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Congratulations on 45 years. Well done Marilyn Whitney.

If you’ve visited Dee Why RSL within the last 45 years, chances are you’ve encountered Marilyn, or ‘Maz’ to most. Local, loving and kind, Maz has dedicated almost half a century to lighting up DYRSL’s many outlets through bright smiles and caring conversations.

As Maz celebrates her 45 years of employment, we thought it fitting to reflect on her DYRSL journey.

What was your role when you commenced your employment at DYRSL in 1975?
I actually had a dual role. I was one of the first staff members that came on board as an internal cleaner and at the same time, I also stepped in and worked as a bartender at the Bowlers Bar.

Back then, the Bowlers Bar was “the place” to be. You might not have known many of the bowler’s names, but you definitely knew what they drank, which in the 70’s, was much more important.

That was 45 years ago and I have been here ever since.

How have you seen DYRSL change over the past 45 years?
Oh gosh it has changed so much.

The Bowlers Green was an L-shape where Aqua currently is, with tennis courts running along Pittwater Road. Adjacent to the Greens, there was a public bar with a small machine room. Nobody really went to the public bar as they all liked going downstairs to the Bowlers Bar, which was where the admin offices currently are.

In those days, the public bar was only really used once the bowlers bar closed at 8:00pm.

What is your earliest memory of DYRSL?
Long before I started working here, my family and I used to go to the club Christmas picnics at the Basin. I am pretty sure there is a photo of me when I was around 11 years old standing at the Basin with Ted Jackson, who was one of my father’s best friends.

My father was a plasterer, and a member, and was actually part of the team that helped build the original Luana Room.

Everyone who went to the Basin Christmas party got a present; I think I got the same present a few years in a row as my father could never remember my age.

Why did you start working at DYRSL?
I came to work here because my father was very sick, and as my brother was a merchant seaman, I had to get a job that was close to home to care for my father.

The job was initially meant to be casual, but I ended up in a dual role meaning I cleaned in the morning, and a lot of the time, bar-tended afterwards.

What do you think of the new uniform?
The new uniform is the best uniform in my time at DYRSL. This new uniform is casual, coastal, northern beaches, comfortable and with the times. It is everything we are about and is by far, the most modern I have seen. We live in the best place in the world and the uniform reflects that.

What do you think makes us different?
For one, definitely our diversification with Oceangrove and Kindy, and our forward thinking in terms of our redevelopments.

The Aqua al fresco area is one of the best additions since I started working here. The other best addition is Level 3 where the current showroom is.

Our redevelopment is something that we haven’t ever done before to this extent. I love that we are included a new bar and a Courtyard area. These new spaces will be for everyone and attract such a diverse group of people. No matter who you are or what your interests are, you will be welcome and feel comfortable.

Describe one of the most memorable moments of your time here at the RSL.
To me, winning Club of the Year; especially the first time. It was exciting for the staff and for the community and made us maintain that ‘Club of the Year’ standard.

As the longest serving staff member are there any defining factors that have made you stay?
It is really like having two families here. I am so well known by customers, who are like a family, and I have my staff family. In fact, some of my closest friends in my whole life I met working here.

I maintain a close relationship with staff, both past and present, through Facebook. It’s lovely to be able to work in a place where, if staff do the right thing, they will be welcomed back.

I have seen so many staff leave and come back and it really is so heart-warming to have them return, as it creates invaluable relationships with staff and customers. I really think we have some of the best staff camaraderie which really binds us all together.

How would you describe DYRSL in one sentence?
Oh that is so hard. Is that even possible? We are an RSL and we respect our core values.

We’ve grown to be a productive, modern ongoing business that’s always offering the unexpected.

What excites you about the future?
Staying with our core values but progressing as we grow. The new spaces, experiences and offerings will just attract so many different people.

What advice would you give someone wanting to work at the RSL?
Through my experience you need to enjoy your time here but also make sure you do the right thing.

In working hard, you respect the club, and with respecting the club, it will look after you.

What is something people might not know about you?
I was born and raised in the Northern Beaches. I was born in Brookvale and attended Brookvale Public School, and then went to Narrabeen Girls High.

Pizza or pasta? You can only choose one.
Pasta. Definitely pasta.

I wish you asked me about chocolate. Chocolate anything and chocolate everything. For me, there is no other sweet except chocolate.

In your time off, where would we find you?
Lunching on the northern beaches and walking everywhere. Narrabeen lakes, Long Reef, Warriewood Wetlands and Curl Curl Headland are some of the most spectacular walks in the beaches.