The opening of croquet and bowling clubs in Avondale, 1912

(Waitemata News, 24 October 1912)



Some months ago some Avondale ladies who considered the western suburb lacking in the facilities provided by other suburbs in the matter of outdoor amusements for the gentler sex, met and discussed the advisability of initiating a croquet club.

The meeting was unanimously in favour and enthusiasm was instantly aroused on it becoming known that the project was afoot. A strong committee was formed and matters were soon in training for a tangible result. Fortunately, the usual difficulty in such an undertaking, the securing of a suitable piece of ground, had not to be faced, for the Avondale Jockey Club with its usual generosity, placed its beautiful lawn at the disposal free of cost. With such a good start it was quite a simple matter to find funds for levelling up, rolling, and  in other ways bringing it into shape, which being satisfactorily concluded, invitations were issued for an "At Home" to celebrate the formal opening of the green. This eventuated on October 16th. In addition to a large number of local residents, representatives of quite a number of other croquet clubs were present, including Rocky Nook, Carlton, Otahuhu, Ponsonby, Mt Eden, and etc. In all, fully 160 ladies were present, dressed in their best "bibs and tuckers," and with the Avondale Orchestra in attendance to liven up matters, there was quite a brilliant function.

In the unavoidable absence of Mr. H. Hayr, secretary of the Jockey Club, who is also vice-president of the Croquet Club, the duties of declaring the green "open" were delegated to Mr. Johnston, a very old resident of Avondale, who, in a brief speech expressed his pleasure at the satisfactory conclusion of the committee's effort, in starting the ball rolling, and facetiously expressed the hope that the ladies of Avondale would not now spend all their time scrubbing pots and pans, but devote a portion of their lives to the health-giving occupation of outdoor exercise, such as he felt sure croquet would prove to be. Waxing prophetic and casting his eyes over the surrounding scene in the distance he could see the Whau Creek, and he told the ladies that in his mind he could see big ships bearing the commerce of the world wending their way up that creek when the Waitemata-Manukau Canal was an accomplished undertaking, and years hence the ladies whilst playing croquet on that beautiful lawn would see the realisation of his vision. More than passing mention must be made of the "spread" provided for the visitors under the able superintendence of Mrs. Rogers and a band of willing workers. The large stewards' room was beautifully decorated, and a beautiful supply of the eatables and drinkables dear to the ladies' hearts (and men) was on hand, and the courteous attention given by these ladies to their visitors was very much appreciated, they being unremitting in their attention to the inner man, or rather, inner lady. Nor must be omitted a meed of praise to the secretary of the club, Mrs. Wyles, to whose efforts in no small measure the successful launching of the Avondale Croquet Club is due.

(Waitemata News, 7 November 1912)



The adjourned meeting of enthusiasts was held last week, Mr. J Potter being chairman. The site committee recommended the purchase of Mr. Nesbitt's one and a-quarter acre section with a frontage of 70ft to Great North Road for 375. It is seven minutes from the station, water is available, and the soil good and fairly level. The whole amount could remain at 5 per cent, for five years.

The minutes of first meeting were read for the information of new members, and between 40 and 50 signed the two guinea guarantee. On the motion of Messrs. Kneebone and Darrow, it was decided to secure the ground for the club, and to embrace tennis and croquet also.

The ladies croquet club of 40 members had notified willingness to join in if a ground were found them. The following officers were elected: Patron, Mr. J. Bollard; president, Mr. J. Potter; vice-presidents, Mr. Johnston and Mr Allely; hon. secretary, Mr. Darrow; hon. treasurer, Mr. Moon; green superintendant, Mr. Nesbitt.

Resolved that 1 debentures bearing 5 per cent be issued to raise funds, and 180 were promptly taken in hand at once, so that the green shall be available next year. The president, secretary, and treasurer are to confer with Mr. Wyman, the club's solicitor, about the drawing of the necessary mortgage for the site property.


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