Croquet club celebrates centenary with seniors

Croquet centenary: Kyabram Croquet Club president Val Mulholland is guiding the group to its 100th anniversary celebration on October 31.

Kyabram Croquet Club will swing the doors of the Church St club open during Seniors Citizens Week as part of its centenary celebrations.

A morning session is being planned for Tuesday, October 4, from 8.30am, for any senior citizens from the region to try their hand at the sport.

Club president Val Mulholland said people could play for 20 minutes, or two hours, then could enjoy the company of members and one another for a morning tea.

“It is a wonderful form of mental and physical exercise, nothing is involved other than turning up in casual clothes and with closed shoes,” she said.

Ms Mulholland, who watched over the all-year-around play at the club, started playing croquet after she retired from golf at the Parkland club as an 80-year-old.

Now 86, she said club members participated in everything from social events to pennant competition.

Kyabram Croquet Club will turn 100 years old on October 31, that was when the first meeting was staged with the intention of forming the club.

There will be invitations sent to neighboring clubs Euroa, Shepparton, Numurkah, Shepparton, Rich River and others, inviting them to be represented at the celebration.

Tatura, Shepparton and Kyabram were the three clubs that banded together to form the Goulburn Valley Croquet Association.

Ms Mulholland said the club had received wonderful support, and sponsorship, from the town for a number of years.

“It (the croquet club) has remained on the same site for the entire 100 years and has never gone into recess, not even during war time,” she said.

The 1904 summer Olympic sport has seen some of Kyabram’s most famous names join as members during the years, including names such as Wignall, Vary, Dawes, Lancaster and McMaster Smith.

Jenny Williams was secretary for 20 years and life members include Queenie Dixon, Dorothy Austin and Mavis Maxwell, along with Orm and Noelene Cook, Ethel James, Fred DeRooze and Peg Wingate.

“The most well-known ladies and gentlemen from the area were members of the club in the past,” Ms Mulholland said

The club is housed in its third clubhouse, which was opened in November 1989 by then Mayor Cr Clive Toms.

The club has prepared a record of its 100 years to mark the centenary, but is hopeful of including some people who were connected to the club previously in the event.

“We are in the process of trying to find descendants of people who were involved with the club at some time in its early stages,” Ms Mulholland said

Golf croquet is played at the Kyabram club, a faster version of the game that doesn’t require players sitting for extended periods on the sidelines — as can be the case with association croquet.

“We find the members enjoy golf croquet more,” she said.

It involves four colored balls, where blue and black play against red and yellow balls and 13 continuous hoops are completed by players.

The player who wins the most hoops wins the game.

Kyabram currently has one pennant team competing in the Goulburn Valley competition, which will compete in the finals in November.

The club’s twilight social competition starts on Tuesdays, under lights, in November. Anyone is invited to come and join in croquet at these evenings.

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