Townsville Bridge Club - Club History

The newsletter below was published at the 1992 Congress that celebrated the SILVER ANNIVERSARY of the Townsville Bridge Club.

WELCOME
TO OUR 21ST BRIDGE CONGRESS
CELEBRATING
THE SILVER ANNIVERSARY
OF THE TOWNSVILLE BRIDGE CLUB
1992

The Congress Committee extends a sincere welcome to visitors and members and hopes that an enjoyable and successful weekend will be had by all.

Mr Jack Fraser was the club's Founding President and the following are some of his memories of the early days of the club:

During the 1960's Mrs Brienl commenced to teach contract bridge ( Goren system) privately. Pupils increased and a small fee was charged and passed on to the Cathedral Parish Anglican Ladies' Guild. Interest continued to grow, so Mrs. Brienl and Mrs. Mary Tringham, wife of the Cathedral Dean and President of the Ladies' Guild, started to think about the possibility of a Bridge Club , which the Guild would support and from which it would benefit.

A steering committee was enlisted to consider the suggestion. This meeting was held on 4th April 1967 and was attended by: Dot Savage, Mary Tringham, Ken Back, Don Thorne and Jack Fraser.

The group was enthusiastic, so promoted an inaugural meeting, which was held on 14th April 1967 and was well attended. Overwhelming decision to form a club resulted, and a Committee was elected. Office bearers were:

President:Jack Fraser
Vice President:Ken Back
Secretary:Don Thorne
Treasurer:Dot Savage
Committee:Mary Tringham
Pat Back

An evening of duplicate bridge followed.

The next meeting of the club was held on Friday 6th June1967, and foundation members were as follows:

Nell Brienl, Ken and Pat Back , Father G.Hare, Harry Dick Jack and Jean Fraser, Mrs & Mr Geurtjes, J & L O'Kane, W & H Lloyd, Don Thorne, M Millard, A.Brabazon, Ida Clancy, A Deane, N White, A Prestidge, Alma Wordswoth, Hope Suthers, M Green, M George, Dot Savage.

The Synod Hall was made available free of charge. Table fees were 40c of which 20c was passed on to the Ladies' Guild, and Mary Tringham undertook to attend to the tea break catering. The annual subscription was $4. New members were steadily attracted, so a second competition was started on Tuesday nights. Soon afterwards another competition was conducted by day and a Sub-club was formed known as the Ladies' Auxiliary with Alma Wordsworth as the first president.

To encourage further members a beginners' class was conducted by Jack Fraser as instructor, assisted by Ida Clancy and Jean Fraser. Lessons were based on a Goren book. Ken and Pat Back, Frank Thorne and Joy Dean had had duplicate experience which was of great value to learners.

By the 31st August 1967, a total of forty members had joined, and by the end of 1968 the following additional members had been accepted into the club:

Arthur and Mary Bloxham, Millie Hansen, Joy Dean, W.Birch, D.Cameron, W & A Davidson,
T Johnston, Rose Hardie, H Wilschefski, Marie Wallace, Dorothea Stewart Margaret Ward,
Nell Craddock, Ella McAllister, Ruby Lowe, Jim and Ettie Fell, Dr & Mrs Joyner, J.Cecil, W Fisher,
D Towart, A Williams, T & A Lamond, Shiela Hoolihan, Mrs Roach, Mr Mesider.

Jack Fraser remembers that other early members of the club included:

E Goldring, Rae Freer, Dorrie Kerr, Richard Ward, J O'Shea, Frank Thomas, L Bracken, M Eastgate, A Smith, M & R Shea, Mr & Mrs Petersen, Edna Scott, Bertha Nehmer, Pat Duckworth, Arnold Duffield, Marg.Bravazon.

Some of these members are still playing regularly to this day.

Jack Fraser continued as President until April 1970 and Ken Back then assumed the Presidency.

Some time later, a decision was made to erect a Clubhouse and this was eventually completed and opened to members at the end of June 1975. It was decided to hold a yearly congress and the first one was held at Lowths' Hotel in June 1972.

The first congress attracted about 14 tables and the first director was Richard Ward. The winners of the pairs were E.Hanran and D Crimston, and the winning team was: B.Bligh, B Kempthorne, B Douglas and P Rainie.

After a couple of years the venue was changed to the Pimlico Refectory.

On one occasion there the weather was so cold, players were asked to bring radiators to help warm the hall. This almost seems unbelievable in our winter climate. In 1977 the Congress was moved to the Senior Citizens' Hall where it was conducted for several years before moving to the Kirwan Function Room and finally to the Police Youth Club.

The record attendance at any one of the congresses was forty tables. The average the last few years has been around thirty three tables.

The club continued to expand - more competitions were included in the calendar:

as well as numerous spoon competitions.

Members now have a choice of playing at any of six sessions a week: four daytime ones and two night time. The most popular session has always been Monday afternoon, which holds the club record for twenty seven tables. Apart from that one occasion, table numbers at this session hover around the twenty mark.

To cater for the growing popularity of the game it was decided to extend the clubhouse in 1985. Unfortunately, due to City Council Regulations, we were unable to make extensions large enough to accommodate our yearly congress. Nevertheless the extensions were completed in 1985 and greatly add to the comfort of members, especially on Mondays.

As well as the yearly congress the Hansen Memorial Shield competition was held over the Australia Day weekend for ten years from 1974 - 1984. This later became the Australian Fixed Trust weekend and subsequently the Townsville Barometer and Swiss Pairs congress.

In 1989 it was decided to venture further a field and hold an out-of-town congress. This first pairs weekend was held at the Burdekin Wilderness Lodge in 1989 and then again in 1990 and now is held at Latitude 19, Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island. These out-of-town congresses create an extra load of work for committee members, but the general members seem to enjoy the change of venue.

The membership has increased and fluctuated over the years; at one stage we were the sixth largest club in Queensland, a tribute to all the hard-working committee members over the years. The current membership is one hundred and thirty five. From humble beginnings our standard of play has improved and we can now boast of having two grand masters in our club: Margaret Ward and Barry Kempthorne. In addition L Kelso and M Mullamphy have been members of the Queensland Youth Team on several occasions. Matt Mullamphy has also been a member of the Australian Youth Team and journeyed overseas as our ambassador. Another former member, L Vincent has represented Australia in the Women's team on two occasions, with her brother R Ward ( also a former member) as non-playing captain. With beginners' classes being run, the club should continue to flourish and prosper.

In conclusion we would like to honour Life Members: Jack Fraser, Ken and Pat Back, and wish to thank all past Presidents and committees, and all our loyal members for their dedication and support, which has resulted in the club's continued success

1967-70Mr Jack Fraser
1970-76Prof Ken Back
1976-77Mr Richard Ward
1978-79Mrs Ettie Fell
1979-83Mr Pat Back
1983-85Mrs Clarice Suthers
1985-87Dr Bruce Bowden
1985-87Dr Leigh Owens
1985-87Dr Bruce Chalker

THE CONGRESS COMMITTEE
5th JUNE 1992