Our finalists for best facility represent the efforts of the people and places we play our sport, we’re looking to reward community engagement and facilities which go above and beyond to maximise their impact on sport participation in their communities.
1. Flyaway Gymnastics - North Albury, NSW
Flyaway Gymnastics is located in the regional town of Albury Wodonga, on the border of NSW and VIC, population approximately 100,000. Until recently, and for 20+ years previously, local families whose children wanted to participate in gymnastics have braced the elements (all readily available on the inside of the building) in a falling down tin shed located at the Albury showgrounds.
In September last year, after seven long years of planning, gaining Council support and finding a suitable venue, Flyaway Gymnastics undertook the massive task of relocating to, what can only be described as a dream home for its gymnasts and coaches.
In vast contrast to the subsiding floor, outdoor toilets and many holes in the roof, 1014 Nowra Street, North Albury is a venue that gymnastics clubs Australia-wide would be proud to call home. At 1600m2, the space is one of the biggest in the country for a dedicated gymnastics club, and the newly built toilets make visiting the bathroom a delight, rather than a race to dodge mosquitoes. We have insulation, keeping both the heat and cold at bay, something that's been a challenge previously, and the physical space is light, bright and welcoming. We took time to plan the layout ensuring that the gym could cater for our many recreational programs to run concurrently with high level competitive programs, and that running events such as concerts and competitions was also possible. We also wanted our space to be accessible to all. After three months of operation, we feel we have achieved all of this.
Visitors and members are greeted in a lovely reception, with waiting areas and a party room that are a pleasure to be in. The gymnastics hall is wall-to-wall equipment and couldn't be better set up to meet the ever growing gymnastic demands of the local population.
It took a dedicated team of 15 people to close down one venue and open another, in a record turnaround time of just twelve days. We were delighted to have the local Mayor open the new facility in mid-October, and the Flyaway team are now busy planning to host two Gymnastics Victoria sanctioned, regional events later this year, something the club has never been able to do before.
The difference the new building has made to morale and to people wanting to come to our space for gymnastics has been phenomenal. We are proud to welcome families and schools into our new home and no longer have to make excuses for a facility which didn't come close to representing the passion and commitment to gymnastics and high quality services that Flyaway Gymnastics prides itself on. We now open our doors with pride and encourage our community to be a part of this wonderful space. Facilities of this standard, size and potential aren't often seen in a regional community such as Albury Wodonga, and the club is so very proud that it has been able to achieve this long term goal.
Nominated by Georgina Mitchell, Director Flyaway Gymnastics
2. Girdlestone Park - AFL - East Devonport Football Club - TAS
Girdlestone Park was established in 1971 as the home ground for the East Devonport Football Club. Previously, the club had to share facilities with its main rival Devonport, and before that they used the local primary school as their base. East Devonport Football Club has consistently faced challenges to survive, with success on field often taking a back seat in order to maintain financial viability.
The township has a relatively small population and is the only club in the competition without a high school, making it difficult to recruit junior players. Despite this, it is a proud club with a strong honour roll of players who have had great success in the AFL. Over the years the Girdlestone Park facility has developed into a multi-purpose venue where several sports are able to co-exist in a cooperative and supportive manner. This facility is vitally important in an area that has a significant low demographic population.
The club uses the ground from January to September which caters for the roster as well as pre-season training. The local Little Athletics Club occupies the ground from November to March with their competition day being held on weekends, usually Saturday. During the week from January to March the two bodies alternate their days so there is no clash with ground use. Our facility is also home to the local boxing club as well as housing a weights gym, which is available to all stakeholders. The Girdlestone Park venue has also recently been made available to overnight campers which has proved to be very popular in summer - understandable, as the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ terminal is less than one kilometre away.
For this ‘Clubbies’ award the East Devonport Football Club would like to focus on the future of our women’s football team. With the newly established team, the committee are working hard to consolidate its place in the competition and are keen to provide the girls with better facilities and equipment. The new women’s team has energised the community and further enhanced the inclusive policy the club has had in place for many years.
Nominated by John Febey, East Devonport FC committee member
3. Strathalbyn Club Rooms - AFL - Strathalbyn Football Club - SA
Officially opened in November 2017, the club rooms at Strathalbyn have been fully revamped, upgraded and extended in a project that started five-plus years ago at a cost of over $2m dollars and probably another 500K with in-kind and volunteer input. The club makeover included fully rebuilding the change room facilities, adding new showers for both home and away teams, a warm-up room and a small equipped gym. New umpires rooms, including a separate room and shower for female umpires, were also added. A completely new commercial kitchen, including all new equipment and a large cool room, was built to complement the function room that doubled the capacity of guests along with new bar facilities, male and female toilets. The new section of the building has a second story that houses the Strathalbyn Branch of the RSL and a large area that is home to the Flexible Learning Education Centre for the Eastern Fleurieu School, as well as a large viewing, function room, bar and meeting room. Downstairs, the new section contains storage rooms and an equipped BBQ/cafe area with undercover enclosed space for dining or just enjoying the fantastic view of the Strathalbyn Oval. The full extent of the upgrade and revamp has to be seen to be enjoyed.
Nominated by Andrew Batten, club vice president
4. Pennant Hills Soccer Centre - Football - Pennant Hills Football Club - NSW
The Pennant Hills Soccer Centre has allowed for some real growth in the district for both club participation and use of the ground. With the goals up year round, you can head down there every day without failure to see a group of players enjoying the sun, particularly in summer, where otherwise there would be no goals to use in this season. Apart from this, Penno FC have utilised the ground since its construction to host a highly successful summer soccer competition that grew significantly between its first and second year. This facility has allowed for football in this district to begin to flourish even more than previously, and it is going to be a ground that will continue to do this for a long time yet.
Nominated by Jake Ghalloub, participant
5. Huon Rowing Clubhouse - Rowing - Huon Rowing Club - Franklin, TAS
My club, the Huon Rowing Club, is located in the small town of Franklin, Tasmania. The club has been in existence (under various names) for over 100 years. We have had the same club President, Mr John Driessen, for 30 years. Over the past 20 years the Huon Rowing Club (HRC) has punched well above its weight, producing national and world champion athletes and coaches. Until recently, all of this was from a dilapidated, leaky iron shed housing a membership of 30-40 rowers, sometimes less.
The club is located next to the beautiful Huon River, which provides fantastic conditions for rowing, and until a few years ago that was one of the best things about our club's facility. In 2014-15 the then Club Treasurer, Vanessa King, obtained a funding pledge from the Tasmanian Premier and this was the start of the HRC's major facility project. Temporary accommodation was organised in an old manufacturing shed next door to the existing clubhouse, so the club could continue to operate, and the old clubhouse was demolished. The club Treasurer managed the project and the builder was one of the club coaches, Paul Newbon.
The new HRC facility was officially opened in September 2016. It has a larger boat storage area, a kitchen area with servery, a gym and common room suitable for large functions, showers and toilets with disabled access, and an upstairs room for race commentary and meetings. The kitchen is important, as to fund maintenance of the facility, we sell food and coffees (and a lot of them) at several State rowing regattas and school regattas. Our club membership is growing and we currently have two junior squads, several para-rowers and a Masters squad, in addition to an active group of senior rowers who continue to excel in national and world rowing events.
Membership is drawn largely from the Huon Valley and Channel areas but also extends as far as Hobart. One of our members, Sarah Hawe, is a member of the gold medallist 2017 World Champion Women's Four crew, while another Huon rower, Georgia Nesbitt, stroked the 2017 World Champion Lightweight Women's Quad to a silver medal. Our club is the main sporting facility in the township of Franklin and the facility is available for hire by the general public for functions. The gym can also be used by members of the local community, not necessarily rowers, and since its opening we have hosted several St Ayles Skiff regattas. In April we will host a major Dragon Boat event. During the rowing season the facilities are also hired by school groups from the Hobart area for rowing camps. Now we not only have one of the best locations to row but we also have a fantastic clubhouse. This new facility has set the Huon Rowing Club up for many years to come and hopefully it will help to produce many new generations of rowers.
Nominated by Lisa Cooper, club secretary
6. Wakerley Park - Football - Souths United Football Club - Runcorn, QLD
I nominate Souths United, Wakerley Park artificial, synthetic football (soccer) pitch and the club committee of volunteers. The facility is in Runcorn, a Brisbane southern suburb. Queensland football pitches are a challenge to maintain due to the tropical weather patterns. High use pitches in urban areas deteriorate very quickly over the season which impacts in many different ways. Souths United is in an urban area with many teams. As the season use to progress, the pitches became sub optimal and at times, unplayable. They were sand based, lost their grass and developed holes and uneven patches in high use areas such as the goal mouths and centre circle/midfield.
South United applied for funding to have an FFA sanctioned artificial pitch installed to replace the most troublesome grass pitch. • The artificial pitch can be played on in all weather. • The pitch does not deteriorate. It is more even and predictable under foot to assist in injury prevention. • It provides a consistent bounce and roll to assist with skill development of young players in particular. • It does not require watering. • The Brisbane Roar Women’s team trains on the pitch before they play in Adelaide (Adelaide Women’s play on a synthetic pitch in SA) • Souths United hold a Women’s National Premier League (NPL) licence and, not only do the girls aged from 10 get to develop their skills on the high standard pitch, they can watch the Women’s Roar train.
To best protect this valuable asset, there needs to be some additional monitoring and maintenance. For example, boots need to be checked to ensure they don’t have gum or sharp edges on the souls. Food and sugary drinks are contained to areas away from the playing surface. This role is overseen and carried out by the Souths committee of volunteers. I nominate them for their foresight and ongoing management and maintenance of one of the best football facilities in the region. The 2017 Qld Under 15 Girls football team selected to play at the national championship contained six girls from the club. There is no doubt their development prior to selection was assisted by the Wakerley Park synthetic pitch and Souths United committee of volunteers. Thank you for the opportunity to nominate them for recognition.
Nominated by John Gaudin, parent of players, manager of one of the NPL teams
7. Wolter Park Club House - Football - Albany Creek Excelsior FC - QLD
Wolter park club house at Jacaranda Drive has serviced our players since 1963. Renovations were done a few years ago where the building was extended providing a player tunnel and four kitted out change rooms and a gym. Wolter Park has a viewing deck for guests and a fully functioning canteen and bar. Wide windows if you want to be inside watching the game or a large grandstand with plenty of seating. We also have a wide hill side area to view the games from around the ground. Family friendly and community-minded.
Nominated by Kirsty Royley, administration
8. Terang Cricket Club Facilities - Cricket - Terang Cricket Club - VIC
The Terang Cricket Club has one of the few turf wickets in our league. Hours of time are spent by our dedicated volunteers who prepare the wicket, week in week out to play and maintain and prepare our grounds all year. At Terang we have the fantastic turf wicket but last year we opened our second hard wicket ground. On a lovely summer’s day the Terang Cricket Club draws a crowd especially when two games are played at the same time. Not only do we have two grounds but spectacular club rooms. Our rooms have a small, simple kitchen however the afternoon teas that the ladies put together are amazing. Hot food, sandwiches, fruit a drink and some sweets are the afternoon teas that the visiting cricket teams talk about across the league as the very best. After game day you have the option of a shower to freshen up before a drink at the bar. Dinner is usually on offer before many games of darts and pool.
Nominated by Sarah Venn, committee member
9. Elgar Park - Hockey - KBH Brumbies Hockey Club - Mont Albert, VIC
It has taken over eight years of hard work by a select few dedicated committee members not only to upgrade our playing pitch but to final see the vision completed. In November 2016 our state of the art clubrooms and change room facilities were finally opened! Our new facilities cater to all genders, all abilities and all ages. Even the officials have been catered for with their own change rooms. We have a great first aid room, outstanding spectator facilities, spacious clubrooms and a mega kitchen, which will no doubt serve up some deliciously fresh food for all and will offer great barista coffee. The KBH Brumbies is looking forward to presenting to the greater Hockey community of Victoria a new excellence in sporting facilities! A venue we are all proud to call home!
Nominated by Dee Gill, member and event organiser and uniform coordinator
10. Eastside Activity Centre - Gymnastics - Rokeby, TAS
Our club has built and resourced a high performance facility where safety is of the highest importance. The $3m facility has been individually financed with no government/external assistance. The highest quality and state of the art equipment has been provided for its members to train in a safe environment and to provide them with the best opportunity to succeed in their chosen sport.
The facility has been designed to provide for all family members. It has play areas for sibling, exercise areas for parents/carers to use while waiting for class members. It is the only facility with a horizontal displacement machine, time of flight and super train or to assist high level athletes at the same time it provides for the younger children through bright safe and challenging equipment for kinder gym. This year it has completed two extensions, the first to cater for Free G (a combination of parkour, free running and ninja warrior) to get the older teenagers involved in sport. The second extension was an in-ground trampoline area to expand its ability to assist disability groups.
The facility is well received in the community as it welcomes all abilities. Many groups e.g. Mosaic, Parkside, Mission Australia, etc., make use of the facility for their clients with physical and emotional needs. The facility deserves to win a Clubbie because it is a valued asset in the community. It has filled a gap and provides an essential service for schools, groups and individuals. It promotes healthy living and gives families an opportunity to be active together through its wide range of activities. It is unique and needs to be acknowledged through this award. Thank you.
Nominated by Felicity Harvey, owner
11. Soccer5sTuggerah sports complex - Soccer - NSW
Soccer5s Tuggerah is a state-of-the-art small sided football facility. It consists of 2x 7-aside pitches and 8x 5-aside pitches. All pitches are made of European synthetic turf, enclosed with metal cages and roof nets so that the game does not stop! Adult games run for 45 minutes but we also have junior games on the weekend. The pitches are each named after a famous stadium around the world from Wembley Stadium to Celtic Park! The atmosphere during the evening is buzzing with men’s, mixed and women’s games from 6:15pm - 9:15pm every day of the week.
Nominated by Matthew Crowell, centre manager