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The History of Geelong’s Original Gym

Early Advertisement out of The Geelong Advertiser for Trezise’s Sports Centre

Early Advertisement out of The Geelong
Advertiser for Trezise’s Sports Centre

Geelong’s Gym, formerly Re-Creation Health Club, Geelong’s original and premier health club, is this year celebrating its 49th year of service to the Geelong community.

Since 1964, the West Fyans street gym has prided itself on providing a valuable contribution to the health and well being of the people of Geelong.

The club is currently operated by Gerard Spriet, and has been since 1995. It still retains the popularity and standard of service it had under original founder Tom Trezise.

The club has changed hands may times throughout its 49 years of existence, yet through all its various owners it has always kept the great service and commitment to fitness in Geelong that it has since its first day of operation.

With over 2000 members today, Geelong’s Gym is as popular as ever and encourages the people of Geelong to join the club and celebrate its 49 years of service.

Geelong’s Gym began life as ‘Tom Trezise’s Sports Centre’ in an era before personal fitness was considered as important as it is today.

The club was officially opened on Friday the 17th of July, 1964 in front of a gathered crowd of 100 guests and dignitaries.

Mr Cerutty and Mr Tom Trezise at the clubs grand opening, July 1964

Mr Cerutty and Mr Tom Trezise
at the clubs grand opening, July 1964

The club was the first of its kind in Geelong, and the £30,000 state-of-the-art facilities were described as “surely unique in Australia”1 by Mr Percy Cerutty, the famous Australian athletics coach who was a guest at the opening. 1. Geelong Advertiser, July 18th 1964

The site of the club was originally an old suburban home and a shop, both of which were demolished to make way for the building’s construction. (Tom Trezise, and his wife Dorothy, lived right next door to the centre until 1976.) The centre has undergone many renovations since its original opening and was structurally very different to how it stands today.

Originally open all week for men and two days a week for women, the club was immediately adopted by the people of Geelong and membership grew quickly.

The original site of the club

The original site of the club

Members came from Tom Trezise’s previous gym on Moorabool Street, while many new members from around the city also joined the club, including several sporting clubs who associated themselves with the organisation.

Tom Trezise was a well-known fitness identity in Geelong. He spent a lifetime teaching physical health and spent time overseas studying physical conditioning methods.

The club was central to many sporting activities in Geelong and so was well attended. The footballers, the swimming club and many others came to work out at the Club.

Tom Trezise at work at the club, circa late 60’s

Tom Trezise at work at the club, circa late 60’s

Geelong’s Gym has been Geelong’s favourite place for fitness and fun since.

The club has many notable former and current members including many well-known Geelong identities, such as former member Jeff Oxley from the Corio Bay Sports Medical Centre.

The club in the past has had a strong relationship with the Geelong Football Club, given its close proximity to Kardinia Park. Regular members included former coach and Australian Football legend Tommy Hafey, as well as club great John Scarlett.

Geelong Football Club’s John Scarlett with Tom Trezise

Geelong Football Club’s John Scarlett with Tom Trezise

The club has been known by many names over the years, often changing with the arrival of new owners. The club was known by several names in its formative years, throughout Trezise’s time, such as ‘Trezise’s Fitness Centre’, ‘Trezise’s Health Club’, and colloquially, ‘Trezise’s Swim Gym’ by 1968. The later being particularly relevant, since Tom could quite easily be said to have taught a good half of Geelong to swim.

Since then it has gone by the titles ‘Geelong Fitness centre’, ‘GMHBA’, ’Premier Gym’, ‘Re-Creation Health Club’, and now ‘Geelong’s Gym’.

Geelong’s Gym is proud of its history in Geelong and is glad to have given 49 years of service to the community. With a growing membership base and bright outlook we hope to continue for many years to come.

Advertisement out of The Geelong Advertiser for Trezise’s Sports Centre, late 70’s

Advertisement out of The Geelong Advertiser for
Trezise’s Sports Centre, late 70’s

All photos throughout this work are generously provided by Mrs D Trezise.

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Club Identities

Throughout the club’s 49 years, many people, both staff and members, have contributed to the organisation that exists today. Here are just a few of the people who have been with the club for a long time and add to the community that is Re-creation Health Club (Geelong’s Gym).

Henry Watson

Long time member Henry Watson has been involved with the club from the very start, having joined 49 years ago when the club opened its doors. Well known and admired around the club, Henry still attends regularly, despite being well retired.

A former accountant by trade, Henry understood the importance of keeping fit, and, living nearby, joined the club for the convenience but stayed for the service.

“They are all very good, very nice,” He said of the clubs people. “Both the staff and clientele.”

When asked, Henry spoke of the great community atmosphere the club provided, and made comment on the clubs commitment to its members, saying it was always on the forefront of technology as far as fitness equipment.

“They’ve always had better, modern equipment.” He said.

Rosemary Parish

Rosemary Parish is a long term staff member of the club, having worked here in some form for 32 years, since April in 1981.

Currently the longest employee of the club, Rosemary started at the then ‘Geelong Fitness Centre’ when it was owned by Maurie Rainer.

Rosemary started off running a crèche at the club, where she took control of up to 40 children at a time, no mean feat on her own. Moving into other areas as time went on, she says she has always enjoyed her time here.

“The members are the really positive ones,’ she said. “They come to enjoy themselves, and are happy to be here.”

“The staff here are very motivated – it’s great to work with them.”

Des Podbury

Former Geelong Mayor and Councillor Des Podbury is also a long time member of the club.

Mr Podbury, who was Geelong Mayor from 1980 until 1982, joined the club in 1980 after a family member received an injury went in for rehabilitation. He enjoyed the experience so much that he kept coming back
In his 29 years as a member, My Podbury believes the gym has always been run by great people.

“They are always very friendly and always have the idea to keep healthy.” He said.

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