When is discrimination not discrimination? When it’s to do with age

Age at Work

Well that seems to be the take-home message of this article in the Financial Post on the ‘other’ Irish Referendum. You may not have heard about this; I hadn’t. But apparently there was a second referendum last week regarding the age at which one is eligible to run for President of Ireland. And the result was that the Irish voted “No” to reducing this age from 35 years to 21 by a resounding 75 per cent to 25.

What’s interesting is the argument (and it may be tongue-in-cheek) that this age ban isn’t age discrimination. The author suggests that the result shows how voters think of age discrimination as being different from other kinds of discrimination. And he suggests that it is. I’ve come across this contention before (though not so much recently). The argument is that ‘we don’t all experience being gay, straight, white, non-white, male, female…but on…

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The Fun Croquet Game! Golf croquet!

Croquet suffers the disadvantage over bowls in being not so well-known or understood. As a result bowls is the popular choice. Another problem is accessibility. There are fewer croquet clubs, and they may not be close. Immaculate lawns must meet the specific requirements of croquet. The speed of ball movement in croquet has to be precise to reach but not overshoot targeted positions. The usual bowling green is too fast.

The strategies and the rules of Association Croquet, the classic form of the game, take time to master, but many players choose it over bowls for the challenges this presents. Games are usually capped at two and a half hours, and as a result tournaments may last several days. They are intensely competitive, motivating players to strive for excellence. Even “friendlies” can be almost do or die events.

Not everyone coming to retirement or seeking a sport for their leisure hours, wishes to be so deeply involved.  Golf croquet is a simpler version, and a fun game, with plenty of social interaction, It is still very skilful. It is amazing how often freakish shots occur to  the applause of even one’s opponents. The game is also shorter, most lasting about three-quarters of an hour. This allows a game to be played before and after the essential tea break in a morning or afternoon session of play. Golf croquet has saved many a club from extinction.

Golf Croquet Mount Barker Style

Mt Barker CroqueteersIt may not have the youngest members, but it would definitely rate as one of the friendliest of clubs.

This group of 25 Mount Barker Golf Croquet regulars are enthusiastic about their twice weekly friendly matches. In Gala day competitions, visitors from other clubs, join the local club for a full day of competitive croquet matches.

Club Logo

The club logo.

Two mallets forming an oblique cross  with a set of croquet balls in the angles with the primary colours of blue/black and red/yellow

 Don’t wait until you retire to take up croquet!

SA Golf Croquet State Team 2013

SA Golf Croquet State Team 2013

It is the younger players who do best. It helps too if you have prowess in other sports.

Location of the Mount Barker Croquet and club details

The club is on the low side of Mann Street, next to the Mount Barker Bowling Club, on the eastern side of Adelaide Road, busy entrance to Mount Barker from Adelaide’s South-Eastern Freeway.
Corner Mann Street and Adelaide Road Mount Barker, SA 5251
Organisation Phone
Phone contact: 08 8398 6742 Neal Gibson nealdgibson@bigpond.com
Organisation Email
Club Secretary:  Neal Gibson, 42/2 Hutchinson Street Mount Barker, SA 5251
Parent Body:
SA Croquet Association
Fields a number of divisions which play, Tues 10am – 12.30pm; Thurs 9am – 12 noon; Saturday 9am – 11.30am
$250 plus SACA ( South Australian Croquet Association) Fee
Club Secretary Neal Gibson

Club Secretary Neal Gibson

There are three standard size lawns. To accommodate more players, each lawn can be sub-divided if necessary into two.
 At play on the main lawn in front of the shelter and equipment shed.

At play on the main lawn in front of the shelter and equipment shed.

The not so modern rest rooms

The not so modern rest rooms

What better name for the club toilet block?
Croquhe for Gentlemen
Croquher for the Ladies
Pelicans - Mount Barker Wetlands

Pelicans – Mount Barker’s Laratinga Wetlands

Few clubs can boast such a lovely leafy setting such as the Mount Barker Club members enjoy. In the background on the other side of Adelaide Road, is the Keith Stephenson recreational park. A linear walking trail  on the southern edge of the club links this park to the famous Laratinga Wetlands.
Refurbished (thanks to Mt barker Council) Clubhouse.

Refurbished (thanks to Mt Barker Council) Clubhouse.

Golf Croquet players in action on the 2nd and 3rd lawns in front of the refurbished clubhouse. In the back-ground behind the clubhouse, on the other-side of Adelaide Road is the popular Wallis Cinema complex, a modern state-of-the-art facility which boasts seven auditoriums, each with a wall-to-wall screen, high back seats, and Dolby Surround Sound.   It adjoins the historic Auchendarroch House and the Tavern.

Originally named The Oakfield Hotel, “Auchendarroch” derives its origins from the Scottish-Gaelic term ‘holy place of the oaks’ and was built-in 1860 by Scottish immigrant Lachlan McFarlane.

Another Scottish ex patriot, Robert Barr Smith, business person and philanthropist, purchased the property in 1878. He served on the boards of the University of Adelaide, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, and many Adelaide companies.

Interior of refurbished clubhouse.

Inside the clubhouse

Meet some of the Players

We would be delighted to meet you in person!!

Club President:  Valda Jaensch

Club President:
Valda Jaensch

colleen walters

Colleen Walters


Colleen and Maurice Walters manage the kitchen chores

dinner presentation 40

Denny Fry

Denny Fry



Peter Fry

Peter Fry

Kevin Jaensch

Kevin Jaensch

Max Walcom

Max Walcom

Trevor Kramm

Trevor Kramm

Monica Eglinton

Monica Eglinton

Heather Daniel

Heather Daniel

maurie hodgson

mavis klenke

Lorraine and Trevor

Lorraine and Trevor

teresa king

Lorraine Kramm

Lorraine Kramm


The early days of croquet in South Australia.

Fellow Retiree and friend, Pharmacist Ralph Worthington and his wife Jill introduced me soon after I retired to the mysteries of croquet. Skilled player Aileen Mehaffey became my coach and Mentor at the strong Norwood Croquet Club on Portrush Road in Adelaide. At 65 I was never going to excel at the sport, but I enjoyed it and the social contacts. It kept me active, both physically and mentally, demanding constant focus on strategy and its execution.

After moving to a retirement home in the Adelaide Hills satellite township of Mount Barker, I transferred my membership to the local club.

This post is the result of a desire to learn of the beginnings of the croquet game in South Australia. I am indebted to the Croquet SA website for the following historical information.

South Australia was settled 28 December 1836 when 176 free settlers including Captain John Hindmarsh subsequently the First Governor of the new colony arrived on board the HMS Buffalo at Glenelg.

They and subsequent settlers brought with them aspects of the genteel English lifestyle they had enjoyed in their homeland.  Not surprisingly croquet was a past-time they soon introduced to the new settlements, the earliest being in the Barossa Valley in 1867.




Croquet was brought to our state with the early English gentry. They wanted to keep their lifestyle and interests as they had in England.

Many of these people were able to build substantial homes in the Fitzroy, St. Peters, Medindie and Walkerville areas, just north of the Adelaide. A lot of these homes had their own courts, so the game was a social event.

Some of the larger families moved and bought pastoral leases in the fertile Angaston and Kapunda areas. Crops, wine and mining was very profitable.

The earliest photos we have are of a group of players in a paddock on a hill at Angaston on New Year’s Day 1867, photo below.

Recent research has revealed that it was Angaston, not Kapunda that had the first club in S.A. Croquet has been recorded as being played in the town as early as 1850.

Angaston club was officially formed in early 1867 and was played at various venues until land for a Sports Park was given to the town by Mr. George Fife Angus, whom the area was named after. This was in late 1867. The club membership was by ballot. The club celebrated its Centenary in 1967 and due the drop in membership closed in 1970 after 103 years.

Kapunda was the second club formed in 1868. Photo below of Kapunda club members.

This was closely followed by The North Adelaide Club. Membership list of this club were the who’s who of society at that time. Other than a list of the founding members and rules there is no more information of this club and it is said that when the president returned to England that the club folded after one year.

1890 saw two courts set up behind the main grandstand at the Adelaide Oval. This is where the games between clubs were played and plans were made to form our Association. These courts were used up to late 1925.

Mr T.N. Stephens was the instigator in the formation of the South Australian Croquet Association in 1917. He approached the City of Adelaide Council and obtained a part lease of Park 17 in the South Park lands edging onto Hutt Rd. South Terrace Club had previously in 1911 been allotted their area on the East side of the park. This also was obtained by Mr. T.N.Stephens.

1926 saw the first four courts set up and also the club house which was named “CROQUET HOUSE”. The opening was held in July that year.

In 1926 there were 47 registered clubs and the number was still growing.

A newspaper cutting records that in 1934 there were 1,300 players, six of whom were men. These were the first men to join the Association.

Both women and men have excelled in the game over the years. The Association and Golf Croquet interstate competitions are held annually and are in South Australia every few years. South Australia has a team of men and women representing our state in both Association and Golf croquet every year. South Australian players have also represented Australia in overseas tournaments. The McRobertson Shield is one of those.

In April 2012 we were honoured to host The 13th World Croquet Federation Association Croquet World Championships in Adelaide, they were a great success, and many local and interstate players and members of the community came to watch the best players in action.

Our School and Disabled Programs are very rewarding and we try to have Primary School Championship Games each year. The secondary school also compete in their program for the Championship.

Deaf, sight impaired, and brain injury folk love to play Golf Croquet it is a real treat for them to be able to play.

Coaching and Refereeing personnel give regular sessions and also travel to the rural areas when requested. This is very important to keep up the standard of our game.Although our membership is not what it was in 1934 and a few clubs have closed we are still a very active Association. At present there are 1,071 members and 43 clubs. Below is a photo of our clubhouse on Hutt Road as it is now.

This is only a brief outline of the history and activities of our Association, but will give you a little idea of our Croquet Life here in South Australia.

Janet Eckert
Croquet Archivist