A six-month renovation has seen the Canberra Croquet Club double its footprint adding storage, new toilets and disability access to the historic venue. The half-million dollar project which sits next to the Hyatt Hotel, includes a new building, constructed in the same style as the original 1933 building.
The ACT Government contributed $410,000 towards the project which included overhauling the kitchen, replacing the external decking and removing asbestos in the existing building.
The club caused controversy when it was announced as the recipient of the biggest grant in the 2022 ACT Government’s Capital Assistance Program, under its Sport and Recreation grants.
At the time, ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation Yvette Berry said the 91-year-old 134-member club’s heritage-listing had contributed to the expense.
“This is one of the oldest sports clubs in Canberra, if not the oldest. So it does require significantly more funding to address the [above] requirements. It is more expensive because [of this],” she said.
Canberra Croquet Club President Greg Diprose said it appreciated the funding support provided by the ACT Government to enable this project to be delivered.
“The completion of this project now provides a tremendous community asset which the whole Canberra community can utilise and participate in the sport of croquet,” he said. “The provision of the new facility enables a more welcoming experience for all our members to enjoy including disability access, more efficient use of the lawns and a much improved storage space for the club.”
The club also contributed $100,000 of its own savings to the work, while one member donated $20,000 for the kitchen upgrade.
“Thank you to all club members – and particularly to Yvonne Grattan, who contributed a significant donation in memory of her late husband John, which meant the kitchen could be upgraded,” Minister Berry said. “The restoration of the clubhouse was a significant undertaking and will provide a wonderful new space for the club to enjoy for many years to come.
“This project has been several years in the making, with the club working extremely hard to ensure all improvements were sensitive to the heritage and other sensitivities of the original building and its prominent location in the nation’s capital,” she said.
“These croquet lawns are a piece of Canberra’s history and it’s great that the clubhouse now offers a more enjoyable space for members and the community to stay active.”
Club member, retired architect Peter Dale, was appointed to oversee the project, while heritage architects Eric Martin & Associates and RHG Constructions were contracted to design and complete the project.