Croquet appealed to all ages and both sexes: a party at Bishopscourt, Hobart, about 1880 (ALMFA, SLT)
Croquet arrived in Tasmania in the 1860s, but from the 1880s was overshadowed in popularity by tennis. Some felt this a pity since croquet was one game men and women played on equal terms. It became more popular from 1903, with clubs formed in Hobart and Launceston then in country centres, mainly for women. Tasmania's first championships were held in 1913.
Croquet declined during wartime, but otherwise continued quietly, with occasional bursts of enthusiasm. The first Australian Croquet Carnival was held in Launceston in 1952, new clubs appeared in the 1960s, and Jack Read, Hedley Gunton and Harold Clemons – all men despite the claim of equality – were national players. Croquet never had mass appeal and again declined from the 1970s, but in 2003 Tasmanian clubs contained over 300 registered players.
Further reading: D Young, Sporting Island, Hobart, 2005.
Alison Alexander and David Young