On Friday evening, November 27, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of the refurbished West End croquet club following many years of dedicated community work and fund raising.
The following history of the Club was provided by Tim Quinn who together with Mary Maher, long time members of the Committee of West End Community House, led the croquet club hall project over the six years from 2009 to 2015, including the conduct of major fund raising campaigns in the local community.
A HISTORY OF THE CROQUET CLUB COMMUNITY HALL PROJECT IN MUSGRAVE PARK.
- The South Brisbane Croquet Club was started in 1902 by Josephine Papi and other locals.
- The Club finished up in the early 2000’s and then for some years Croquet Queensland had the place.
- In 2009 the City Council granted a lease to West End Community House (WECH), now Community Plus+, and in 2014 extended it for a further 10 years.
- WECH decided to renovate the small, existing 1957 building as a fully accessible community space. A six year journey then followed involving the raising of $270 000 for major building work.
- The required works included opening up the small building, the removal of asbestos, levelling the floor, construction of a large roofed deck with broad seating stairs leading down to the lawn, the provision of disabled access car parking and a universal access ramp to the building. Heritage, environmental and sustainability issues also had to be addressed.
- The building work was carried out by Ken Ittensohn Constructions in the first half of 2015.
- The venue is being well used, having already been hired out to local community groups for three months before the official opening on Friday 27 November 2015.
- Between 2010 and 2012 some 42 local individuals, groups and companies had donated almost $100 000 to the 40K’s in 40 Days Campaign, run over three years. $1000 was a common donation, often given each year. This enabled a serious commitment to be made to the required works.
- A Development Application was lodged with Council involving hundreds of hours of pro bono work before, during and after Council’s rather slow approval of the DA.
- Local professionals who carried out major pro bono work were Don Marshall and Andrew McKenzie, architects responsible for design from ThomsonAdsett, Peter Marquis-Kyle with heritage advice, Michael McKinnon on landscape architecture, and Megan Traynor-Boyland with project management.
- Special mention must be made of Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), later Jacobs. A committed team raised large sums of money for the project and devoted hundreds of pro bono hours to detailed planning and engineering work. Graeme Smyth provided very great assistance during the construction.
- In 2012 the Annual Meeting of SKM raised $25 000 for the project giving the project further financial security to proceed. Special assistance was also provided with graphics and publicity.
- Grants totaling $75 000, targeted towards sustainability and universal access issues, were received from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund and Brisbane City Council.
- In 2005 the final fund raising effort was launched. Pledge A Plank involved the sale of wooden planks in the access ramp engraved with names or messages. By opening night some 110 planks raising $25 000 had been sold to local individuals, families, groups, streets and businesses. Special thanks to local residents Norma Morgan and John Ransley for their generous support. The success of the Pledge A Plank campaign enabled the works to be completed and the venue to be available.
- Thanks to many locals whose support of fundraising covered 80% of the money required. The generous financial support of Jackie Trad, Terri Butler and Cr Helen Abrahams is acknowledged.
- Councillor Abrahams was with the project from start to finish, contributing freely with her time, finding extra resources, liaising with Council and solving problems along the way.
- Many other locals provided valuable assistance along the journey with the project including Joe Hurley, Robert Allan, Steve Capelin, Clarence Fraser, Brenton Thomas, Annette Moroney and David Howie.
- This year Mary Maher set up and chaired an energetic fundraising committee, consisting of Tim Quinn, Marilyn Trad (who also organized the brilliant opening night), Natasha Mulcahy, Aphro Nichles, Judith John, Jason Grant and Jim Gleeson. This committee steered the recent, highly successful, Pledge A Plank campaign.
Photo gallery below of the Opening Night by Jan Bowman – if you have any photos to add to the gallery, send them in. Click on any image to scroll through the gallery.