50 years devoted to Victoria Park

LEITH'S SERVICE HONOURED: Andrew Stacey, right, hands Leith Cooper a plaque recognising his 50 years' service with Victoria Park.

LEITH'S SERVICE HONOURED: Andrew Stacey, right, hands Leith Cooper a plaque recognising his 50 years' service with Victoria Park.

Leith Cooper has been instrumental in the formation and maintenance of the prestigious Victoria Park in Jamestown and he has been awarded for his efforts, receiving a plaque recognising his 50 years of service. 

Victoria Park, established as Victoria Park Trust in 1967, was able to change the ways of both summer and winter sports by providing established and improved facilities. 

With the Jamestown oval, resembling a paddock, the community were pushing to have their oval turfed. 

During the winter, the oval was bearable, but throughout the summer, it was dry and dusty and not enjoyable to play on. 

Leith was a well known cricketer at the time and would play inter association matches in Spalding and Orroroo; he thoroughly enjoyed the turfed ovals and thus saw the need for Jamestown to improve their facilities. 

The laying of the turf, saw another issue arise, that being the irrigation that was going to keep the oval green all year round. 

Leith says that a large achievement for himself and the team he worked with was being able to source irrigation for the oval, from Belalie Creek.

Victoria Park relied on funding and as it came through the local bingo, the reality of using mains water for irrigation was not possible. 

The facility has relied upon grants and rental returns and as the money has appeared, so has more features. 

In addition to the oval, Leith was involved in the relocation of the netball competition, from playing on dirt courts, to now hard courts. 

Over the five decades of Victoria Park, a lot has changed and Leith says that it is now a major sporting complex being maintained to an ever developing level. 

“It is generally operated on a good basis, just like a metropolitan area, all bodies work well together for the benefit of the community”, Leith said. 

Most recently, the Big Shed has seen improvements that is continuously adding to the hard work laid by Leith and his team in the earlier years. 

A canteen has been added to the big shed and there is a possibility that extra change rooms will too be added.