This month Warwick Grose reaches the 40-year anniversary of his start date at the Sturt Club, a significant achievement that has seen highs and lows, and many friendships made.
Warwick’s first day at the Sturt Club was on December 29, 1981 and 40 years later he’s still kicking in the job he loves with a week of celebrations in his honour.
“I started out just as a Steward Cleaner and then after a few years I worked my way up to a Duty Manager which I’m currently now still. I’ve been a Duty Manager for that long I can’t remember. And along the way I filled in as Secretary Manager when the previous manager got sick and I did that for about a year,”
For Warwick, the people he’s met have made the job over the years. “Just the comradery, the working conditions you’re not out in the heat or anything and the wages are good, I never knew a place where you got eight weeks holiday, we only get six now but it used to be eight long service leave, met a lot of people and struck up a lot of new friendships along the way.”
Anyone who knows football knows Warwick is one of Richmond’s biggest fans, so much so that they have a section of the Sturt bar dedicated to the Tigers. “Well it’s mine and the Manager, the Assistant Manager, the yard man, Head Waitress, they’re all Richmond,” he said.
“When I first started here, we (Richmond) were going alright, won a flag in 1980… Then 37 years to win another flag, I didn’t think I’d ever see another one. So, once we started winning with three flags in four years the shrine had to go up.”
Warwick shared some of his biggest moments at the club. “I met my wife here at a function one night, we went on to date and got married and everything so that was terrific. Being made a Life Member of the club for stuff I did with the Social Committee, that’s one of the proudest moments, to be given a Life Membership and have my name up on the board, I couldn’t thank them enough for that.
“Becoming a Duty Manager and actually getting through 40 years, that’s certainly an achievement in itself and also being the Club Delegate for the TEU for 25 years and they gave me Life Membership for that.”
“I’ve got a list of people that I’ve worked with over the years that I’d like to special mention for making it such a pleasure to come here, I’ve met some top guys and girls over the years, that’s been a big highlight. Hats off to Doug, Mandy, Millie, Tony, Lordy, Maria, Sammy, Puppy, Cuts, Amanda, Rachel, Wardy, Jake and Sharnee. It’s been a pleasure to work with all of them, plus a heap of casuals and chefs I’ve come to know over the years, too many to mention,” he said.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to some of the bosses here, they’ve looked after me and the team, and helped make the club what it is.”
Warwick said he’s proud to have seen many changes happen in the club over the years that have helped the club go ahead in leaps and bounds.
“I’ve got a lot of wonderful memories over the time; they far outweigh any of the tough times and we’ve had a few of them too.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to get through 40 years, met a lot of terrific people and fabulous members who’ve made the time in the job enjoyable, otherwise I wouldn’t be here I would’ve gone 30 years ago if I didn’t enjoy the people that I’ve been with, staff and management.”
Warwick said he can see himself working at the Sturt for another couple of years maybe. “I’ll see how long I can keep on my feet. I’ve got a couple of years left in me I think but I don’t know about ten.”
Sturt Club Secretary Manager, Doug Coff said Warwick’s 40 years is a huge achievement.
“You just don’t see it anymore… The dedication to the job like Warwick has. Sticking around in a place for 40 years, granted the place has changed quite a lot over the forty years and there’s always been new challenges that have come up and he’s risen to those challenges. Warwick has adapted well to all of it,” he said.
“Losing 40 years’ worth of experience when he does retire is going to leave a big hole in the club.”
The Sturt Club is still hosting the ‘Week of Warwick,’ which began on Monday and ends today.
“The whole week had a special sauce on the menu, a sweet avocado sauce which is Warwick’s favourite sauce that they do just for him.
“We had Tuesday night trivia, which was based around Warwick – a few questions about him and some of his favourite topics being Richmond and World War Two.
“Friday was Richmond Day in the club, with a presentation.
“Today, because he enjoys a punt on the horses every now and again, we’re going to be organising a bit of a special punters’ day around it.
“Punters have the chance to win two $100 vouchers during the day.”
“We’re blessed to have had a good employee for such a long time, you don’t see people lasting for 40 years in a job, it’s just amazing.”