Situated over the sea on the picturesque Nelson Haven, The Boathouse is a whole lot more than an historic building.
Full of history and a big part of the local community the venue also opens it’s doors as a cafe, music venue, club, community hall and function venue.
The Boathouse opens Wednesday through to Friday for relaxed brunch and lunch dining with a stunning backdrop of the Nelson Haven, Haulashore Island, The Boulder Bank and mountain ranges. Friday evenings are all about music with the cafe re-opening at 5pm for dinner, drinks and dancing with live music. During weekends and evenings the venue is occupied by functions, events and community groups. On a Sunday the building takes a rest from being a business and members have run of the building with families often seen lunching on the deck, throwing celebrations in the hall or out in the small craft.
Built in 1906 by the Nelson Rowing Club, the hall was used extensively by rowers and later by the Iron Duke Sea Scouts who purchased the building in the 1920s. After the Second World War, it became a popular Saturday night dance hall and saw the flourishing of many a local romance. By the 1970s dances were out of fashion and the scouts moved to solid ground in the port as the building was liable to be washed out to sea in the next storm! ‘A few good blokes in the pub’ decided that demolition was not an option and rallied twenty five residents to purchase the building. Together they formed The Iron Duke Boat Club Society, later changing the name to The Boathouse Society. Memberships were offered and a sympathetic restoration started in 1992. Where possible original features were retained or reused and the old timber recycled.
The Boathouse now counts over 240 members; with many an original member among that number.
The objectives of The Boathouse Society are to:
- Provide recreational and social facilities for members
- Restore The Boathouse
- Involve children in activities
- Provide for the storage of small craft
- Provide a centre for theatre, music, dance and arts
- Encourage recreational use of Nelson Harbour
- Promote the conservation of the harbour
The Boathouse holds a special place in the heart of many a Nelsonian.
We welcome you all to stop in and enjoy the view