Dubbo's croquet club is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary in September.
It is planning festivities to mark the occasion on September 11.
In the lead-up to the milestone the Daily Liberal is profiling some of the sport's keen players...
My name is Margaret Lewer and I have been playing croquet for about 25 years.
My mother Nella Bassingthwaighte was a very active member of the Dubbo Croquet Club in the
1950s, '60s and '70s.
She was a very keen player as well as holding the position of president, won many A grade tournaments and was awarded a life membership.
When the croquet club was established in 1921 membership was for "wives of businessmen,
graziers and professional men only".
ln the early years women always played the ball from the side not from between the legs as they do now.
This type of play would have been considered extremely disgusting at this time.
My earliest memories of Mum playing croquet was as a teenager and, being a normal teenager,
didn't take a lot of notice of her skill or contribution to the club.
At that stage, an annual Christmas party was organised and Mum being the character that she was, was left in charge of the entertainment.Croquet player Margaret Lewer
At that stage, an annual Christmas party was organised and Mum being the character that she was, was left in charge of the entertainment.
She was very adept at making up words to existing songs that were relevant to the members and situations at the time.
I have recollection of rehearsing with her, me on the piano and her plus three or four other volunteers singing and my daughter Lindy at the age of two dancing away to her ditties.
I remember the members at the time - it was much more formal than today with them referring
to each other by their surnames and title.
I remember Mrs Poole, Mrs Dorman, Miss Bewglass, Mrs Jones, Miss Trethowan, Mrs Hudson, Mrs Smith, Mrs Phillips to name a few.
Christian names were only used in informal settings.
There were no men playing at the time and men were not welcomed into the club until earlier this century.
The uniform at the time when Mum was playing was all white.
lt wasn't until some years later that a winter uniform was introduced - a grey skirt, stockings (at all times including heatwaves), brown shoes, white shirt and red cardigan.
I don't remember a time when players were on the lawn without a hat.
Association croquet was the only game played and intertown competitions were held between
Dubbo, Bathurst and Sydney.
Prizes were awarded, the competition fierce.Margaret Lewer
Prizes were awarded, the competition fierce.
Each club took a turn to host the competition, which took place over a period of three days.
My husband Don and I started playing in 1995 when I retired.
We learnt how to play association croquet as this was still the only game played at the time.
lt is a strategic game, with many strokes to be learnt and quite complicated to get your head around.
We started to travel across NSW, QLD and the rest of Australia in the early '8Os and played croquet whenever we got the chance.
lt was on one of these trips where Don was playing association croquet in a morning competition and got the socks beaten off him (which was a very unusual occurrence) when he was invited to have a game of golf croquet.
Serious croquet was played in the morning and the alternate fun and more social game - golf croquet - in the afternoon.
When we returned to Dubbo we suggested golf croquet be introduced and the rest is history.
Golf croquet is the most popular game today with association croquet taking a backwards step.
During the past 20 years both Don and I have been actively involved in the club and at times held
We have seen many people come and go, formed friendships, seen a change in venue and witnessed many changes in the game.