Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987

Waihi's Mayor and Patron of the Waihi Croquet club, Mr. O. J. Morgan, planted a kauri tree in the gardened area of the Waihi Croquet lawns to mark the 75th anniversary of the club.

Mr. Morgan said that he was pleased to attend the opening of the club each year. When it first opened in 1911, he recalled that the local borough council had given the sport every encouragement even to supplying the first set of hoops and maintaining the lawns for many years. Mr. Morgan was accompanied by the Mayoress, Mrs. Rosemary Morgan, who hit the first ball of the season successfully through the hoop.

The lawns were situated in a picturesque position beneath the shadow of Martha Hill, the reason for Waihi's history, said Mr. Morgan. In the mining days the players heard the winding machinery and the clatter and screaming whistle of the rake, he said. When the mine closed in 1952 it was thought the town would not survive but electronics had taken over. Today this industry had closed down in Waihi, but Mr. Morgan said that Waihi was a town which always survived. The croquet club survived by volunteers and he hoped it would continue to give service to the community for the next 75 years.

The following week croquet was played 1911 style by Waihi members who dressed in the style of the period to suit the occasion. Pride of place at afternoon tea was a beautiful iced cake made by present member Mrs. Margaret Wells and cut by two past members, Mesdames L. B. Clark and I. Kerr. Immediate past president, Mr. C. Slaven [Slevin ? – E], spoke of the club's achievements and improvements made over the years. Unfortunately, the earliest minute books had been lost through the passage of time.

In the evening, some 50 players and invited guests met for an informal dinner at the Waihi R.S.A. Club where the President, Mrs. A. Dean welcomed guests including Mrs. E. Dunstan of Paeroa who had learned her croquet at Waihi. Patron, Mr. O.J. Morgan, proposed the toast to the club and traced the history of croquet in Waihi when quite a few homes had their own lawns including his own mother's which he had to keep cut. Life member, Mrs. J. Lambert replied thanking Mr. Morgan for his kindness to the club at all times.

According to the Waihi Diamond Jubilee book, the Council gave the Club the use of the eastern portion of the tennis courts for the start of the 1911 season. Bowlers' wives were, in the main, the foundation members. The first president was Mrs. Fisk and Mrs. Smith first secretary. Membership was good and the club had a waiting list. A good standard of play was maintained over the years with Mrs. S. Fallwell being a N.Z. Council Referee and district Referee for the Thames Valley. Another Waihi player, Mrs. Edna Hight (nee Hollis) served as vice President and then President of the N.Z. Council from 1970-80 and was a Life Member of the Dominion Council. Mrs. Joan Lambert of Waihi is presently the most senior player in the Thames Valley and was for some time Editor of the N.Z. Croquet Journal.

CROQUET... 1911 STYLE!

Croquet 1911 style.

Croquet 1911 style.

From left: May Aitkenhead, Albert Clark, Joan Lambert and Gwen and Aubrey Crabtree.

Croquet in Waihi
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987
Croquet 1911 style.