Highlights from the CNSW Newsletter, March 2007


President’s Column
2006 MacRobertson Shield
New Zealand Open Championships
Croquet NSW Gala Day
District Croquet Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Night Croquet at Cammeray Croquet Club
Forster Croquet Club
Jamberoo Croquet Club
Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Killara?
Lithgow Croquet Club
Maitland Croquet Club
Milton Ulladulla Croquet Club
Proposed changes at Muswellbrook Croquet Club
Port Macquarie - Interacting with Hastings Headway
Sawtell Croquet Club
Sydney Croquet Club
Christmas Croquet at Taree
Urunga Croquet Club
Wagga Wagga Croquet Club
News from the Gong
Croquet in Sydney (and a little of our Past)

President’s Column

The 2007 Croquet season began on 2nd February with the Gala Day at Tempe. Numbers were apparently less than usual but what a pleasant way to start the year!

Hopefully every one has received their replacement pages for the NSW Calendar of Events and has looked carefully to choose which events to enter. I would encourage everyone to support these events whether as an individual, a pair, or part of a pennants team. There are events to suit all abilities and interests. For those new to competing to find an entry form ask at your club or go to the Croquet NSW web page and click on Downloads.

The Australian Championships and Schools Championships held last November were both most successful. Thank you to all those who helped to make them so. As we are a volunteer organisation your assistance is invaluable. Organisation has already commenced for the Open Singles and Interstate Shield for Golf Croquet to be held in the Hunter in September.

Over the Christmas break Geof and I have visited Toronto, Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Cammeray clubs. We coached at some, met lots of nice people and played under the new lights at Cammeray - most impressive!.

I sincerely hope that you all enjoy your croquet this year.

Jacky McDonald

2006 MacRobertson Shield

Congratulations to Great Britain on retaining the MacRobertson Shield in 2006.

The MacRobertson International Croquet Shield is the premier croquet teams event in the world. It is currently competed for by Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States. It is known affectionately as the MacRob.

The series is now played in rotation between the competing countries every three or four years.

A brief history of the event

In the early 1920s, Australian confectionery maker and philanthropist, Sir Macpherson Robertson played croquet as his pastime. He enlisted returned World War 1 veterans to take up concessions for his products and encouraged them to try croquet also, believing it to be a teaching aid for developing skills in self discipline and risk management. Eventually, a pool of players were participating in regular tournaments. In 1925, Australia played its first international croquet tournament, which was against England. Sir MacPherson Robertson presented a trophy for this event, beginning an international tournament of croquet "Tests" between Australia and England and the MacRobertson Shield has been played for ever since. The Victorian Croquet Association sent a team of four players to England to contest the inaugural tournament. England won easily and Robertson presented the Shield personally.

In 1927-8 an England team played in Australia and managed a slender win. In 1930, New Zealand was invited to participate in a series between themselves and Australia, with Australia winning comfortably. The first triangular series was held in 1935 in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne centenary celebrations. More than a thousand spectators saw Australia retain the Shield. 1937 saw the Australian team go to England where the home team won convincingly. In 1993, a United States team was admitted into the tournament.

The event, now called The Croquet World Series for the MacRobertson Shield, is played every 3 or 4 years. In 2003 the event was held in Florida, USA. The 2006 tournament was held in Australia at the Rich River Golf Club Resort near Echuca, Victoria - Moama, New South Wales on the Murray River and was won by Great Britain. Each team comprises 6 players. The event is completely open and although in recent years most of the players have been men, women have been selected in both the English and Australian teams in recent years. The last time Australia won was in 1935!

The picture below shows the trophy for the series held in 2003, which was won by the United States.

New Zealand Open Championships

Jan 16-20, 2007. Windy Wellington lived up to its name with mallets and balls occasionally doing odd things, though thankfully only a few drizzles had players scuttling for the shelter sheds.

A frightening field of 48 turned up for this event, including Chris Clarke, World No. 1 - now resident in Christchurch, NZ - and four players from Oz, being Rosie News, Peter Landrebe, Jonathon Bowen (Canberra), and Martyn Prins (Mosman).

John Ballantyne (ex-Mosman, now Winton/Southland) also played, coming third in his block with 3 wins out of 5 including a win against a blobbing Ian Lines (-4 hcp) JB was then shuffled off to the Plate blocks where he won 5 out of 7 to win his block. Rosie also won her block in The Plate. Alas, John and Rosie were trashed in the KO semis, so there was some weeping and sympathy that night.

It was also a delight to meet Rob Lowe again, who, I am sure, will be remembered with affection by Manly C.C. and by the many other NSW folk who have enjoyed playing in The Seabreeze

Three venues were used in Wellington: Waimarie, 6 lawns; Kelburn (HQ - 7 lawns); and Wellington C.C , 3 lawns. Getting from one to another was a bit of a hard task at times and depended a lot on the kindness of strangers, dashing for the last train or an expensive taxi ride. The best venue for food was Waimarie who were generous to a fault. One thing Aussie croquet players might be slightly jealous of is that morning tea with sandwiches and cakes is taken out not only to the refs and umpires, but also to all the players!. Lunch was also provided for by putting the doings (sliced beef, ham, tomatoes, cheese, curried eggs etc) out on a table and letting the players make their own. Food for thought.

Another thing of interest was the use of the McClure Marking Kit. This is a very neat object, including 4 markers, and a wire doodackie for testing whether a ball has run a hoop. All refs and umpires used it and I must say, it seems to be a more accurate way of marking a wired ball in the middle of the court, not to mention a target ball after a hampered hoop shot. (To order, or P.O. Box 2057 Stoke Nelson NZ)

The star of the tournament was a young lad, A.J. Reid, affectionately referred to as AJ. Nineteen, if he is a day, and full of his own brilliance. He won all the games in his block, 26 TP. There was much merriment with AJ in his KO semi - his forward ball had already been pegged out - he sniffed at an easy roquet and went for a length-ofthe- court ball in corner one, made the roquet and then three balled his way from hoop one to Peg Out.

The opinion in the clubhouse was that the only reason AJ might lose the game was if he were too busy rehearsing his victory speech to pay attention to what he was doing. Ha ha!

The smart money was on Chris Clarke (experience tells) to beat the puppy in the best of 5 finals. The older dog won.

An excellent tournament, lots of surprises and laughs.

It will be interesting to see if Chloe's cool can beat the heat of AJ in Auckland next year.

Your correspondent from the deep south,

Judy Cleine
New Zealand

Croquet NSW Gala Day

On 2nd February I headed off to my first Gala Day with little idea of what it involved. What a great way to start the season! Even the weather was kind, overcast and not too hot. Apparently the numbers were well down on other years. Even so there were seventy five present, mainly from metropolitan clubs, and it was nice to catch up with members from Jamberoo and Wollongong. It was a good chance to meet lots of new faces.

There was a wide variety of activities, each run by one of the clubs who also provided the prize. The activities included the following:-

Some I have probably left out.

It took all morning to complete each of the activities and there were some I was very tempted to return for a second try as I was sure I should have done better. During the lunch break the winners were decided. No-one can win more than one activity and there were still two activities which had to be decided by a sudden death shoot for the peg.

Thanks are due to those clubs who manned the activities and to Mary Gibson and Norma Taylor for their organization.

Jacky McDonald

District Croquet Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Mid North Coast Croquet Council celebrates its Jubilee on 29 January 2008, and the group is interested to know if this is something of a record in NSW Croquet circles.

Formed in 1958 as the Hastings & Manning District Croquet Council, it originally comprised four clubs: Part Macquarie and Wauchope from the Hastings area and Taree and Wingham from the Manning area. This group organized district competition ( including pennant) and functioned largely unchanged through until the mid-1970's. The Wingham and Wauchope clubs both suffered flagging membership after this period and eventually ceased to exist. They were replaced successively by Forster and Gloucester at which point the name was changed to Mid North Coast Croquet Council ( MNCCC).

The MNCCC currently runs an inter-club doubles competition in the first half of each year and District Championships in September/ October. With the growth of interest in golf croquet, the association has expanded these two events over the past three years to include Golf Croquet as well as Association Croquet.

The big 50th anniversary is going to be held at Forster Croquet Club on 29 January 2008. If there are any other like associations that have had 50 years of ongoing inter-club competition, the MNCCC would like to hear from them. Please contact Joan Watson, President MNCCC (Port Maqcquarie Club), Ph/Fax: 6584 5215, or

Alan Gray, Susan Klecks, Bridget Earle, Barbara McTiuernan, Joan Watson (President), John Coates, Jan Sage, John Talbot, Sue Moss & Lynette Bryant.

Night Croquet at Cammeray Croquet Club

Play at night

The lights at Cammeray Croquet Club are now fully operational. The club members have been trying them out during January and have enjoyed the coolness and the peaceful experience.

Gladys Berejiklian speaking at the Opening Party

The Grand Opening was held on 6th February, with local M.P. Gladys Berejiklian as guest of honour.

Mike Jenner and Peter Landrebe
after their demonstration match

At this party, Peter Landrebe and Mike Jenner played a brilliant demonstration game under lights, with Mike nearly bringing off a straight triple peel, and Peter making a good attempt at a sextuple peel. Mike won by 26-14.

Focusing the lights during installation

Cammeray plans to recruit new members who are still in the workforce, who can now play after work.

The club welcomes visitors to our night sessions, which are 7pm—10pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Let us know if you are planning to come.

Cammeray is happy to help any other clubs who are thinking of installing lights.

Forster Croquet Club

Happy New Year to all the other croquet clubs from Forster Croquet Club. I'm sure you all had a great festive season with your family and friends. It all happens so fast then we are into another year and the start of the 2007 Croquet calendar becomes alive.

Before Christmas last year we held our annual chicken and champagne Melbourne Cup festivities. What a day we had! Members and friends came dressed in fine array with their decorative hats aplenty.

It was hard for the judges to decide the winner as all who participated really got into the swing of things or should I say galloped their way into adornments of millinery masterpieces on their heads.

Forster Club members certainly get enthusiastic with their social events as well as their abilities and skills with games on the courts. Our first event on the social calendar was Australia Day celebrations with games followed by dinner with pies, mashed spuds and peas. Our member, Ross Williams, dished up his own culinary best meat pies.

Our club's calendar is rather full for the first couple of months. Social games are played every week, including golf and association. We have 3 courts and most days players occupy all three. Sunday, February 25 sees the start of the club's Association Division 1 to 3 Championships. Players will no doubt be playing as many games as possible for practice leading up to these championships. Early in March Division 4 championships will commence. The Golf Croquet Handicap Singles will follow, starting on Sunday, March 25. So, all in all, our club is travelling towards a busy competitive schedule in the early months of this year.

Croquet means to the Forster club members Competition, Roquets, Opponents, Quest, Unisex, Entertainment and Togetherness. We must not forget one most important thing and that is Fun.

That is what we wish to all members of every croquet club and your members, remember to have fun throughout 2007 playing this wonderful game. More news next time, until then, enjoy your croquet.

Anita Campbell
Publicity Officer

Jamberoo Croquet Club


Wednesday 24th January 2007 was the true tenth birthday of Jamberoo Croquet Club and to celebrate the event, an informal BYO BBQ was held at the lawns. Several people arrived early to re-mark the hoop positions for our newly renovated lawn number two before games of Association and Golf Croquet were played by the thirty or so people present.

Ron Wilkinson fired up the BBQ around 6 p.m. and the delicious cooking aroma of steak, sausages and onions was soon enticing players away from their games and down to the serious business of eating! Unfortunately the flies were also lured by the BBQ and diners had to guard their meals if they didn't want to share!

The evening was rounded off with birthday cake and a rendition of the traditional " Happy Birthday" song. Some stalwarts recommenced play after the meal but were finally beaten by the lack of light. Fortunately the weather was kind and it was a beautiful night for the event, which was enjoyed by all.


The Festive Season is normally a quiet time for the building trade and so progress on the Clubhouse has been slow. I have completed the design and specifications for the Clubhouse and have requested quotes for the building from three different suppliers. So far, two of the suppliers have provided quotes and detailed estimates have been prepared using them as a basis. The final quote is expected in the first week of February. One of the quotes received to date shows that we should be able to complete the building within the $ 40,000 initially budgeted ( the other quote is a few thousand dollars more).

Unfortunately it seems that the connection to the sewer will cost considerably more than our budget. Discussions have been held with both Sydney Water and Cardno Forbes Rigby, the only " accredited water servicing co-ordinator" in the area, and it looks as though it could cost as much as $ 10,000 to connect to the sewer.

The next step in the programme is to submit a Development Application to Kiama Council to get their approval of the construction and this should be done in early February.

Roger Evans

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Killara?

No, just - Melbourne Cup Day at Killara Croquet Club!

Does the following correspondence between Killara members sound familiar?

F: We have one doubles game to play for this year. Dates I can do - (there followed seven possible dates and times) Then I am away from Sydney until Wednesday 22nd November when I can play during play in the morning up to 2.30pm or Thursday 23 November any time. Do any of these times suit? I have to print out certificates and J will hand out prizes at our Christmas party on Saturday 25 November!

P: I am able to play 1/2/3/8/10 November up to 2.30pm. If necessary I could remain later as long as I have a couple of days notice.

J: I can do 1, 2 and 3 November. I'll be away the next week from 7 to 10 November.

F: OK R - all down to you now for one of those days, ie Wednesday 1 November during play in the morning up to 2.30pm, Thursday 2 November any time, Friday 3 any time up to and including the twilight games (Don't forget that there is daylight saving after 3 November). Let's make a date!

R: Good grief - don't any of you people sleep? P and F - emails after 11.00pm? Thank heavens it's only email and not "proper" phone calls, cos if you woke me up after about 10.00pm things could turn very VERY ugly. 3rd November works fine for me - anytime, tho I'd prefer first thing in the morning as I've got a few "home" chores to do before twilight games/social night, but not crucial, so I'll work in. All those in favour of 9.00am start, put it in your diary, otherwise I'll wait to hear. Judging by the way the four of us have worked this out I think we should all get jobs as timetable co-ordinators for the State Transit Authority.

F: Oops! I have just realised that the lawns are to be mowed and marked on Friday morning 3 November and the place may be crawling with practicing Doubles Nationals players. How about 1 or 2 November?

R: I think someone should make a sitcom entitled "How To Make A Date For A Doubles Croquet Match" I can do 2 November, but I can't be there until 12.30 because of work (but P can only play til 2.30). The alternative is sometime during the week of 13th November after J returns. F, is this too late in the year? Otherwise we could ask J and P to concede defeat by default! (waiting with bated breath)

F: It gets worse! J gets back on 10 November and I go away on the 11th until the 22nd November. CAN WE ALL DO IT ON THURSDAY 23RD? FRIDAY 24 IN THE MORNING is also possible for me but I need to be able to do the certificates for prizes in time for the Christmas Party on the 25th. If this doesn't work maybe you and I should concede, R. What do you think?

R: Concede? Never! I'll try and swap my work days around, so I can make THURSDAY 23RD NOVEMBER. Whatever time suits everyone. Think it's a bit much of an ask for you to play Friday. You'll be busy doing the certificates for prizes and you'll have to take extra time to make up a certificate for "Doubles Championships Who Just Made Their Last Match On Time" And the prize goes to ... But seriously, if it's all getting a bit much for everyone F, we'll concede - your call. P.S. A good lesson in getting matches played as early in the year as possible.

P: Between now and then there are a few Saturdays and Sundays if anyone is interested. No?? I'll go with whatever you all decide. PS - I can do 23rd Nov.

F: If you're OK for 23rd Nov that makes three of us. Maybe wait to hear from J and then ... IT'S A DATE!

F: J, 23rd ok for you?

J: Oh dear!! I think I'll have to concede. I have an Ensemble theatre play on that day and as I have already changed it once I don't think I could ask my friends to do it another day. Sorry chaps. I'll see you tomorrow at croquet.

F: Here we go again. If 2.30 is better for everyone we can still do this and play the finals at Twilight if we are not too exhausted. Morning or afternoon makes no difference to me except that if we play in the afternoon and at twilight, there is time to do something else in the morning. What now?

F: Just spoke to PG . Following confirmed - doubles with F, R, J and P 23rd Nov. 2.30 pm. Semi's Friday 24th Nov. at 4.00pm.. Hope this is OK with you

J: I gather everyone has spoken to our captain!!! Thursday 2.30 doubles between F and R and P and J. Friday morning winner of above plays JP and PW. Friday 4pm M C and PG plays losers of Thursday's game. Saturday 9am finals!!!!??? Say no more.

F: YES YES ANYTHING! I'm exhausted and reaching for the wine bottle!

R: I'm a bit confused about the doubles. Didn't know there were any finals involved - just wanted to get our match played on Thurs 23 November at 2.30 pm with P and J. But if we have to play another match before twilight on Friday 24th November, that's fine with me - just name a time. Or do we just play another match straight after on Thurs 23rd? If any of you would like to reply to this email, just start with "You daft idiot"

P: Wait !! wait!!! What finals at 9am??? 9am - are you all crazy? I don't do mornings well enough for a final. And who will be in a final? Far as I can see everything will be over and done on Friday. Don't bother sending anything I will be in clubhouse Tuesday and someone can explain it all to me then

R: Settle down P! Let's just get Thursday 23rd at 2.30pm over and done with and we'll take it from there. Sounds like you're having heart-attack-via-email. P.S. Yes, we are all crazy, otherwise we wouldn't be playing croquet.

J: I've just had another thought which, hopefully, might help to avoid all the last minute playoffs! Next week I am going to spend a few days at Blackheath. Now I could leave early Friday morning 10 November and ready for a game say at midday. Let me know whether this is a good idea or not.

F: Friday 10th at midday is ok for me. I am going to a Brandenburg concert that night so don't want it to be late - if we finish by 3pm I can do it. What about everybody else?

R: Oh dear - sorry, can't do Friday 10th, unless anyone's interested in making it late afternoon (3.00pm or so) and we can play around Twilight people. Is there a Saturday morning we can all do? This is getting so ridiculous I've started laughing hysterically and, as we speak, J (husband) is trying to sedate me. Look forward to hearing from you all (no, not really - every time I open my email I start trembling and break out in a cold sweat).

F: Sorry - as I said before, can't do LATE on the 10th. Back to the 23rd?

P: Well! I am glad you all got that all sorted. And without me having to even think about it. Just got home and found it all done - great. Perhaps someone will keep me posted as to any changes that might occur between now and whenever we are playing.

R: 23rd Nov @ 2.30 is done and dusted as I have to juggle work commitments and must let both workplaces know today. Otherwise the word "concede" comes to mind and may the wrath of Croquet God be entered upon our heads. When we meet at Twilight croquet tomorrow night, please don't anyone speak to me as I am now on medication and develop a nervous tic in my right eye whenever I hear the names F, P or J.

J: Oh dear - I've just joined as a full member of the hysterical club. Please ignore my last email - for some unknown reason my machine didn't acknowledge your replies!!! And thanks Pat for your advice. I'll commence the intake at lunch today with friends. See you all at the weekend.

In the end the game was played and the finals completed in time for prize giving at the Christmas party!

Note from the Sub-Editor: Those readers who followed this email conversation to its conclusion can apply for a Certificate of Achievement!

Lithgow Croquet Club

Enormous anticipation mounted at the Lithgow Croquet Club, awaiting the arrival of the new NSW President Mrs Jacky McDonald and her partner in life and on the green, Geoff. The purpose of the visit on the 16th of January 2007 was to encourage and instruct players on matters that we were a bit unclear about. What a great start to the New Year.

Being a club with a large number of our members being disabled it was what was needed for them to see that your disability is simply a greater challenge. Geoff McDonald is an Australian Champion with the disability of Parkinson's disease.. Our President John Hart also has this, so he was quite chuffed to see the possibilities and how to cope. A lot of matters that we had been previously led to believe in styles, rules, etiquette etc were cleared away.

The talk by Geoff on managing jump and stop shots of which there were more than one, allowed us to get underway with putting it all into action, and at the same time observing how these champions achieved their status. Jacky McDonald took some of the players through the tactics that can be employed that left some of our players nearly speechless and then we proceed to learn about Ricochet which is the closest to Association Croquet.

Jacky is also pushing forward the encouragement to youth to learn this non contact sport which is a game of mental and physical skill as the students whom we coach from La Salle Academy have discovered. School competitions are now underway here in NSW and other states thanks to efforts of people like Jacky McDonald. Under new governance youth will be encouraged to take this up as a sport and this provides players for the future and for those that want a sport to play all year round and not for just a season. It is also one of cheapest sports to be involved in. Lynne Nelson-Jones from the Lithgow Club is looking forward to young and mature folk being adventurous enough to make a call on 63531387 and come and try it out.

Due to time constraints we focused on the different croquet games of Aussie, Golf, & Ricochet. The longer and older game of Association Croquet was left with our own instructor Chris Milroy. After lunch and further indoor talks the President and Geoff departed to appear at the Blue Mountains Club at Blackheath. It was a very full time for both them and us here in Lithgow. We expressed our appreciation and honour in having these champions and our NSW President out here at this small club, with a book from the Historical Society on the foundations of Lithgow.

Maitland Croquet Club

Maitland Croquet Club held its fourth Australia Day Singles Golf Tournament as part of the 2007 Australia Day celebrations. There were about 40 contestants and about 100 games were played in the course of the day.

Play was divided into 4 four divisions and four blocks, with each group having from five to six players. The tournament started at exactly 8am under pleasant conditions but as the day progressed it slowly turned into the typical hot and humid weather most people come to expect in Maitland. The tournament attracted entries from most of the Lower Hunter clubs with many players coming from the North Coast, Sydney and Wollongong.

Pam Gentle
All games were 13 hoops with no time limit and with the exception of one or two games most were completed well within one hour. Using four full sized lawns with two games (primary and secondary) being played at the same time there was a quick turnover in games despite the inevitable small delays when games clashed as they arrived at the same hoop.

Geof McDonald
Despite the quickness of most games it was not until the very final match of the day when Geof McDonald and Lo Hearne fought out an epic battle that lasted well over one hour, the final match winning hoop being fought over for more than 20 minutes. As all the other divisions and blocks had finished attention was focused on these two experienced players as they continued with their one on one combat. It was without doubt the game of the tournament.

Josephine McGrath and Claire Clarke
By 7pm the days' play was finished and all that remained was the presentations. The local council had gratefully supplied the prize money which was evenly divided between the eight division and block winners.
Barry Wells
'The Silver Fox'
A great day was had by all and many stayed over night to join in ordinary club play on the Saturday morning before heading home. For the many organizers and support personnel the day was a credit to their skills in conducting an event that went off smoothly from the very first to the last game. To all those who played and to our many spectators Maitland Croquet Club says 'thank you'.

Milton Ulladulla Croquet Club

Sunday, 4 February 2007 dawned as a greyish, cloudy day, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the members of the Milton Ulladulla Croquet Club as they prepared to compete in this year's Summer Games Competition on their new home lawn. There was a carnival like atmosphere around the ground with colourful sun umbrellas and our new shelter sheds providing protection from the weather for players.

A round robin competition was drawn up by Club Captain, Jean Pack, who explained the rules of the Competition prior to play starting. A total of seven teams of two participated and so it was obvious that there was a long day of Golf Croquet ahead for competitors.

There was also a strong spirit of competition amongst the players and this was supported by the many people who visited the club during the day; other non-playing members and other people who were interested in the strategies of the game.

At 5.15pm after a lot of fun, excitement and socialising, the results were announced. Congratulations to Kay and Roy Bryant who won the Gold medal, Rene West and Ethleen Wray who won Silver, Jennifer Millen and Lorriane Patterson who won the Bronze, and to all participants for making it such a successful event.

Everyone went home very tired, but what a great day.

A big thank you to the Summer Games Committee for presenting the medals.

Proposed changes at Muswellbrook Croquet Club

For some time now MCC has been considering its options with regard to playing area. Since our membership has risen over the past two years from the low 20s to the high 40s, it has become apparent that our playing area is stretched to the limit, with only one full sized court or two half courts. We have been using the Penguin Tennis Club's twin grass courts since 1995 when they were the only group to offer practical assistance when we had to leave the bowling greens. During our use of the Tennis Courts we carried out a number of upgrades that improved playing conditions for both the croquet and tennis players. We top dressed and leveled the courts and installed an automatic pop-up watering system, and also built a toilet block with help from the tennis club.

Muswellbrook Shire Council has progressively raised the price of water so that it is dearer than Sydney water at present. We are the only non profit sporting club in the shire that has provided its own watering system and pays full water rates. When the bowling greens opposite the tennis courts were abandoned in June 2006 we applied to use the two greens. We were unsuccessful in our application to the Dept of Lands and the leave was given to two community service organizations as they were short of office space. We approached Hunter Integrated Care and they agreed that we could use the greens if we maintained them. Due to the high cost of watering the greens we asked the Shire Council to subsidize our water use if we moved to the bowling greens. They refused this request so we have to look for alternatives.

Some of our members approached the local golf club as they water their greens and fairways with recycled tertiary treated effluent pumped from Muswellbrook Sewerage Works maturation ponds. This system was installed in the late 80s to reduce the amount of effluent discharging into the Hunter River. The scheme was set up so that four council parks could also be watered along the pipeline that supplies the golf course. The council never went ahead with watering these parks but the golf course has been watered solely by treated effluent since the late 80s.

The golf club President and greenkeeper were most supportive of our proposal. Provided we construct a pipeline connected to the golf course irrigation system, they would supply the water at a suitable pressure for irrigation of the greens. The greenkeeper also offered to help with advice and other assistance to re-establish the greens at the old bowling club.

A special general meeting was held at PTC on 10th January this year to vote on a move to the bowling greens. Members unanimously agreed to moving across to the bowling greens. We now require approval from Council to construct a pipeline about 400 metres long across the non-playing area of one of their parks so we can connect between the golf course and the bowling greens. We will also need finance to cover the cost of building the connecting main and will apply for a grant from Council and may also need to look elsewhere for assistance. Other sporting clubs in the shire only pay 18% of field operating and maintenance cost but we pay full costs. I would be very interested to hear from other clubs in NSW who do receive financial assistance from local councils.

Port Macquarie - Interacting with Hastings Headway

For the second time the Croquet Club held mallet sports with members from Hastings Headway. These members have all suffered brain injury as the result of trauma.

Once again all enjoyed great fun and laughter and look forward to the next meeting.

Bridget Earle
Port Macquarie Croquet Club

Sawtell Croquet Club

Our 2007 Australia Day began with a Flag raising ceremony and singing of our National Anthem by forty six members and friends. Then followed Golf Croquet and Alternate Strokes. There were many eager to try their luck at " closest to the peg" and "hurry-scurry".

Drinks and Nibbles were popular as was a scrumptious Luncheon prepared by our hard working committee.

The Best Dressed lady was won by Sue and judged to be the "Typical Aussie bloke" was Tom.

An enjoyable day was had by all!

Sydney Croquet Club

The Christmas Party held on Sunday 10 December was a very happy occasion with excellent attendance. We were able to welcome the new Mayor of Woollahra, Keri Huxley. Debra Debnam also joined us briefly, with apologies from our Club Patron, Peter Debnam M.P., who was caught up in urgent political business. We were happy to welcome Dan Sutherland, Vice President of Woollahra Golf Club. Stephen Howes from Cammeray also joined us. We were happy to have this rep from over the Harbour as Cammeray and Coogee Clubs had accepted some of our members for games while the annual lawn maintenance was taking place. The weather on the day was next to perfect, with the heat alleviated by a nice breeze. Fortunately, lunch was taken in the shade of one of our big trees. Due to the generous contributions of members, there was a great selection of food and drinks, which added to the enjoyment of the day. Shortened games of Association and Golf Croquet had preceded lunch, helping all to work up an appetite! Some continued playing after lunch as well.

The customary raffle was also well stocked with prizes, again thanks to many of the members. It had been determined beforehand that the proceeds would go to the Breast Cancer Foundation, and we are pleased to say that $192 was raised for this good cause.

Prior to drawing the raffle, the various winners of the Club's competitions were presented with their Certificates.

Wendy Fothergill

Christmas Croquet at Taree

Have you noticed that most of the MacRobertson Shield players, from all competing nations, first played croquet as children, or as students?

I had this thought in mind when planning entertainment for our Gathering at Christmas last year. Fourteen family members spent five days together - cooking, gardening, swimming, playing at the beach, and playing croquet in the back yard.

My husband Phillip, a nonplayer, but beloved green keeper at Taree Croquet Club, made up a set of six 5 inch hoops, and shortened some ancient mallets to heights of from 25 to 29 inches. A peg was made from a length of broom handle. I also took four full sized mallets.

Various modified games were introduced - a form of Golf Croquet where each ball scored each hoop, and another game that was closer to Golf Croquet. Faults and miss hits were excused for the littlies, but severely applied to the adults. Hoops were placed in any convenient location on a patch of lawn, but basically in a roughly circular formation.

We hit off, in order from near the peg, played in sequence, and finished by hitting the peg. OR we went round the circle, round the peg, and round the circle in the opposite direction.

OR any other path that was decided at the time. Children played together, adults played together, and many, many mixed games were played. The equipment was left behind when we returned home, and many visiting friends of my daughter and son-in-law have spent a fun afternoon or evening hitting balls through hoops. They soon develop the tactic of attacking the opponent and sending balls into the garden or the compost heap.

It's all good fun!

Jan Sage

Urunga Croquet Club


As can be seen by the pictures, Croquet is a game for any age. Pictured is William Martin aged 12 - William started playing in first term 2006 with Urunga Public School for sport. He is now a regular on a Saturday morning for Golf Croquet.

Also pictured is Nora Toms who although in her nineties is a regular on both Saturday and Tuesday. Nora normally plays Association and represented the Urunga Croquet Club in 2006 in the Tri-Club against Sawtell and Woolgoolga and the Kessall Shield in Port Macquarie.

Numbers at Urunga have increased significantly in the past 12 months with Golf Croquet proving to be extremely popular with new members. 2006 saw a number of our new players do very well in Golf Croquet carnivals on the North Coast, with a couple also trying their hand at Association. Hopefully 2007 will be just as successful for our members.

Anyone visiting Urunga should come along on a Saturday morning from 9.15 am for a game of Golf Croquet, 1 pm for a game of Association or Tuesday morning from 9.15 am for a game of Golf or Association.


Tuesday 6th June Urunga Croquet Club celebrated their 20th Anniversary. A fine, sunny winters day with visitors from Woolgoolga, Sawtell, Port Macquarie and National Park enjoyed several games of Golf Croquet in the morning, then all adjourned to the Urunga Golf & Sports Club for lunch, to be joined by past players who were unable to play in the morning.

Jim Hicks acting as MC welcomed all and introduced Pat Purse the inaugural president, who talked about the early days of the club. " Back in 1985 Marie Patmore, who was on the board of the Urunga Golf 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 of that committee Marcia Sheather and myself 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 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 and as one of the original members it is great to see such a happy and enthusiastic crowd today."

It was great to see so many of the original members available to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Club. The picture shows long time members of the Club, back row from left to right - Marcia Sheather, Nora Toms, Pat Purse, Edna Rose, Joyce Grace and Zita Allen. Seated are John Kearns, Marie Patmore, Betty Sara, Kit Farrington and Pat Duggan.

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. June is a busy month within the Club with our Anniversary celebrations, our annual carnival and this year our Club was used on the ' Honeyeater Trail' by many croquet enthusiast from near and far.

Wagga Wagga Croquet Club

On 4 December, the club held its annual presentation dinner at the picturesque Wagga Wagga Boat Club overlooking Lake Albert. Forty members and friends of the club were present and enjoyed a quiet evening until a certain gentleman in red put in a surprise appearance and distributed lollypops to all members who had behaved well during the year.

Presentations were made to those experiencing success in the Club Handicap Round Robin, Golf Croquet Doubles and the Club Championships. An interesting feature of the Award for the Biggest Break in each division of the club championships was that the winners of these awards were each the runner up in the division competed in.

Pictured is Club President Jim Nicholls, the winner of the Elsie Stewart Trophy (Open Club Championship) for the second year running with Richard Kaylock, holding the Bess Webster Award. This award was presented to Richard for the outstanding service and contribution he gave to the club during the 2006 year. Club members each nominate a member to receive this award and the recipient is the member with the most nominations.

News from the Gong

Wollongong Croquet Club held their Annual Xmas Party on December 10 this year.

As you can see a great day was had by all. The food was great, the raffle and lucky door prizes were great , the weather was great, the service was great and the conversation was great. What more could you ask for? A big thank you to Noeline Berthold and her social committee for all their hard work throughout the year to make this day one to remember. As she said "the social committee never sleeps"….

Creative juices flowed as everyone had to think of a way to adorn a toilet roll cylinder to bring along as a table decoration. The winning entry went to Maxine Shine for her rendition of carol singers under a lamp post, 2nd went to Betty Muller and 3rd place went to Nance Moreing. Fabulous prizes were presented with the winner receiving a pack of 9 Kleenex toilet rolls, 2nd place got 6 rolls and 3rd place received 4! Very practical and relevant prizes indeed!!

Winners are grinners!

Croquet in Sydney (and a little of our Past)

modified and submitted by John Hanscomb from the booklet
"Uncovering Sydney" by Graham Spindler

Thomas Walker's Place at Concord

In the 1860s Walker began the construction of his mansion, calling it Yaralla, an Aboriginal word for dwelling place. The architect was the eminent Edmund Blacket, and it was designed in the fashionable Italianate style with a four-storey square tower, a two-storey front and a ground-floor - verandah with cast iron and columns. Although large, it was a relatively simple, minimally adorned house. The long, tree-flanked road entrance stretching from the gates on Concord Road continues to exist, partly the Yaralla drive and partly as the wide treelined street called 'The Drive' which leads to it from Concord Road.

(Yaralla is situated on a peninsula beside the Parramatta River
and not far from the Ryde Bridge)

In 1860 Walker, then fifty-six, had married Jane Hart (who was exactly half his age), and their only child, Eadith Campbell Walker, was born 1861. In 1886 Eadith's father died, leaving her - at 25 - an extremely wealthy woman. Eadith lived alone at Yaralla. Although she never married, ' alone' is not the exact word. Prior to World War 1, she had 25 servants and employees, including a butler, nine maids, cooks, laundresses, chauffeurs, four gardeners, poultry- and dairymen, and a housekeeper of many years, the redoubtable Mrs Fanny Fairless. There was also an engineer to look after the complex and extensive grounds, gardens, power and water provisions.

Eadith was an aloof, private person - in some ways a recluse - not often moving beyond the estate except for a few overseas trips. But the estate was a lively place. There were large numbers of visitors, including the powerful and wealthy, regal and vice-regal personages and leading political figures. The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII and subsequently Duke of Windsor, spent a week at Yaralla in 1921. Knowing that he enjoyed playing squash, Eadith had a court built for his visit. Possibly NSW's first squash court, it still stands. She often gave lavish balls and parties, especially for children and charities. Guests arriving by charter ferry were met by a band playing on the wharf. At children's parties, razzle-dazzles and slippery chutes were set up in the grounds. Children pulled open giant bonbons suspended from a tree which showered them with gifts. A Sesame Street-like 'blue bird of happiness' might appear and lead them in a 'search for happiness' (i.e. more presents). Other parties featured string orchestras playing on the verandahs, shooting, croquet, tennis.