89-year-old Doris Jeffrey is the oldest member at the Ipswich Croquet Club, to be upgraded next year.
89-year-old Doris Jeffrey is the oldest member at the Ipswich Croquet Club, to be upgraded next year. Sarah Harvey

Croquet fans go cock a hoop

PERCHED up on the hill overlooking Queens Park, the Ipswich Croquet Club is about as pretty a postcard shot as you'll find anywhere in the city.

The 43-member club, now 110 years old, is a relic of Ipswich's early sporting days, with hundreds of players come and gone featured on honour boards and photographs.

There's also the timber clubhouse, built in the early 1930s and still standing today, which has the kind of robust charm that has resulted in it being nationally recognised.

It is exactly this historical significance that Ipswich City Council will try to preserve when the croquet club undergoes a significant facelift.

Parks and Sport chairman David Morrison said the work would be done over a delicate two-year process to ensure the club didn't lose its charm.

Construction works, which are expected to include the restumping of the council-owned building, may begin as early as 2013.

The building also requires a new kitchenette, toilets and various alterations to increase access for people with disabilities.

"Work will also be undertaken to improve access to the building and to the playing surface," Cr Morrison said.

"The external walls, roofs, windows and doors are in need of a repaint too."

Ipswich Croquet Club was formed in May, 1902, with 42 members.

An extra court was added in 1904 and a third some time later, with architect Will Haenke designing the clubhouse in 1933.

Club president Daphne Savage - a 32-year veteran of Ipswich croquet - said local players took great pleasure in being part of such an historic venue.

"We have always been proud of our heritage," she said.

At just a shade under 90, Doris Jeffrey is the oldest member and has been at the club for 28 years.

"I love croquet and I love this club - all the members are wonderful people," she said.

Council is preparing to put out a call for tenders, with a contractor to be chosen by the end of November this year.



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