|Cowra Croquet Club|
Although Croquet was played in Cowra before the turn of the century, records show the first official club was not formed until 1923. The local newspapers referred to picnics being held at Mulyan Plains with cricket, croquet and other pastimes being played in the 1880s. Many hundreds of Cowra women have passed through the ranks of the Cowra Croquet Club since its formation in 1923.
The Club was formed by two Cowra ladies, Miss Elizabeth Bill and Mrs. Alford with Miss Bill becoming the club’s first Secretary. She was to hold this post until 1947 when she declined nomination because of failing health. (The Guardian, Monday, June 9, 1980).
The first croquet games were played on the lawns of the Cowra Bowling Green and this was the venue until 1945. The club paid a rental of one pound a week for the use of one green on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. The club only had about six players in the beginning and so the finance was minimal. The ladies supplied afternoon tea for the bowlers for 3d to raise some funds.
In 1945, the club transferred their games to River Park where the Caravan Park is now. It was here they had to battle hard to survive with little finance; they only had an old piano case to store their equipment. This wasn’t very suitable as vandals would often damage the contents. At one stage there was a flood on the Lachlan river and the piano case got washed away.
Members continued to raise funds through raffles, street stalls, jumble sales, card parties, donations and competitions etc. and gradually the Bank Balance rose.
On 16th August 1947 the Cowra Croquet Club held a meeting at Miss Bill’s residence to make arrangements for new greens on Cowra Memorial Park (now Brougham Park). In 1951 Council was approached to erect a light and a tap for drinking water in Brougham Park for the Club, which they kindly did. The Croquet Club continued to hold meetings at the Guide Hall or on the green at Brougham Park until September 1952. The Club House was completed in August 1952. Cupboards were erected, tables, new hoops and one form were purchased.
The members worked very hard to pay to have the lawns mowed and make additions to the Club House. Today the Council maintains the lawns for the club and takes a great load off the members in raising funds.
From the perseverance of the early members we are now able to play Croquet three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and have a membership of approximately 26. We have two Friendship Days a year and sometimes join with other clubs on their day.