Lake Macquarie History

Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club

From humble beginnings as a one room boatshed in the 1920s, the Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club has grown into an internationally respected club, considered to be one of the best of it's kind in NSW and Australia. It has developed iconic status around Lake Macquarie - even if you don't know your way around the lake, chances are you know the location of 'the 16s'.

photo: belmont 16' sailing club

Not to be confused with the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club located in Ada Street Belmont, the Belmont 16 Footers began as a break-away group from the Toronto 16 Foot Sailing Club. At an inaugural meeting held in 1920, it was decided to form the club. The original one room clubhouse was built in 1921, opposite Sharp Street - about 900 meters from the current facilities. The site of the current baths was where the first shed was located. The club was officially credentialed in 1922 after having its first race on October 7th of that year. There were 5 starters in that first race.

It remained at the original location until 1952 when the club was granted a liquor licence, and work on new, larger premises began on reclaimed land on Mill Creek. When the new clubhouse opened on 19th December 1954, it was the most palatial headquarters of any sailing club north of Sydney. At a cost of £7,000 it consisted of a spacious shed for the dinghies, a dance hall and stage, showers, kitchen and administration block. The first official representatives of the club were Mr Mark C. Reid (President), Mr Albert Smith (Hon. Secretary), Mr George Johnston (Hon. Treasurer).

There were major renovations in 1968 and then in 1976 the auditorium, kitchen and functions rooms received an upgrade with boat storage on the ground floor. In 1991, the club was extended out over the lake with Sails Eatery, the Lakeview Lounge and external decks being included. In May 2003 the Belmont 16' Sailing Club amalgamated with Swansea Bowling Club. Recent improvements include an extension to the car park, upgraded boatshed, additional eateries, new signage and a fresh coat of paint. First class facilities for members, sailors and guests are provided and continued growth in to the future looks assured.