Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sporting Clubs

Otautau has a great sporting history starting way back in 1875 when the rugby club formed. While we have a few photographs of teams, they often don't tell enough of the story. A quick look at PapersPast reveals when the clubs formed and by whom. This brief sketch of sporting clubs shows the main difference between clubs today and clubs of the past is shear numbers of involvement. It seems more people in the past spent more time participating than people of today.

The Otautau Football Club, 1875

This is the earliest reference to the Otautau Football Club. It was found in the Southland Times, 28 July 1876. While it doesn't show how many members formed the club, we do know that many men were involved in it especially by the turn of the century. Next to the Athletics club which didn't form until 1910, this was one of the more popular clubs to belong to.

The Birchwood Hunt Club, 1886

 From the Southland Times, 2 May 1890.

The Western District Racing Club (aka Otautau Racing Club), 1887

From the Otago Witness, 9 Dec 1887.

The Otautau Lawn Tennis Club 

Some time between 1890 and 1909, the tennis club formed but havent found a reference for it.

The Otautau Cycling Club (probably 1900)

The Cycling Club sounded like a fun affair with races at the recreation ground (before it was named Holt Park) and excursions around the district. Southland Times, 9 Jan 1902.

The Otautau Gun Club, 1905

From the Otautau Standard, 12 Sep 1905

The Otautau Cricket Club, 1905

From the Otautau Standard, 17 Oct 1905. There were enough members in the club to form two teams on the day of their opening match.

The Otautau Bowling Club, 1906

From the Otautau Standard, 2 Oct 1906.

The Otautau Harrier and Amateur Athletic Club, 1910 

From the Otautau Standard, 26 Jul 1910. Just look at the long list of office bearers and volunteers listed here.

The Otautau Hockey Club, 1911

From the Otautau Standard, 11 Jun 1911.

The Otautau Golf Club, 1912

From the Otautau Standard, 28 May 1912. A modest group of 20 people formed the golf club.

The Otautau Swimming Club, 1917

From the Otautau Standard, 16 Jan 1917. This group had four vice-presidents. Just amazing the overflow of office-bearers.

The Otautau Croquet Club, 1922

From the Otautau Standard, 12 Sep 1922.

The Otautau Basket Ball Club, 1928

From the Otautau Standard, 22 May 1928.

While the cricket, croquet, hockey and racing clubs seemed to have fallen away, most of the other clubs have survived. In addition, we now have a squash club that is very active. But as culture changes, so do clubs. Their ability to endure into the future is directly linked with the numbers of volunteers who can help. If you can help a club, please do, otherwise they tend to fall into obscurity. They lose their paperwork, their records and artifacts get misplaced over time. Then museums like ours might try to piece together a club's history but it's never the same as the real thing.

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