It's a sporting life in Ipswich

LOOKING BACK: A 1920s-era photo taken at the Ipswich Croquet Club.
LOOKING BACK: A 1920s-era photo taken at the Ipswich Croquet Club.


UNTIL 1918, bowls were made solely of wood (lignum vitae) and in fact were called "woods”.

Since then the rubber bowl and the plastic bowl have been developed. The advantage of the composite bowl is that it is not affected by climatic conditions.

In March 1968, the Australian Bowling Council altered the law relating to permissible maximum weigh of bowls.

The law now allows a maximum weight of 8.3kg for any size bowl, but manufacturers in Australia are not making bowls of all sizes in the maximum weight.

The purpose of the amending to the law regarding weight of bowls was to minimise the advantage gained by a bowler with a big hand capable of holding a large and consequently heavier bowls.

However, manufacturers, for some unknown reason, are not making "heavyweight” bowls in the smaller sizes and consequently players with very small hands are still suffering the same disadvantage as existed prior to the amendment.

The advantage of the heavier weight in a bowl is obvious - it is less affected by wind or irregularities of the green.

(QT June 2, 1967)


It was reported in the Queensland Times October 3, 1951, that for the second successive year, Ipswich Christian Brothers college won the T.C. Beirne Shield at the Metropolitan Catholic Schools Athletic Carnival on Saturday, October 1, 1951.

The Beirne Shield was awarded on the aggregate for the sections from 10 to 14 years.

It was won by this college in 1950 by one point, but his year's (1951) boys increased their margin to 10 points.

They gained points in 11 out of 14 events.

Among those who won sections were K. Grayson, B. McGuire, P. Scott and others with second or third placings were B. McMillan, N McDonald, R. Pyle and T. McMillan.


Charlie Murphy reported in March 1950 that an international series he was playing with a Londoner in the United Kingdom was off. The pair agreed to play 12 games of draughts by air mail.

After nine months, they got through only four games when the Englishmen gave it away. Charlie had won one of the four games and the other three were drawn.


The Ipswich Croquet Club celebrated its 85th anniversary and its annual party day in August 1987.

The original grounds in Queens Park were officially opened on July 26, 1902, by the-then police magistrate Mr H.T. MacFarlane. The sport became so popular that by November 1902 membership rose to 80 and in 1932 a third lawn was laid.

Then, in 1933, a new club house was built on the site of the original building.


Boxing Day, 1848, in Ipswich was a sport day - mainly horse-racing.

The first race of the day was won by James England's horse, the prize being a silver watch. Martin Byrne's horse, Doctor, although lame, won the second race the prize a five-guinea saddle.

On that day, in one of the afternoon races, a Mr Turner, known as Scotchie the Sawyer. rode his own horse but had an accident when the horse ran into a tree.

"Kate” which ran at such a pace that the other riders decided that it was hopeless to try and win.

The race meeting of 1848 did not become an annual event as intended, so a meeting was held in the Queens Arms Hotel on January 19, 1850.

It was decided to hold an annual meeting for the first time on Tuesday, June 11, 1850.


Ipswich can rightly lay claim to being one of the founding fathers of soccer in Queensland, with the first reported match between Rovers of Bundamba and the Queenslanders of Ipswich as it was played in 1886.

Topics:  beryl johnston history times past

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