In 1960, the original Portsea Surf Life Saving Clubhouse in Victoria was constructed from a packing crate. Now, more than 60 years later, it has been transformed into a once-in a generation clubhouse. Situated right along the beach, this $9 million dream project required a full demolition and rebuild that has taken more than two years to perfect. The new, two-storey clubhouse now stands as a testament to the tireless community service of the Portsea Surf Live Saving Club membership.
Built by Ireland Brown Constructions, the clubhouse sits in what is arguably one of the most unforgiving environments in Australia. They required a superior timber that could withstand salt, water and wind. The specifications of the design and extreme weather conditions called for large, commercial grade Blackbutt timber, renowned for its durability and modern look.
Timber is the real highlight of this building. Blackbutt battens, hand cut from Boral Blackbutt F27 timber (supplied by Bayswood Timber), wrap around the entire façade. Bowens’ Commercial Development Manager, Danny Lamb managed the project and was on site weekly. “It looks like the old bunkers that protected the coastlines in the past,” noted Lamb. “When the public see this, they’ll be amazed at the textures and colours that natural timber brings to this project.”
The Portsea Surf Lifesaving Club was determined to showcase quality Australian wood species. Boral worked closely with timber seller, Bowens, in providing all the timber decking and beams required for this mammoth project. “They needed a very large quantity of quality Blackbutt, which we were able to deliver from Melbourne to the Bowens warehouse in Hastings without any hitches,” commented Chris Mooney, area manager for Boral. “When they ran out of timber during the project, we were able to deliver more product straight to the site.”
The pergola is also constructed from Blackbutt battens and features enormous laminated Blackbutt beams overhead. The beams are made from Class 1 durable timber compliable with the bushfire BAL- 29 requirement. “This lifesaving club would be one of the best in Australia,” praised Mooney.
Portsea is one of the most affluent areas in the country, situated on the end of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. The clubhouse is uniquely located on cliff face of Mt Levy Beach, better known as Portsea Back Beach. “The location is fantastic. It’s always good to come to a site meeting to see the tradies out on their surfboards before they go to work,” commented Lamb.
This distinctive location wasn’t without its challenges, as access to the cliff was limited and uneasy. There was only a single, and extremely steep ramp leading to the site. Mike Bullows, Site Manager from Ireland Brown Constructions commented, “Deliveries to site were tough. We had very limited access down to the beach, so we had to coordinate different-sized trucks just to be able to fit down the road.”
The project was completed in April this year. To celebrate its opening, the clubhouse hosted a Gala event attended by local dignitaries and celebrities.
The new Portsea Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse has become a vital piece of community infrastructure, and will allow members and the wider community to safely enjoy the Portsea Back Beach for generations to come.
Featured Boral Timber products:
• Blackbutt 135x32 decking
• Blackbutt F27 (KD Structural Seasoned Hardwood)