two generations of the Borysiewicz family’s involvement with the club in Sydney’s inner west.
Richard Borysiewicz’s father was one of the original founders of the club who helped purchase a tennis court at the back of a doctor’s residence on Liverpool Rd in the early 1960s, then the residence itself, which became Polish House. In 1964, the original 208 founding members financed a clubhouse on the site of the tennis court which eventually rose behind the Liverpool Rd building, opening in May 1967.
Developed by Deicorp, which also recently completed Petersham RSL, the vast new complex will feature a 1800sqm clubhouse on the ground level, comprising a restaurant, private dining room, cafe & deli which will sell the club’s famous pierogi, as well as a function space for 350.
“It’s for the children and grandchildren of the founders and while they may have gone, they’ve left us this piece of real estate,” Borysiewicz told Club Management at the ceremony on Wednesday. “What have we done with it? Are we going to improve it? Are we going to pass it on in better shape than how we found it? That’s the plan!” he said.
Borysiewicz thanked the 75 per cent of members who voted for the new club plan. He also thanked the board, club advisory group, staff and volunteers who worked behind the scenes, as well as those who worked on the capital-raising appeal.
“I wanted to pay tribute to this team of people who have put their shoulder to the wheel and got us to building the best and most beautiful Polish club in the world outside of Poland, something our founders, if they were here, would be deeply proud of,” Borysiewicz said.
“We pay homage to them and their vision to create a little Poland here in Australia and I believe we are doing that.”
Above the clubhouse will be The Anders, 88 sold-out one-, two- and three-bedroom units, plus an additional three units for assisted housing and, on the top level, a rooftop garden for all residents to enjoy.
The Anders name also has strong connections for Borysiewicz whose grandfather served under the Polish general and patriot Władysław Anders in World War II, and whose father fought on the eastern front as well. Borysiewicz Snr came to Australia by ship, on assisted passage, in 1948 before starting the Polish Club.
Visitors to the club have included Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, politician Lech Walesa and more recently, Australians with Polish connections, including Olympian Michael Klim, actor Magda Szubanski and scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.