29 April 2022

Heritage-listed Canberra Croquet Club receives $420,000 to upgrade facilities

| Lottie Twyford
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minister for education Yvette Berry with members of the croquet club

Minister for Education Yvette Berry with Canberra Croquet Club vice-president Peter Dale (left) and current president Greg Diprose (right). Photo: Lottie Twyford.

An almost half-a-million-dollar grant will help renovate the heritage-listed Canberra Croquet Club in Yarralumla.

The $410,000 funding injection from the ACT Government will go towards building new toilets, female-friendly facilities, disability access and completing storage and safety improvements.

They will replace the 94-year-old club’s one toilet, lack of disabled access to the clubhouse, minimal storage space and asbestos in its interior walls.

The grant represents the largest funding administered through the ACT Government’s Capital Assistance Program (CAP), which falls under the 2022 Sport and Recreation Grants Program.

A $250,000 grant was awarded to Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union and Sports Club to convert its bowling greens to synthetic. All other grants awarded were less than $60,000.

Yvette Berry on croquet lawn

Minister for Education Yvette Berry says the Yarralumla club’s renovations will be meaningful to many community members. Photo: ACT Government.

Minister for Education Yvette Berry said the Yarralumla club’s heritage-listing had contributed to the expense.

“The challenges here are around meeting the National Capital Authority (NCA) requirements and the Heritage ACT requirements are significant,” she said.

“This is one of the oldest sports clubs in Canberra, if not the oldest, and so it does require significantly more funding to address the [above] requirements.

“It is more expensive because [of this].”

Ms Berry said she understood the club had faced some challenges when looking to expand, but had worked closely with the NCA to overcome them.

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She said the money spent would provide widespread community benefit.

“This is a heritage-listed site in the ACT … [the government is] providing that funding for a site that is meaningful to so many in the community,” Ms Berry said.

Originally women’s only, the croquet club allowed men to join in 1976. Rules to initially prohibit beer drinking on the premises have also been relaxed.

President Greg Diprose said the club – growing in popularity – boasted 120 members, although it had expanded to 138 at its peak. Members range in age from 16 to their 90s.

The club has long harboured ambitions of expanding. But much of the heritage-listed area surrounding the site – including trees – has made this difficult.

Each of the three lawns can only comfortably accommodate 25 players.

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Mr Diprose said the club was looking at opportunities for vacant land around Canberra, including in Belconnen and Watson.

“It’s a very active, thriving club,” he said.

It’s even home to the world’s current number one-ranked croquet player – Robert Fletcher.

Construction will soon begin on the extension, which is likely to take about five months to complete.

Mr Diprose said the improvements provided further drawcards for interstate players attending tournaments and groups who hired the popular facilities for parties.

He said the new extension would comply with all requirements set out by the NCA and the ACT’s Heritage Act.

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Any surprises the ACT government has been handing out funding to the fancy people of the Yarralumla Croquet club, the Weston Creek Tennis club and the lawn bowls club.

This current ACT government was very happy to sell off to property developers the outdoor free basketball courts in Kambah that my son and his mates used to regularly use. Happy to sell of the school gym that ran the free after school kids sport. They were happy to force the closure of the M Powerdome in southern Tuggeranong by applying zoning restrictions to a dirt car park, whilst allowing property developer exemptions for their labourers to park illegally during other build processes.

Lots of love and funding for the connected people who run the wealthy peoples sports. But it’s very easy to close and sell off the sporting facilities in the lower socioeconomic areas who don’t have connected folk pushing their barrows to the politicians.

Canberrans often bag the Libs for their funding and support of the connected people and businesses (and rightly so) but they don’t say boo when the local Labor party do exactly the same thing.

Half a million for a club with probably >10 members?!
“Heritage listed” it is just a shed on the front lawn of the Hyatt for flips sake, who cares?!
Meanwhile in Woden no swimming pool for children, Yvette sure has her finger on the pulse.
At what point will people refuse to pay their rates, such waste in every project announced.

Capital Retro2:23 pm 01 May 22

GWS get nearly twice that amount every time they turn up at Manuka and play a game of AFL, a code that has not many followers in Canberra.

I think croquet would be more exciting than AFL.

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