Polonia in Milton Secures Loan & Donations to Keep Historic Landmark

Polonia
Photo Credit: Google Maps

The Polish Club, also known as Polonia, on Marie Street in Milton has managed to avert a crisis that would have put the 60-year-old site under the hammer. In less than four months, its new committee was able to secure a loan, raise some funds, and increase club memberships and activities that would help pay off its outstanding debts.



In July 2021, the new committee under President Waldemar Duda received an outpouring of support from the community, enabling Polonia to raise $90,000, which would help pay off a $150,000 loan from a private company. 

Their financial troubles came to light early this year after a dispute with the former club president and treasurer, prompting the election of a new committee in April. Further probing by Mr Duda, the new treasurer Evelyn Jelliffee, and their lawyers revealed that the loan contract entered by the previous committee with the private company had a limited pay period. If the loan wasn’t paid off by September 2021, the club could lose its property. 

The club officials also learned that they need an additional $50,000 for unpaid fees to the Brisbane City Council and the Australian Tax Office.


Highlights

  • The Polish Club, a.k.a Polonia, has found solutions to its financial problems.
  • After a change in committee heads through an election in April, the members learned that they needed to pay off $150,000 in private loans and $50,000 in Council and ATO fees.
  • They were able to raise money through donations, an increase in membership and activities, and another loan. 

However, club membership was down to just 42 members when the new committee took over. Thus, Mr Duda issued an appeal to the Polish community and the rest of the public as the club was under “severe financial hardship.”

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Following the appeal, fundraisers and club activities to boost funding were set up to save the club. Whilst the lockdowns have had some impact on these activities, Polonia’s new membership gradually grew. According to a video update from Outback Polaks, they are now at over 500+ members, the biggest in the club’s history.

Days before Polonia had to inform the private loan company that they would be able to pay off the debt, the new committee announced that they had secured a bank loan. However, the Polish Club is not yet in the clear because of their other financial obligations. Donations remain active via the Go Fund Me page.



Constructed in 1964, The Polish Club was the “centre of social life” for post-war Polish immigrants in Brisbane.  

“Long before social media, where both young and old would gather to participate in Polish cultural events, enjoy the weekly dance/disco or just to indulge in the delicious Polish cuisine,” Pawel Krawczynski, the fundraiser organiser, wrote. “It would also be a place for people to come together to enjoy each other’s company when they felt homesick.”

Photo Credit: GoFundMe

Meanwhile, as lockdown restrictions are slowly easing in Brisbane, Polonia’s restaurant has resumed accepting in-person dining for a limited number of guests. Reservations are advised. Phone (07) 3369 2747 to book a table. Follow the club’s Facebook page for the menu and trading hours.