After three years in the driver’s seat – and more than 40 years of involvement all up - Sue Waite has retired from active duties at the Naracoorte and District Sports Centre.
Neville Vickery was elected chairman at the AGM in November 2017 along with Alicia Munro (secretary) and Carmel Watson re-elected treasurer. Carmel was recently presented with life membership for her wonderful stewardship in the role which also included secretary/treasurer of the Combined Clubrooms Committee for many years.
Sue has been involved with Sports Centre ever since attending her first meeting at the AGM in 1976 when the Naracoorte Tennis Club was investigating areas around town for a new complex.
After the Memorial Oval plan collapsed, the North Parklands looked like a good fit considering the town Netball Association was willing to relocate from Market Square and share courts. By 1978 the Naracoorte Football Club were also considering the move from the Showgrounds to the North Parklands and in October 1978 all three clubs were brought together under the chairman Tony O’Connor.
Grant funds were sought and life member Harry Peake was drafted back to steer the new development through the next three years, bringing the sporting hub of the Limestone Coast to fruition. By this time seven clubs were now operating under the Naracoorte and District Sports Centre lease.
These were the most exciting times for those clubs. Sue, along with Bob Bald, wrote the grant applications that eventually yielded $100,000 for the two stages of development.
Over the ensuing years Lions and Rotary Clubs, together with sports club members, planted many thousands of trees as they sought to beautify the area.
Meanwhile, Sue was assisting the Hockey Association. In the early 1980s the Men and Women’s Hockey Association amalgamated and formed three local clubs – namely, the Greenbottles, Redlegs and Dartmoor, and charted the Lucindale club along with Kate Guy and Dr Jennie Wray.
Several years later Kingston and Penola clubs joined the association. In its heyday, each club needed two fields each to play on every Saturday and fielded teams in Under 13, Under 15, and A and B grade Men and Women.
They relied on the basketball stadium for toilets, and Norm McMinn had his hot dog stand under the gum tree in the present carpark.
The clubs were keen for toilets and changerooms, so a loan was raised and three years later, the clubhouse was built with additional funds from Norm’s hot dog stand – hence the name Norm McMinn Clubrooms.
In the summer season Sue played A grade tennis, and along with leading tennis coach Sally Scott, coached juniors from beginners through to Division 2 for 20 years.
Work for the Dole participants have found a placement at Sports Centre for over 10 years, and under Sue’s direction have managed to help clubs keep the open areas tidy.
With rule changes came grants of over $100,000 in 2015 through to 2017 for project work, with highlights being the painting of the stadium, squash courts, football league headquarters, hockey building, posts and rails around boundaries and carparks, upgrades shelters, and much more.
These opportunities helped the jobseekers, with many finding work in the community, or going on to study.
“I feel working with Kathy Davis from Job Prospects that this time was one of the more rewarding aspects of volunteering at Sports Centre,” Sue said.
“Carmel Watson as treasurer also took on an a bigger workload in administration of the funds.
“Assisting our community’s unemployed and getting a tired Sports Centre freshened up, and at the same time assisting clubs with many maintenance jobs, was a most rewarding experience for all concerned.”
In 2016 the Sports Centre and council met and endorsed the Basketball Association’s proposed development for two new basketball courts, sharing with football and netball. A new master plan for the area is now in the pipeline.
Volunteering at Sports Centre and working with various club representatives has been a most rewarding experience for Sue.
“My goal when going onto a committee is to leave the organisation in better shape,” Sue said.
“But it does not happen without teamwork. Thank you everyone.”