22 May 2023

Will defending champions Harmonie German Club take the top spot at the ClubsACT Awards once again?

| Morgan Kenyon
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Harmonie German Club at the ClubsACT Awards in 2022

Harmonie German Club took home ClubsACT’s Heart of the Community award in 2022. Photo: Kobi Hiebl.

A generous helping of delicious food, a hearty dose of culture, and 60 years of rich history… Put them together and you get one of Canberra’s most prominent small clubs.

Known for their signature pork knuckles and friendly atmosphere, the Harmonie German Club is more than Narrabundah’s local watering hole – over a dozen local sports, music and culture groups call the venue home.

It’s no surprise they took the top spot at ClubsACT’s 2022 Clubs & Community Awards as Heart of the Community – Small Club of the Year.

This year, CEO Paul Berger says the club is going for gold once more.

“The Harmonie German Club is a small club with a core group of hardworking people – the recognition we received in 2022 meant the world to all of us,” he says.

“We applied for three awards: Arts and Culture; Education, Learning and Development; and Contribution to Amateur Sport.

These awards contributed to the win of Heart of the Community Small Club of the Year, as well as our generally positive impact on the social, financial and cultural growth of our communities.”

Paul Berger and Josh Williams in traditional German dress holding jugs of beer

Harmonie German Club CEO Paul Berger and Oktoberfest MC Josh Williams at Oktoberfest in 2022. The club has proudly held the annual festival in Canberra for over 50 years. Photo: Liv Cameron.

As well as making club of the year, the team won the arts and culture award for the third year in a row.

“Art, music and culture are woven into everything we do,” Paul says. “We have a large auditorium where we host local and interstate artists and support a number of musical groups including the Canberra Blues Society, Swiss and Austrian choirs, Southside Rock ‘n’ Roll and more.

“Obviously our foundation is in German culture, but we promote and provide a home to a number of European cultural groups.”

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For local clubs, the chance to be recognised for their hard work is just one of the benefits of the ClubsACT award. Paul describes the association as a powerful and trusted supporter.

“The importance of an association like ClubsACT shouldn’t be lost on anyone,” he says. “Their skills, knowledge and reach are so valuable, particularly as they voice members’ concerns to government, because many cultural clubs are run by volunteers who might not have the time or experience to advocate for themselves.”

ClubsACT operations manager Kate Palmer says the organisation’s annual event is all about celebrating success, diversity and dedication.

“The ClubsACT Clubs & Community Awards awards are about celebrating and recognising the outstanding contributions of local not-for-profit clubs and their staff,” she says.

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“They showcase the incredible work being done by community clubs in various fields such as sports, arts, culture, environment, social causes, charities, gender and diversity.

“They also offer a platform for inspiration and networking, encouraging growth and fostering a stronger sense of the community way of life.”

ClubsACT Clubs & Community Awards categories for 2023 include Arts and Culture, Hospitality Innovation, Celebrating Diversity and Social Inclusion, Education, Learning and Development, Contribution to Sport, Community Development and Wellbeing, Sustainability and Environment, Emerging Talent – Employee of the Year, and Individual Service to the Industry.

Entries close on 25 August – find out more here.

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