Joy Hughes and Marg Mitchell have a game of croquet at Murwillumbah Croquet Club.
Joy Hughes and Marg Mitchell have a game of croquet at Murwillumbah Croquet Club. Blainey Woodham

Croquet club celebrates 85 years

MURWILLUMBAH Croquet club celebrates its 85th birthday tomorrow with a sausage sizzle, coaching session and a round of social games.

And everyone is welcome to join in the festivities which begin at 3pm.

Former long-time secretary Laurel Mann, says all club members are looking forward to celebrating the occasion and perhaps introducing new people to the ancient game.

Croquet has been traced back to the 1300's. Originating in France, the game was called "paille-maille" which means ball-mallet.

The first known mallet and ball games were played in England and Europe during the middle ages; one game known as "Pall Mall" was played in London and went on to lend its name to the well known street.

These games usually involved hitting a single ball through very wide hoops.

In the early 17th Century, a French doctor changed the rules of paille-maille and called the new game, "Croquet" after the crooked stick used to hit the balls through the wickets.

The Murwillumbah club was formed in 1927 but the game had been extremely popular in the district thanks to the enthusiasm of local socialite Mrs Babe Elliot.

Mrs Elliot established a croquet court in the grounds of her Myrtle St, Murwillumbah home and organised regular games which became part and parcel of the Murwillumbah social scene.

Such was the game's popularity, a club was formed in 1927 thanks to the co-operation of the Murwillumbah Bowls Club which permitted the fledgling croquet club to use one of its disused tennis courts.

"Our club built a clubhouse on the site on the understanding that if we did eventually find our own home, we could relocate the building," said Laurel Mann.

This occurred in 1946 when Tweed Shire Council not only gave the club a new home base at Knox Park but also covered the costs of relocating the clubhouse.

Down the years player numbers have on occasions numbered close to 50 but at the moment it has 22 active members who get together each Sunday at 3pm for social games.

If you are interested in learning more about this intriguing sport, either join the members on Sunday afternoon or give Margaret (02 6672 1870) or Laurel (02 6672 3155) a call.

 

History

CROQUET has been traced back to the 1300s.

These games usually involved hitting a single ball through very wide hoops.

In the early 17th century a French doctor changed the rules of paille-maille and called the new game, "croquet" after the crooked stick used to hit the balls.

Croquet became popular throughout the British Empire. It gained such tremendous popularity that an association was formed and formal rules were laid down in 1868.

But this popularity was to be short-lived. Once the game of tennis was introduced to England most of the croquet fields were turned into tennis courts.

Even so, croquet has survived as a sport and is gaining in popularity today as a rather high class sport on the level of badminton.



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