95 – Southgate Club Houses through the decades

This week we need look only as far back as 1997, which was our last year in our previous home in ‘the modern’ club house at The Walker Ground. This is the very place where Kim and Richard Bishop Leggett first met and locked eyes one Saturday night (as described in this weeks Relatively Speaking) and is well remembered by many members. Anyone with any pictures of nights spent here please do send them in. 

For those who were not alive…or need memories jogging let us take a gentle amble down memory lane…

1967 – 1997: The Modern Clubhouse

The club had joined with the cricketers in 1958 to plan a new clubhouse, and it should be noted that the one of the three members of the hockey

club’s team was Robin Willmott (father of John) and Chairman of the Southgate Sports and Leisure Trust, whose experience in pursuing that scheme has been invaluable in shaping the Trent Park project. The hockey and cricket clubs had run the ground between them up to this point – for 70 years or so. However, when the scheme for a new clubhouse was investigated, it became clear that the charitable status of the Walker Trust presented a variety of financial benefits, and it assumed the controlling role, through the Walker Association, which continues to this day. Funding was raised by club members, aided by the Inland Revenue’s generosity, along with grants. It took longer than hoped to get the agreement of all parties to the project, but the completed clubhouse was opened in February 1967. 

It was seen as one of the leading designs of its day, combining changing, dining and social areas under one roof, which at the time was ground- breaking. The clubhouse included squash courts – the additional sport required to secure government funding, and club members had use of the two squash courts prior to the formation of the current squash club. The clubhouse was extended to accommodate the Adelaide clubs in the early 1970s, and further squash courts and ladies changing facilities were built in 1981.

This allowed the formation of the current ladies section of the club. The bar was extended and refurbished to a high standard in 1994, and remains to this day an excellent venue, with attractive views across the historic ground.

I asked John Willmott our club archivist and former president what his memories of the club house were and he replied thus.

Actually I do not have too much on that pavilion… In terms the building I recall it be a jv with the Cricket Club and that Laurie Norman and my father Robin, were the lead guys from our club.  The squash courts came as a later phase followed by Southgate Adelaide moving over from their old shed/pavilion!!  Later on our club fell out with the Trust and a new unofficial group emerged called the Crossed Swords Club and Murray Johnson (the then President) produced a tie accordingly!!

I can recall some of the more entertaining things that happened including very drunken nights, with very a very famous ex President (not me!!) doing a striptease with only saucepan lids, many discos and all that that entailed and particularly outrageous Sunday Tankards matches with great sing-songs from the Puritans. As the young barman it was my training programme!!

Next week John will be taking us home with an article all about how the move to Trent Park came about and some of the hard work that went into creating our wonderful Club House as it is today.

Thanks to all who wrote in last week from Steve Chadwick in Botswana to Richard DSouza (Stroller) seeking advice on compression vests and everyone in between. It’s great to hear people are enjoying the articles.