|Urunga Croquet Club|
In 1985 Marie Patmore, who was on the Board of the Urunga Golf & Sports Club suggested that as another sport for the area Croquet should be given a try. The suggestion wasn’t received very well, but Marie together with fellow board member Brian Oldfield worked hard and found about 12 ladies who were willing to give it a try. She wrote to the Croquet Association for information on how to start a new club. It was suggested that she contact Alice Barrett, an accredited coach of the Sawtell Club. With the information needed to start the club it was put to the Board and they gave their approval for the formation of a Croquet Club. An area of land for the clubhouse was allocated and then the work started. Athol Pomroy donated many loads of sand and soil. Kevin Habgood who was the golf club green keeper and his assistant worked tirelessly to get a lawn up to top condition. Ron Sparks and Dave Brittliffe constructed the shelter shed with Raleigh Truss and Timber providing the timber. Meanwhile the potential players, 19 in all travelled to Sawtell to learn to play the game and to try the patience of Alice, but we made it. Of course we were raising money to get the equipment – a very successful Progressive Dinner was held and a film night at the Golf Club, plus many other fund raising efforts.
An inaugural committee was formed and some are still involved with the club. Back in those days our equipment was kept in a space under the club house and each lunch time was a picnic as we sat under the trees with a thermos and sandwiches. The first general meeting was held in January 1986 and the first games played on the lawn on Tuesday 7th April 1986. That was the start of a happy and successful club. The Official Opening of the club was on June 21 1986 a very colourful day with the red, blue and gold colours of the clubs. Guests were from CPA (now CNSW), Sawtell and Port Macquarie clubs, Mike and Barb Driscoll. Mike Driscoll, the local chemist was appointed Patron. The second lawn was built on the old tennis court and we applied to the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing for a grant. The grant was forthcoming, but by the time that arrived we had the lawn funded by money raised by the members. Our first association carnival was held in 1991 and it was very successful. There have been many ups and downs over the years, but it has been a happy and successful venture.
1994 Winning Kelsell Shield Challenge Team
from left Kit Farrington, John Cate, Marie Patmore, Carol Cate,
Bev Oldfield, Frank Kelsell, Pat Purse, Joyce Grace, Jim Hicks
When the Federation of Community, Sporting and Workers Clubs became involved with the Urunga Golf & Sports Club in the mid 1990’s they constructed two new lawns further away from the main Club to enable the building of holiday units on our previous site. We now have two lawns overlooking the Kalang River that are well maintained the greens staff from the Golf Club and share a Clubhouse with the Urunga Tennis Club. Each half lawn has been named after one of the founding members of the Club so you can play on the Marie Patmore / Nora Toms lawn or the Marcia Sheather / Pat Purse lawn when visiting Urunga.
Original lawns in 1999 during Urunga Sports Week
From the inaugural committee of 1985, Marcia Sheather and Pat Purse are still involved with the club and were appointed Life Members of the Club in 2008. The Urunga Croquet Club currently has approximately 40 members, with Golf Croquet now being played by a number of our new members, as well as the traditional Association. We conducted our first Golf Croquet carnival in 2007 which was very successful and is now an annual event on our calendar.
Life Member Pat Purse and Patron Mike Driscoll cut the cake
at the 20th Birthday of the Urunga Club
We participate in a Tri-Club Goodwill Association Contest and Golf Croquet Fun days against Sawtell and Woolgoolga each year, travelling to both locations and hosting them as well. The Kelsall Shield was played against Port Macquarie each year with both Clubs taking turns in hosting it, but unfortunately our Association numbers have declined and the event has not been played in recent years.
In 2008, the Urunga Golf and Sports Club amalgamated with Coffs Harbour Ex-Services Club and we look forward to forging a solid relationship with our new parent Club.