Land owner Drysdale Metals has directed Morisset Country Club to vacate premises on August 15

ORDERS: Drysdale Metals has informed the directors of Morisset Country Club that the lease will expire on August 15 and the club must vacate the premises. Picture: David Stewart
ORDERS: Drysdale Metals has informed the directors of Morisset Country Club that the lease will expire on August 15 and the club must vacate the premises. Picture: David Stewart

MORISSET Country Club will shut down on August 15, ending 50 years of history in the town.

The owner of the land, Drysdale Metals Pty Ltd, has given the club's board of directors three months to vacate the property.

It means the golf course, bowling green, and licensed club will cease to operate.

In a written statement to the Lakes Mail, Drysdale Metals' managing director Glen Drysdale expressed "regret at the necessity of the action".

"Drysdale Metals has owned the property since 1989 and has provided significant financial support to the club in that time," the statement said.

"This includes rental concessions of more than $1 million since 2006."

Mr Drysdale said it was unfortunate, but the situation was no longer tenable.

Mr Drysdale's plans for the site were not revealed.

A spokesperson for Drysdale Metals said only that the decision was part of a company-wide review of its land holdings.

Mr Drysdale had previously revealed plans to build houses and a small commercial operation on the golf course land.

But in 2013 Lake Macquarie City Council rejected a rezoning application to facilitate such a development.

Morisset Country Club board president Erica Ford said she felt "absolute shock and devastation" at the news.

Morisset Country Club board president Erica Ford with former club CEO Ian Taylor on the course in 2013. Picture: David Stewart

Morisset Country Club board president Erica Ford with former club CEO Ian Taylor on the course in 2013. Picture: David Stewart

She had the task of informing the club's 30 employees, plus the pro-shop staff, caterers and cleaners.

"We've met with all of the staff this morning, and we've got all of their wages and entitlements covered," she said.

The club had been trading strongly, she said.

"We've had a great 12 months, we've been trading really well. So this decision [by Drysdale Metals] is nothing to do with us. We've paid all of the rents that have been due."

The club has 719 golfing members and about 2000 social members, 66 lawn bowlers, as well as croquet and snooker club members.

More than a valued recreation space, the club was also a community hub, Ms Ford said.

The South Lake Macquarie RSL Sub-branch meets at the club, which hosts Anzac Day and other services.

"And when Dora Creek has flooded, the club has been a flood evacuation point," she said.

"The community is really going to miss it."

In a statement issued by the club to members, the board of directors said:

"This is devastating news for the members and the entire Morisset community, particular after the hard work that has gone in returning the operations to a longer term sustainable business.

"We are seeking clarity on the reasoning behind the action that has been taken but can assure everyone it is not a result of any default on obligations the club has to Drysdale Metals Pty Ltd."

Beryl Mullard, centre, with her daughters Louise Mullard, left, and Marion Baldwin, pictured on the golf course last year during celebrations to commemorate 50 years of women's golf at Morisset. Picture: David Stewart

Beryl Mullard, centre, with her daughters Louise Mullard, left, and Marion Baldwin, pictured on the golf course last year during celebrations to commemorate 50 years of women's golf at Morisset. Picture: David Stewart

Ms Ford's links with the golf club go back 22 years.

"I was on the ladies' committee for 10. I was on the board for 12 years then I stepped off for two years. I came back last year.

"We've really turned things around, and we've got a great board."

Ms Ford said the notice to vacate the property had been hard to take, but she respected the land owner's rights.

"I'm absolutely gutted. This is devastating. But Glen has the right to do this. He's the owner..."

Ms Ford said she felt for the affected staff and members.

A spokesperson for Drysdale Metals said the decision had not been taken lightly.

"The club has been given three months instead of the required one month's notice of the intention to end the lease," they said.

"While Drysdale Metals has issued the club with a notice period of three months, it did advise the club in December 2018 that it was undertaking a review of land holdings and reminded the club of its month-to-month lease."

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