Sunnyside Croquet Club celebrates 80 years

Sunnyside Croquet Club 80 years
Dorothy Collishaw, 98, recalls the sunny days and great memories playing croquet at Sunnyside Croquet Club.

Sunnyside Croquet Club in Bundaberg achieved its 80th anniversary today with members past and present celebrating and reminiscing.

Memories of a game touted as a lady’s sport flood back to 98-year-old Dorothy Collishaw.

Dorothy is not only a past croquet player and president of the club, but also a champion on the green, who recalls going to several tournaments around Queensland.

After playing croquet for at least 55 years it was no wonder she gained the status of legend at Sunnyside Croquet Club.

Dorothy said she took up the sport to follow in the footsteps of her mother Anne Whittred and grandmother Amelia Whittred, both of whom played at Sunnyside Croquet during their time.

“When I played we wore all white dresses or skirts and shirts,” Dorothy said.

“I used to go away and play in the tournaments every year and sometimes I won!

“I played with my mother when I was in my twenties at Maryborough.

“It is a wonderful game to play – I also played with my late husband Len and have wonderful memories.”

Dorothy, who was Sunnyside Croquet Club president in 1989, said a lot of concentration went into the game of croquet.

“You have to have your head down and eye always on the ball,” she said.

“A good eye and a steady hand are needed to play croquet.

“It was white uniforms when I played, and they use to get so dirty – the new uniforms are very nice.

“I have a lot of happy memories from Sunnyside Croquet Club and today’s celebration is just marvellous; I was thrilled to be invited back today.”

Sunnyside Croquet Club 80 years
Sunnyside Croquet Club's longest serving member Joyce Cross and president Rae Canniffe enjoy the 80 birthday celebrations.

Eight decades of history at Sunnyside Croquet Club

Touted as a game for the ladies it was 80 years ago Sunnyside Croquet opened its greens at Thompson Park on Walker St, and although members have come and gone the sport is as strong as ever.

Sunnyside Croquet secretary Carol Russell said croquet was played socially on Bundaberg on Barolin Street as early as 1920s, with Mrs Cattermull opening the Sunnyside Croquet Club in 1939.

Club member Joyce Cross believed the Sunnyside name branched from the name of a house that was owned by a Mrs Carnie, as it was where the original game was played.

Sunnyside Croquet Club president Rae Canniffe said it was a great achievement for the club to be still standing. She said it had been through the time of war and days of ups and downs of the sport.

“The world of croquet is always changing and it’s amazing we have been able to adapt and change with it,” Rae said.

“As the world is changing and people’s expectations are changing, croquet is changing too.

“To be successful you have to change with the world, and I think we have done that by modifying our game.”

Rae said there was now three types of croquet played at Sunnyside as it was vital to move with the times.

“We are wise enough to have three games, when Joyce started there was only the game of association, now we have association, golf and ricochet all played here,” she said.

As the longest serving member Joyce said it a long time to learn the different games, but she enjoyed every aspect of the sport.

Croquet a game of skill and exercise

One of the Sunnyside Croquet Club's coaches Brian Walsh said the game of croquet was strategic and it took a lot of brain power to come out a champion.

“You can play singles or doubles with the mallet, balls and hoops,” Brian explained.

“It’s really a game of malice, but it all stays on the court at the end of the game.

“Once you walk off the court you are all friends again!”

Rae said it was a great game to keep your fitness levels up and would easily take more than 10,000 steps on one afternoon.

“We are always after more members, young or old, everyone is welcome,” Rae said.

Sunnyside Croquet Club 80 years
Joyce Cross, Cr Judy Peters, Rae Canniffe, Ian Johnson and Mayor Jack Dempsey at Sunnyside Croquet's 80th birthday

Congratulations Sunnyside Croquet Club

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the club on reaching such a significant milestone of 80 years.

“There is a lot of great etiquette on the greens as Sunnyside Croquet Club celebrates their 80th birthday,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“With everyone young at heart, it’s just an inspiration to the community.

“Everybody sees them out here playing on the greens during the week and it really inspires a lot of people to participate and they are still wanting more members, so come down and join in!”

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