Players flock to Clare's gala croquet day

Clare Croquet club held its Annual Singles Gala with players from throughout the Mid North attending. 

Gala days are great fun and players enjoy the relaxed events when there are lots of laughs, raffles and shared morning and afternoon teas. 

They provide a chance for people to catch up with other players in a social way while playing the sport they love.

Clare Croquet Club is delighted to have achieved its 100th anniversary. 

The club encourages people to come to watch its games and  encourages potential new members. The club has a very capable coach who is willing to share her knowledge with others

The Clare Croquet turns 100 this year.  The first croquet played in Clare was on a private court, owned by Mrs. E. S. Stacy. 

Those who took part became so keen on the game that it was agreed that a Croquet club be formed in the town.

With this end in view , a meeting was called for September 19th 1912 in the Mayor’s Parlour.

The founder of the club, Miss Margaret Drummond-Smith was elected Secretary-Captain.

Before the end of 1922 there were 65 members of the croquet club. Many trophies were played for each year, and social matches were played with clubs in Kapunda, Burra, Riverton, Balaklava, Jamestown, Blyth, Tarlee, Port Pirie, Auburn, Snowtown and Mintaro. 

In 1934, the first South Australian Croquet Association Country Carnival was held in Adelaide. Clare Croquet Club sent a team consisting of Mesdames J. D. Gilchrist, E.B. Roberts, L.A. Davies and C. Pink.  Mesdames J.D. Gilchrist and E.B. Roberts won the B Grade Championship.

In 1957, Clare joined with Blyth, Snowtown and Brinkworth, Yacka and Mundoora to form the Broughton Croquet Association. An inter-association match was played annually against the North Western Association.

In 1959, the Upper Wakefield Association was formed by Watervale, Auburn, Eudunda and Balaklava and Clare was invited to enter a team. Thus the Clare Club members played in two Associations.

In 1969, the Broughton Croquet Association closed as most clubs in the Association closed down. Clare entered two more teams in the Upper Wakefield Association making a total of four teams in this Association.

1970–1979 The Croquet Club were offered land in Gleeson Street by Paul Kuss.  Members voted on advice from Councillor Neil Jones and began relocating from the Bowling Club during this time. 

 In 1973, work on new courts in Glee-son Street began. A railway iron was tied behind Paul Kuss’s and Maurie Noble’s tractors, with a row of workers standing on the iron bar to level the ground. Paul also dug all the trenches for the water pipes and laid the pipes. The club maintained the court at the Bowling Club whilst working on the new courts.

In 1976, Mr. C.  (Snow) Sims donated a small shed to house equipment whilst the Clubhouse was built. Play on the new courts started with the opening of the season with afternoon tea served under the big pine tree from Thermos flasks and baskets.

Names familiar to many locals worked on the new clubhouse. These included Rex Williams, Alva Raymond, Trevor Sims, Paul Kuss, Alex Jankus, Brian Sims, Ray Pawelski, K. Helbig, Ray Gilbert, Paul and Jeff Wallman, Ron Ness, Duncan McKendrick, Colin Whiteman, Bill Venning, Ken Winkler, Lou Richardson, Paul and Glen Partridge. Some were paid for their involvement. 

In 1979, The official opening of the Courts and Clubhouse was held on  November 11, 1979. President Iris Fisher welcomed guests. 

A granite plaque made and donated by Stephen Pearse commemorating opening day was unveiled by Lois Hickling the club’s delegate to SACA. The Honour Board was made and donated by the Hicklings and unveiled by Tom Hickling.

Watch The Flinders News for more on the centenary history

MAJOR EVENT...Rob Stevens, of Clare Croquet Club, lines up a shot during the club’s Annual Singles Gala which was an overwhelming success.

MAJOR EVENT...Rob Stevens, of Clare Croquet Club, lines up a shot during the club’s Annual Singles Gala which was an overwhelming success.

BIG ATTRACTION...The Clare Croquet Club’s Annual Singles Gala was a big attraction for players throughout the Mid North.

BIG ATTRACTION...The Clare Croquet Club’s Annual Singles Gala was a big attraction for players throughout the Mid North.

CONCENTRATION...Judy Lipsett, of the Port Wakefield club, is a picture of concentration as she lines up a shot at the gala day at Clare.

CONCENTRATION...Judy Lipsett, of the Port Wakefield club, is a picture of concentration as she lines up a shot at the gala day at Clare.