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Originally the German Club, the current building was erected around 1890. The German Club was founded by a group of German immigrant miners who came to Broken Hill to work in the mines. the club played an important role in the social and cultural life of the German community in Broken Hill during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing a meeting place for German immigrants to support each other in a new and often challenging environment.
The club moved in 1908 when the YMCA took over the building, but their new building was burnt to the ground during the ‘Battle of Broken Hill’ when an angry mob torched it after what was perceived to be an enemy attack on a train carrying a group of picnickers on their way to Silverton for a day outing.
The rebuilt German Club was forced to close temporarily during World War I as Germans faced discrimination and suspicion, but it later reopened.
The Young Men’s Christian Association [YMCA] was established in Broken Hill in 1890 and took over the original German Club building in 1908. The Association provided young men in the community with a place to gather, socialise and participate in physical and spiritual activities. It quickly became an integral part of the city’s social fabric.
Today the YMCA continues to operate in Broken Hill on its original site but with major alterations completed in 2018. It offers a wide range of programs and services for people of all ages. It remains committed to its mission of promoting healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.
Audio transcript available.