The most fun you can have with a mallet
Forget Wii. Grab your parasol and step through the historic white gates of McIlwraith Croquet Club. Once considered a game for ‘oldies’, croquet is making a comeback in much the same way as lawn bowls. And why wouldn’t it? Nothing beats an afternoon on the grassy expanse, either playing with friends or sitting under a flower-garlanded shelter watching your wiley challengers.
Tucked away in a quiet and green corner of Auchenflower, even the land on which the club stands has a tale to tell. It was once owned by former Queensland premier Sir Thomas McIlwraith, whose wife Lady Harriet willed it to Brisbane in 1911 to be used for recreational purposes. And thus in 1923 the croquet club was formed. During the week, it’s a place for the pros, but on weekends (by appointment only) visitors can hire out the ground and the first three visits are free! The welcoming regulars will even toss in some tuition.
Once you’ve learnt that a mallet is the stick used to hit one of four coloured balls through six hoops, you’ll then realise there’s a whole world of croquet to discover. Aside from the four types of croquet games – association, ricochet, golf and the 30-minute Japanese game gateball – there are also many different strokes with whimsical names like ‘worm cannon’ and ‘Irish peel’.
After all this, you’ll feel like a drink, and while there is no alcohol served on-site, you can BYO and use the barbecue facilities. Out on the green though, the beauty of this place is that you can turn off the modern world for a few hours – and maybe even pretend to be Alice playing a game with the bad-tempered Queen of Hearts.
Cnr Dixon St & Auchenflower Tce, Auchenflower
(07) 3870 3771
Open Wed & Sat 9.30am–12pm, Tues & Thurs 3–6pm. Private functions by appointment.