[Please note – information is under research, review and active draft]

MCC Time Machine – Use with caution!

1907 – Origins

It was in 1907 that the New Farm Bowling club was founded. The land was purchased from Mr J.N. McCallum, owner of the Cremorne Theatre and Mr. G. Muller, for £400. Both these gentlemen lived in Bowen Terrace. The land was sold on one condition – that it could be used as a sporting area. It was in this bowling area that croquet was actually started.

Emmie Cornelius (Merthyr Croquet Club, President) – 1982 Address to the Club – (QCA’s 50th Anniversary)

One of the two greens which has been prepared for the New Farm Bowling Club was officially opened yesterday afternoon. …

The greens are situated in one of the prettiest portions of New Farm, being on the Turner Estate, between Lower Bowen terrace and Brunswick Street. …

At the rear of the ground is a croquet lawn which was generously laid out by Mr. J.N McCallum and lent free of charge, to the club for a period of two years.

… Although the New Farm Club had not arranged a rink for ladies, they proposed forming a croquet club, and asked intending members to hand in their names to the secretary.

Tues 5 May 1908 New Farm Bowling Green. (The Brisbane Courier)

The opening of the New Farm Croquet Lawns took place yesterday afternoon. the ceremony was performed by Mr. J. N. McCallum. … The president (Mrs. E. Booker), who was hostess, received the guests at the entrance to the lawn. … The table decorations were beautifully carried out in the club’s colours … (cardinal and gold). A string band was in attendance, and played enjoyable selections.

Thu 18 March 1909OPENING OF NEW FARM CROQUET LAWNS. (The Brisbane Courier)
Original Club Colours (approx.)

[About games/tournaments played through to 1914]

1914 – New Farm Croquet Club

Fri 17 April 1914 – Official Opening of New Farm Croquet Club (Brisbane Courier)

Attr: Brisbane Courier (via Trove) – Sat 20 Jun 1914

Mrs Gasteen who was a daughter of Mr. G Muller and is a member of our club gave me the two old post cards she had. I have had a copy taken off them for the club. In one of these photos you will see that they were holding a day to raise funds for the soldiers in the 1914-18 war.

Emmie Cornelius (Merthyr Croquet Club, President) – 1982 Address to the Club – (QCA’s 50th Anniversary)
“New Farm Croquet Club” – 591 Lower Bowen Terrace – Original Site – 1921

[Postcard send off to Mrs Mark Harris by Ladies of the New Farm Croquet Club] (As seen in the Queenslander 26 Feb 1921)

Circa 1914 – New Farm Park

In the early 1800’s the low lying swamp land at the bottom of Brunswick Street and bordered by Sydney Street was filled using convict labour and a race track was built.  The location remained a favourite gambling haunt of the male members of the colonial community until the track was removed in 1913 along with the dense scrub growing in its centre.  This made way for a recreational park for the citizens of Brisbane and was named New Farm Park.

Peter Rogers (Club Historian)
New Farm Park – 1924 – Witness croquet lawns about to be born.
Attr: SLQ

1924 – Merthyr Croquet Club
@ New Farm Park

Attr: Brisbane Courier (via Trove) 28 July 1924

… For many years the clubs courts were situated alongside the New Farm bowling green, but owing to the bowlers resuming the land, the club disbanded for a time, and it was not until last year (1923) that a suitable area was procured in the park. …

27 July 1924 – GRAND OPENING

The flags were flying at the Merthyr croquet courts in New Farm Park on Saturday, when the Mayoress of Brisbane (Mrs. M. J Barry) officially opened the courts .. a beautiful bouquet tied with the club’s colours (blue and brown). …

Blue and Brown (approx.)
Aerial view of New Farm Park – c. 1925 – Croquet Lawns pictured in centre, left of ring road.
Attr: SLQ

1920 to ’30s – Inter-State Croquet
(a regular feature)

17 July 1927
Attr: Brisbane Courier 18 Jul 1927 (via Trove)
21 Jul 1928 – Brisbane Courier (via Trove)
1929 – Interstate Croquet Tournament
12 Dec 1931

1934 – Opening of New Pavilion

NEW PAVILION OPENED – Merthyr Croquet Club
Telegraph (Brisbane) – 28 Feb 1934
The Lady Mayoress (Mrs. J. W. Greene) performed the opening ceremony of the new pavilion for the Merthyr Croquet Club yesterday. She was welcomed by the president (Mrs. D. B. McCullough). …

Competitive games were organised by the captain and vice-captain of the club … after which presentation of the trophies won during the past year was carried out by the Lady Mayoress.

Attractively arranged tables, decked with autumn tinted ginnies, were set in the pavilion, tea being served under the supervision of Mesdames W. A Southwick and E. M. Heslehurst. .. Speeches were also made by Alderman M. P. Campbell, Mesers. W. McIntyre, A. Collinson. and Griffiths. …

(Courier Mail 28 Feb 1934)

When she performed the official opening of the new pavilion at the Merthyr Croquet Club yesterday afternoon the Lady Mayoress (Mrs. J. W Greene) created laughter when after complimenting the members on their greens and the progress they showed in building the pavilion, she said it was good to know that women who had reached the age of 30 had such excellent places as croquet clubs where they could spend their leisure.

Mrs. S Sowden (president of the Queensland Ladies’ Croquet Association), in quasi-humorous reply to the Lady Mayoress, said that the croquet clubs of to-day were responsible for women being considerably younger at 30 than they were 30 years ago. The light, freely cut clothing and the out-door exercise were responsible for the continued youth of women who went in for sport. Mrs. Sowden said she would like to see more men take an interest in croquet, and hoped that the visit of the English champion, Mr. Godfrey Turner, would assist in turning about this popularity. Whatever opinions might be voiced to the contrary, women did not neglect their duties for their pastimes. Rather they worked harder to enable them to take part in the games.

Spacious and tastefully finished, the new club house in an acquisition of which members may be justly proud. The electric clock and furniture were given by Mr. A Hislop in memory of Mrs. Hislop, who was a member of the club, and Mr. W Arundel gave a president’s chair in memory of Mrs Arundel, who also was a member of the club.

Merthyr Croquet Club – 1939
Merthyr Croquet Club – 1939
Merthyr Croquet Club – 1939

1940s – Up in the Air

Brisbane from the Air – circa 1940+ (Note Story Bridge completion)
Croquet Club seen bottom left
New Farm Park Aerial Shot – 1946 – MCC pictured top middle

1947 – Early Male Croquet Exponents


2 Sept 1947
One lone male will compete against 145 women in the annual interstate croquet carnival which begins next Tuesday.

He is Mr. C. Gurney of Merthyr club.

Queensland Croquet Association officials last night knew nothing of Mr. Gurney beyond that he is a junior A player.

Last year’s sole male representative Lieut.-Colonel Saalfeld, of the Indian Army, won several events and was runner-up in the singles championship. The colonel has now returned to England.

Croquet officials said last night that male players were no novelty in other countries. England’s Prime Minister. Mr. Attlee played frequently. …

12 Sep 1947

Mr. C. Gurney, the only male player in the tournament was also eliminated from the president’s singles. He arrived late and his opponent won on forfeit.

1 May 1948 – Brisbane Telegraph

Croquet a Game For Men – Mr. Gurney’s Opinion – Ranks It As Sport No. 1

Sat May 1 1948 – Warwick Daily News

Lone male competitor in the Downs croquet carnival now being played in Warwick, Mr. G. Gurney considers that if men appreciated the scientific skill required in croquet there would be many “converts” to the game.

“I think I have played every game with the exception of lacrosse, and of all sports I am convinced that the most skill is required in croquet.” he said yesterday. “Every successful move means keen judgment.”

Mr Gurney, who is 61 and who is retired from the position of railway locomotive foreman at Apna because of ill-health, already has one conditional male “convert” He is his nephew, Mr W. Gibson of King street, and the condition attaching to his becoming a croquet player is rather surf. It is that Mr Gurney must win the A grade singles’ championship at Warwick. Mr Gurney has won his first two matches, and will play his third game in the championship to-day.

The Merthyr Club, of which both Mr and Mrs Gurney are members has one other regular male player, Mr Brooks, while Auchenflower Club membership includes a Mr McDowell and Redcliffe Club a Mr Mairs.

Mr Gurney said yesterday that his initiation to croquet took place six years ago, although actually he had only been playing for two years. Six years ago his wife was invited to join the Merthyr Club, and she asked him to join also. He was reluctant at first, but was told that he would not be a “lone male,” as both the late Mr Stumm, brother of the late judge, and Mr T. C. Beirne, were playing members.

“I have never regretted taking up the game.” Actually I have been playing regularly only for the last two years, because of going north for four years,” continued Mr Gurney. “I consider it more scientific game than bowls, and that it ranks next to billiards as a game of skill. It has a fascination all of its own.”

“I would not now forsake croquet for any other sport, including even bowls, golf and tennis. I would rank croquet as No. 1 Sport and bowls as No. 2 Although personally I enjoy a game of tennis better than a game of bowls, I think a little more judgment is required in bowls.”

Mr Gurney plays croquet several times a week, twice at his own club and then at surrounding clubs. He has a standing invitation from all clubs.

He played in the interstate games in Brisbane last year, but without success owing to sickness. He was the only male competitor. The states represented were Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. He did not compete in the 1946 carnival, on which occasion there was one male contestant, a colonel from New South Wales.

Mr Gurney deplores the lack of publicity given to croquet in Brisbane. More publicity, he contends would give the game its proper status as “the leading game scientifically.” Men generally would become aware of this fact, and being keener in all forms of sport than women, they would give the game the right flip. He said that in New South Wales and Victoria quite a number of men played croquet, while in New Zealand there were more men than women exponents.

1953 – Perilous numbers..

Membership drops to 5 – In danger of closing.

At the QCA’s Annual General Meeting in 1956, it was decided the Association would not take over control of the courts, and one member of the committee (also a member of the club since 1952), Mrs Em Cornelius was asked to attempt to revive Merthyr as a club.

Em managed to persuade 12 people to form a committee on a trial basis for 12 months, assisted by two males, Mr Atkinson and Mr H. Cornelius. Subscriptions at the time were £l-l- a year and 1/- lawn fees per play day.

In 1953 the membership had dropped to 5 players when the club decided to hand it over to the Q.C.A The Association was not prepared at that stage to take them over as association courts and decided that a committee be formed until such time that they would decide what to do. Although I had not been in the sport for long I was nominated as one of those 12 on the committee. This committee worked very hard for the 2 years to keep the courts in playing order by holding jumble sales and various functions.

Emmie Cornelius (Club President) in Address to the Club ’82

1954 – A cup of tea

Attr: Courier-Mail 9 Sept 1954 (via Trove)
  • 1956 – Almost losing the courts..

In February 1956 at the Annual Meeting of the Qld Croquet Association, the matter of Merthyr was discussed when the Association said they were not prepared to take on Merthyr as Association courts. After a lot of discussions I was asked if I would take start Merthyr again. Seeing it would mean we would lose these courts (otherwise), I decided I would try. Little did I realise what work was involved.

1960 – Aerial Photography

New Farm Park Aerial Shot – 1960 – Merthyr Croquet Club pictured bottom left
Attr: Brisbane City Council Library Services


On 1st June 1961 the original clubhouse was burnt down. It was thought that all the Club’s records were destroyed at this time. However, in 2009 a relative of Em Cornelius’ son presented the club with two boxes of files found at her home. These included minute books from 1958 to 1978, so the Club now has a record of this event, described in the minutes of the 3rd June 1961.

Peter Rogers – Club Historian

I shall never forget the morning of 1st June 1961 when the phone rang and I was informed that Merthyr Club House was burnt down during the night; exactly 21 years ago from today. It was a heartbreak to go over and see everything gone mainly your records of everything, plus the pennants that had been won and honour boards – things you can never replace. Once again the hard work was ahead of us. Then President, Mrs Lowcock, called a special meeting on the 3rd June on the greens, so that we could plan what was to be done.

Emmie Cornelius (Club President) in Address to the Club ’82

The President expressed deep regret at the loss of mallets in the fire and asked members to rally around and get new mallets as soon as possible to keep on with the game of croquet.

Mrs. Cornelius, Assistant Secretary, reported that the insurance was nowhere near the value of the building, etc. When the assessor went out with her on the Thursday, he was amazed at the low insurance. If an inventory can be made out at this meeting and the matter attended to promptly, it would be a matter of a week or two before the insurance comes through. She advised she’d also contacted the Solicitor and Council.

There were Phone calls from various clubs expressing their deepest sympathy. Some of these were Wynnum (who advised they will help in some way), East Brisbane and Stephens. Mrs Rudder, President of Windsor Club, called a special meeting at her club in an effort to keep our “B” and “C” event going and offered the use of their lawns, equipment and club house, but we are to supply the workers.

Ipswich Club had a party day on 1st June and on learning of our tragic loss all donated 2/- each towards our balls.

Mrs Cornelius said that we are responsible for the way the building stands, and that the first thought is to pull it down. As there was some doubt as to the wiring (electricity) still being live, it was suggested the S.E.A be contacted to make enquiries. Mr Cornelius offered to come down on Sunday and dismantle the building, other volunteers were Mr Atkinson, Mr Lowcock, Mr Waller, Mrs Waller, Mrs E.K. Cornelius Mrs Reed, Miss Forsell, Mr R. Ward.

An offer was also made by Mr H. Cornelius to draw up plans for the proposed new club house and so help a little more in saving the cost of the building. The offer was very gratefully accepted.

The Captain proposed there be a raffle consisting of a hamper of groceries, value £10/-/-, cost of tickets 1/- each. It was proposed and agreed that a separate fund, namely a Building Fund, be set aside and all donations specified entered into this fund.

It was proposed and moved by Mrs Gough that a small committee be formed to enable these suggestions be and other business regarding this to be carried out, committee to consist of President, Secretary, Vice-President, and Secretary.

Minutes from 3rd June 1961

After recouping monies from the resultant insurance claim (£1000/-/- together with £144/6/- for contents) and an appeal fund, the club collected £1378.15. This enabled a new building to be constructed, thanks to a quote of £1342/-/- received from Mrs Cornelius’ son and husband, and the club house was re-opened on 18th November 1961. As a point of interest, the 1963 rates notices gives the unimproved value of the land as $3,600.

1961 – We can rebuild it

Saturday, 18 Nov 1961

Clubhouse blueprints from 1961 drawn up by Mr. H Cornelius

On the opening of the new club on 18th November 1961, Mr Cornelius said it was for the future of Merthyr Club and hoped they would be able to carry on for many years to come. From then on we gradually progressed. it was in 1966 that Merthyr won the vote from Windsor Club to be the headquarters for the A.C.C Carnival. It was a very proud day to think what we had achieved to bring it back as headquarters. while I was President of the Association 1967 to 1971 all major events were held there and (we) still take our turn with Windsor and other clubs.

1966 – Headquarters for National & International Games

1966 – Merthyr, as Headquarters, hosted the A.C.C’s National Carnival in 1966. In 1966 it was also made head quarters, for the International MacRobertson Shield Games, England vs Queensland and New Zealand vs England.

Again, it’s interesting to read how expenses were funded for the MacRobertson Shield games – the minutes record that ‘each and every member of Merthyr Club contributed 20c towards the food expense for the first day, subsequent expenses to be funded from the proceeds. Any member wishing to bring any sort of food towards the catering, may of course do so.’

Peter Rogers – Club Historian

Minutes from 1967 record club balances of $403.36, while in 1968 a set of balls cost $19.80, annual capitation fees $11.10, and grass cutting $31.50 for the year. Proceeds were earned for the year from subscriptions ($278.05), green fees and morning teas ($396.30) and lucky doors and social days ($156.46).

1974 – Australia Day Floods

1974 – Australia Day Floods ! During the devastating flood of 1974, along with much of New Farm, tragedy struck again when this clubhouse was flooded and as a consequence the club lost most of its records and many other irreplaceable treasures. Water reached 15″ up the walls in the main area of the club house. Club records were again lost, but the discovered minute books record this event. At the time the club had a bank balance of $381.47, with the first item to be purchased being new floor covering.

The 1974 General Meeting was held in March, a short time after the floods, so it’s not unusual that finances were a major topic. Annual membership subscriptions had increased to $10 per year; green fees were 30c per week. It was resolved honorary members would pay $1.00 per month; if members requested leave of absence for 12 months they would pay $2.50 a month, for six months $1.25; members joining after subscriptions were due would pay $1.00 per month; green fees would be paid on the first playing day of each month. It was also resolved that any member absent from social days would pay $2.00.

It would also seem that almost every member in the club was allocated a position in those days, as the 1974 Election of Officers called for President, Secretary, Senior Vice-President, Junior Vice-President, Captain, Vice-Captain, House Captain, Assistant House Captain, Bring and Buy Convenor, Greens Supervisor and Bridge Convenor. MCC was also responsible, in addition to their own club, for members to act as proxy delegates at QCA meetings for country clubs Murwillumbah and Dalby. Both a Patron and Patroness were also elected.

1982 – QCA Golden Jubilee Celebration (50th)

The club remained strong into the 70s and 80s as can be seen from the pennants that are still retained from this period. Major celebrations held at the time of the Club’s Golden Jubilee at its present site, celebrated on 24 June 1982.

1987 Presentation trophy made to Mrs. E.M Cornelius by QCA in honour of her past presidency. Dedicated service to croquet and valued training of croquet players throughout the state.

  • *Other news clippings
  • Slides (undated – tbd? / Ray + others)

2002 – Tennis Court Resumption

Merthyr appears never to have been a numerically strong club, but numbers did drop seriously toward the end of the 90’s, and in 2002 the Brisbane City Council resumed two of club’s croquet courts to establish the tennis courts alongside. 

Coaching Day (2008/09/10)

Postcard Prints (tbd?) !! 1914?

Come & Try Day (tbd?)

Lawn Refurbishment March 2009

— Club’s long-serving members Beryl Flowers and Bernadine Hanman MBD attending a combined bday party at the club in July 2009

— Club members attending a birthday morning tea in July 2009 – Peter Rogers (Secretary), Peter Ferguson, Patricia M Ferguson (Treasurer), Patricia K. Ferguson. Geoff McCahon (President), Miriam Rogers, Jo Myers (Club captain), Beryl Flowers (life member), Bernadine Hanman (Past President 1995-98) and Ray Vickers (Past President 2005-2008)

Come & Try Day (18 Oct 2009)

Friendship Day (2009)

2009 – Exhibition at Newstead House

-Exhibition at Newstead House (11 July 2009)

Q150 Celebrations demonstrating the game at Newstead house

— President Geoff McCahon demonstrating during the 2009 Q150 celebrations at Newstead Park, with Peter Rogers commentating while Jo Myers, Trish Ferguson and Ray

Vickers (obscured) wait their turn.

Croquet X-mas 2009 & 2010

2011 – Floods again!! (Merthyr Philosophical)

The floodwaters that covered New Farm Park sent water onto the lawns and into the clubhouse in a way that was more of a nuisance than anything else.

Certainly the depth varied considerably, ranging from roughly forty of fifty centimetres on the back of the lawns to some fifteen centimetres on the club veranda and generally little more than a couple of centimetres in the club room itself.

We had prepared for the emergency as far as we could and so managed to save much of the club property by lifting it onto table tops and the like, so for instance we still, unlike after the 1974 floods, have the valuable club records retrieved some months ago from the son of Em Cornelius.

However, it is going to take a while to recover the lawns to any good condition and we’ll have to work with our lessors, the Brisbane City Council, to achieve this.

We had to take up the ruined floor coverings and some furniture. These will have to be replaced in some way. The upshot, of course, is that this gives us an opportunity to rethink and replan some of the layout of the club and to investigate properly our possessions, so that can’t be all bad!

Peter Rogers (Club Historian) – FLOOD ROLL CALL “Merthyr Philosophical” – Mallet Sports Express Vol 10. Issue 1 – Jan 2011

‘Quiet times’ – Ray Vickers / Ron Sinclair

2015 – Brisbane Competitive Golf Croquet Takes off

Back into Pennants / Croquet community

… to 2020..

2024 – The next few years..

  • 3 Lawns total! (1 new lawn)
  • Sports night-lighting
  • Renovated club-house with top-viewing deck

Compiled from articles by Peter Rogers, Em Cornelius, Club minute books and the booklet, History of Croquet Clubs in Queensland 1997, with thanks) – and additional resources.