On Wednesday the 17th of November the New Zealand Croquet Team paid a surprise visit to the Yarraville club for some much needed relaxation following their 10-11 loss to Australia in the first round of croquet’s equivalent of the football World Cup playoffs, The MacRobertson Shield.
The MacRobertson Shield consists of three five-day tests between Australia, England, New Zealand and the USA. The event is held approximately every four years and started in 1925 when Sir Macpherson Robertson donated the shield to promote competition initially between Australia and England. Australia has been hosting the event at Cairnlea which runs from November 12th to the 28th.
Billiards and croquet share the same heritage and origins can be traced back to sometime around the 16th century. One historical theory is that tables were invented by the aristocracy to play croquet indoors. Artworks confirm that mallets were once used on tables which included hoops and rails.
During the event former World Croquet President, Tony Hall OBE, revealed during commentary that when he served at Puckapunyal Army base Walter Lindrum donated billiards tables to all of the major units and ancillary staff. Each day Walter worked with army engineers to oversee the installations and in the evenings would give exhibitions and lessons.
“At lunchtime, Walter and his marker would have lunch with the officers and he would then coach three or four of them at billiards,” recalled Tony.
“When Walter and his marker arrived back to the mess hall in the evening following demonstrations it would be around 9pm so the young officers would cook them a steak dinner.”
The officers continued to use the tables for leisure for many years following the installations and is another example of the generosity that Walter was so well known for.
Listen to the audio clip from Tony Hall OBE and Blaise Northey, detailing Walter’s generosity and passion for coaching billiards.