After 40 years, the Tomaree peninsula's oldest club, the Probus Club of Nelson Bay, may need to open the door to female members for the first time in order to grow.
Close to 100 members, partners and guests attended the club's 40th anniversary celebrations with a luncheon at Nelson Bay Bowling Club on October 24.
The club, which was inaugurated on October 19, 1979, has 62 current members. Club president Ian Sloggett, aged 85, said that the membership numbers were on the decline.
"As the older members move on they are not being replaced and it is very difficult to recruit younger men, many of whom have more important priorities such as families, jobs and outdoor activities," Mr Sloggett said.
"We have also seen the growth of the Men's Shed movement, although we do encourage people where possible to become members of both organisations."
Mr Sloggett said that there were six men's, women's and mixed gender Probus clubs within Port Stephens.
"We enjoy fun, fellowship and friendship, and we have regular guest speakers. While our numbers can fluctuate there may come a time when we will need to consider accepting women as members in order to grow our membership."
Also attending the milestone birthday were Probus members from Fingal, Tomaree men's and ladies, Nelson Bay ladies and Port Stephens clubs.
Probus was formed as a social club for active members of the community to join together for a new lease of life in retirement.
Membership is open to any member of the community who is retired, semi-retired or no longer working full time who are looking for opportunities to advance intellectual and cultural interests; to progress healthy minds and active bodies; and to expand interests.
The committee also includes John Wright (vice), Dave Watson (secretary), Brian Keely (treasurer), Adrian Everett (guest speakers), Dod Norris (welfare), Ron Wittig (bulletin), Harrie Furner (membership), Bill Gainsford (social activities), Les Watson (refreshments) and Ken Shadler (publicity).
Anyone wishing to join the Nelson Bay club can contact Ken Shadler (publicity officer) on 0429 494 343.