Game’s future up in the air
Tuesday, 30th August, 2011
By John Casey
The immediate future of Broken Hill’s Two Up School will be decided at the Musicians Club tonight and it seems the long-term viability of the historic game and tourist attraction may not be as bright as City Council would hope.
Ironically, with the game facing the axe, a healthy crowd of around 60 people attended what the Musicians Club said would be the last Two Up School on Saturday night.
But in the absence of a similar regular following the future for the game in the city is questionable.
Already at least two other BH clubs have ruled out taking the Two Up game on - echoing the Musicians Club’s stance that it is not cost effective - and City Council could struggle to find a suitable venue to host the event according to the Barrier Liquor Accord.
BH City Council, the licensee of the Two Up School, has indicated it would consider conducting the Two Up School at one of its own venues if no other viable host came forward.
“Everyone would hate to see Broken Hill lose the Two Up School, but right now it isn’t financially viable for the local clubs to take it on,” Barrier Liquor Accord Secretary Ann Rogers said.
“You almost need a purpose-built venue for Two Up and in the absence of that most of the clubs couldn’t afford to dedicate their multi-purpose areas to Two Up because of current regular commitments.
“Here at Club Legion I couldn’t justify re-arranging what we do in our auditorium to accommodate the Two Up, but I would hate to see it lost to the city because of the tourism factor,” Ms Rogers added.
Sturt Club General Manager Doug Coff said his Board of Directors discussed the issue over the weekend and similarly couldn’t come up with a solution.
“Our beer garden could be a suitable location but it is already well patronised and it would be very difficult for us to make a case to have Two Up played there.
“It is not only the cost of conducting Two Up - you also have to consider what effect it would have on your current undertakings.
“We all agree that the city needs to keep Two Up here, but how that is achieved is a difficult question,” Mr Coff continued.
BH and Kalgoorlie are the only two cities in Australia with special licensing provisions to play Two Up all year round and City Council General Manager Frank Zaknich last week said that surrendering its permit was not an option.
“We will do what we need to do to make sure this historically-important feature of Broken Hill continues well into the future,” Mr Zaknich told the BDT.
“The Two Up School is of critical importance to the city’s tourism reputation and we will actively pursue a like-minded operator to take responsibility of becoming the new host.”
Council has requested that the Musicians Club continue operating the Two Up School on Saturday nights until the end of October, by which time they expect to have found a new host.
The Musicians Club Board will consider that request this evening.