Plenty lost but much more found as club turns 50
IN 1973, it was reported in the Maryborough Chronicle's Lost and Found that 180 lbs 4 ozs (81.9kg) had been lost.
That was the combined weight-loss effort from members of the Maryborough Weight Watchers Club - now known as the Maryborough Shiralee Night Weight Club, - for the year.
Since its inception 50 years ago members have lost thousands of pounds but gained life-long friendships.
Never did the seven foundation members who got together on August 8, 1969 envisage the club still operating half a century later.
Member since 1998 and treasurer since 2000, Laurell Whittaker, said the club not only helped members stay accountable but was a great social outing.
There were 30 people at the initial meet in 1969 and within 10 weeks the club's minutes reported they had 141 members.
"Without him the club would have struggled and it was through his understanding, help with medical problems and his ability to give foundation member Thelma Faulkner a push in the right direction that laid a strong foundation," she said.
"Today we still have the same rapport with many of the doctors in town who approve of our program.
"Members need to have doctors certificate before joining."
In 1970 with more than 150 members they split the club into day and night clubs, still run under the one president, and in 1971 invited all genders to be a part of the group.
A graduation was held every year, except the first two years due to the sheer number of members.
It was recorded in the minutes of 1984 "the scales carked it" which in turn led the club into the metric system.
Still boasting 180 members in 1993, their affiliation club Weight Watchers Club of Queensland the Shiralee Club advised them to divide into two clubs.
Laurell noted the clubs' saddest day in history was October 24, 1994 where eight members and past members died and more were injured in the Boondall bus crash.
The club disaffiliated with Brisbane and in 2001 became the Maryborough Shiralee Night Club and Maryborough Shiralee Day Club, then dropped the day club in 2009.
"In its 50 years there has only been one year we haven't had a graduate - we have always had someone who has reached their doctor's weight and graduated," Laurell said.
The Maryborough Shiralee Night Weight Club will celebrate its 50th anniversary in conjunction with the annual graduation on September 6 at the Maryborough Bowls Club.
"We are inviting any past members to attend this celebration," Laurell said.
Anyone with photos or memorabilia are welcome to contact the group.
For more information phone Laurell Whittaker on 4123 1288 before August 13.
The Maryborough Shiralee Night Weight Club meets every Wednesday at 6pm. at the Baptist Church Hall, 168 Fort St, Maryborough. It is a friendly, self help support club, with guest speakers through the year. Currently there are 48 members.