Like many great stories, the Vikings Group’s began over a few beers.
A group of mates with a common interest in rugby got together and the Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union and Sports Club was on its way to becoming a reality.
After three years of planning and development, Erindale Vikings opened on 12 December 1979. The licensed club started as one room with 204 members, five staff and four affiliated teams: Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union Club, Tuggeranong Vikings Baseball Club, South Canberra Tuggeranong Athletics Club and Tuggeranong Vikings Hockey Club. All four clubs remain with the group today, having made large contributions to their respective sports in Canberra.
Reflecting on the group’s 40-year history, Vikings Group Chief Executive Officer Anthony Hill is proud of the way the group has stayed committed to its core objectives: to foster and encourage sport in the Tuggeranong Valley; provide sporting, recreation and hospitality facilities for members and the community; promote social interaction; and build a sense of community.
“From our early days of one licensed room, we now have four licensed clubs servicing the Tuggeranong Valley. We have over 40,000 members and we support 50 affiliated teams across 38 sports, with over 7000 athletes proudly wearing the Viking Head on their team shirts,” Hill said.
“When you look at these figures and compare them to the population of the Tuggeranong Valley, almost half of the Tuggeranong Valley population is somehow connected to Vikings Group. The deep connection we have here in the Valley and with our community has enabled us to continue to grow.”
Hill predicts that in the future clubs may look different from how they are today, but they will still provide an opportunity for like-minded people to meet.
“We have to constantly adapt and upgrade so that we provide the best services and facilities to our members that we can, our members are our primary focus. Vikings Group is a member-owned organisation. No profit leaves the group unless as a community donation,” Hill said.
Hill attributes much of the strength of the Vikings Group to the forward-thinking of past Directors and CEOs.
“Diversification and investment in property allowed the group to grow assets away from our initial base of food and beverages and gaming,” Hill said.
“With a good income and asset base, we are continuing to grow. In the last 12 months, we have built and opened Badger & Co, a stand-alone pub located at the ANU. We have helped keep bowling alive in Queanbeyan by going into partnership with the Queanbeyan Sports and Community Club to launch Campbell & George, a licensed club.
“We have not just seen growth in our establishments in our 40 years, we have continued to grow as an integral partner with our community donating $40 million over 40 years. With this money we have helped support charities like OzHarvest Canberra, Marymead, Ronald McDonald House and Lifeline Canberra,” Hill said.
Hill says he is committed to leading the Vikings Group to continue to be a sustainable and responsible business. “I want to ensure the group is in a better position with continuous improvements, responsible gaming, reducing our impact on the environment and looking after our staff and our members, is not about making quick money. We are committed to making a positive impact in our community.”
The Vikings Group have been the platform for rising sports stars and creating pathways for young athletes. Athletes including Michael Bevan, Joe Roff, Caroline Buchanan, Kelsey-Lee Barber and Christian Lealiifano all donned the Vikings Head early in their sporting careers.
“As our 40th year unfolds we will take the opportunity to reflect and celebrate on all we have achieved. We thank all our members for continuing to support us as we grow, so we can ensure the sustainability of the club.”
The Vikings Group will celebrate their 40th Anniversary at all clubs on Thursday, 12 December from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
For more information see Viking Group 40th Anniversary.