Saturday, June 20, 2009

Part of the Club

Recently we drove up to the Blue Mountains (which are more like hills by California standards) to take the kids on the Zig Zag Railway. Predictably, we pulled into the parking lot just as the train was pulling out of the station.

So, we found ourselves in the mountains with a couple hours to kill while we waited for the next train. Since it was freezing cold outside, we decided to take the advice of the station attendant and head to the Workman's Club in nearby Lithgow.

I've been wondering about these clubs since we arrived in Australia. Every suburb seems to have a RSL Club. I assumed (incorrectly) that you needed to be a veteran to go into these clubs. It turns out they are open to the public and are a hub of social activity here in Australia.

The Workman's Club in Lithgow, otherwise known as "Workies" is a combination restaurant, casino, sporting facility, and bingo hall. The place was packed with people (mostly white haired, but plenty of the younger crowd, too) playing the pokies, watching lawn bowling, and eating chicken schnitzel and chips. Televisions offered a variety of viewing options; like Magnum P.I. and The Footy Show.

The best tables were the ones by the windows, where people crowded to see the bowling outside and the greyhounds racing in the distance.

There is really nothing in the U.S. that compares to these Aussie clubs. I think the American Legion, the Elks Lodge, or the supper clubs of the Midwest come close.

If I had to rate our visit to Workies, I'd give it a "C" for food, but an "A" for it's interesting look into Aussie culture.

And, we did make it back in time to catch the last train of the day. To see more about our ride on the Zig Zag Railroad check out the Little Princess's Blog.


Florida Girl In Sydney said...

I've always wondered what went on inside all those RSL clubs! We did go to one in Blacktown for a Wiggles concert-- it was awesome, only about 300 seats... but never got to see what else went on there.

Erin said...

Yeah I have always struggled to figure out how to explain an RSL to people back home. I'm generally not a fan of them, but that is because I've been here so long now. The novelty has well and truly worn off. I don't like the loud carpet and the flashing lights and pokie machines. BUT I like the concept of having an all in one sort of place for all of those activities. I must say Workies has a very nice view so I'm glad you had a good experience! I would suggest you try the Mona Vale RSL on the northern beaches. It is a bit nicer than most and has the most gorgeous aquariums of tropical fish. If you are out in my neck of the woods we should try Castle Hill RSL, which is very nice. :-)

abeachcottage said...

the RSL thing was for us all a bit strange - eating your dinner like it was a school lunch, no niceties there! but certainly a true Aussie experience, always think it's weird how there is all this fantastic scenery and these RSL's are THE most ugly buildings you ever did see...oh and the gambling!!

thanks for popping by my blog, I'm not sure if you realised we are from England, been here 4 years and love it to death, don't meet too many Americans tho one of our best friends here now is from the US

happy blogging


abeachcottage said...

oh and I am with Erin, the novelty has truly worn off, we haven't been to one for ages, when we first got here we went every friday or sunday - a very cheap and easy meal out en famille as they say, soon got over that...

however there is one just beside the Harbour Bridge on the north side, spectacular views and it got recently made over, nice drinking, nice decor (yes really) and nice food and amazingly cheap for the setting, can't remember the name though...

The Barn House said...

Lithgow is very much a working (mining) suburb and it`s RSL reflects what the patrons expect, cheap basic food and lots of pokies.
You should have drove up the Darling Causeway instead and visited the mountain town of Mt Victoria, very pretty and quaint and the deli there sells the most to die for homemade quiches and pies (and the best coffee)
I read in an older post that you wish we had Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, we do, they are marketed as Chux Magic Erasers and available in the supermarket.

Jenny said...

TBH- Thanks for the Magic Eraser tip! I actually saw them in IGA yesterday and was so excited! I'll have to get one and see if they work as well as the Mr Clean ones. :)

Kristi said...

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