On Saturday 26th November, Hervey Bay Mallet Sports Club organised a special celebration at their wonderful venue which has four, full croquet lawns. Across the road from the local Primary School and a little over a kilometre from the main Esplanade and sea front, the Club is very centrally located. The hard working committee had arranged five marquees with plenty of tables and chairs so the planned BBQ meal that evening would be memorable.
The special celebration was in honour of the “switching on” of the new lighting system for two of the lawns. The days of preparation for this event followed months of work after receiving the excellent news that the Club would receive a substantial amount of money from the Community Gambling Fund.
To fully utilise the lawns once lighting was available the committee considered that Gateball was a very good mallet sport to introduce. So, Bruce McAlister, the QLD Director of Gateball was involved with the plans to demonstrate the game. Players from Southport Croquet Club were invited to attend and were joined by two from Tamborine Mountain. Two courts were set out and all was ready but nature intervened. Rain!!! But that did not mean things were called off.
Although a series of thunderstorms arrived after lunch and rain fell during the rest of the day, the people who joined in to celebrate had a happy time. There was a very tasty afternoon tea. The official switching on was carried out by the local M.P., Mr. Ted Sorensen. Two games of gateball was played that afternoon and evening. But none of the planned fun games could go ahead nor the games of golf croquet.
A decision was made to return the next morning to have a BBQ breakfast so once again players enjoyed two games of Gateball as well as Golf Croquet. Visitors came from Wynnum and Point Lookout in Maryborough. In bright sunshine, we all had a most enjoyable time discovering the fun of playing Gateball in dry conditions. All of the participants were so welcoming and enthusiastic, it was a shame to have to leave. Hervey Bay MSC welcomes visitors and we found a very good atmosphere within the club. I am hopeful that Gateball will be played here in the years to come because the players did find the game very interesting and with plenty of challenges.
Thanks to John Stokes for most of the photos. John is from Pt. Lookout CC, second from the left in the photo above.