Lilydale Recreation Ground

Councillor LA Proctor first broached the idea of obtaining a loan to purchase land for a recreation ground at a council meeting early in 1913. It was decided to form a committee of ratepayers to collect information as to where  a suitable piece of land might be obtained and  price of same.

At the May 1913 council meeting Mr Proctor reported that a committee had met and that Mr Bardenhagen had offered 8 acres of land @ £30 an acre and Mr Proctor Snr would dispose of the cricket pitch for £40 per acre.

A newspaper report in July 1914 stated:

Some time ago a poll of ratepayers was taken at Lilydale with a view to borrow £400 to purchase land for a recreation ground but owing to a difference of opinion as to the site the necessary two thirds majority was not achieved.

Since then those who favour the site up Doaks Road have not been idle. A limited liability company was formed of 700 shares at £1 a share and enough shares have been sold to  warrant the purchase of the land. The terms Mr Bardenhagen has agreed to are £50 down, £50 in 6 months and the balance can remain if required for seven years @ 5%. The terms were agreed to as £10 per year could be obtained from sheep grazing and this would just about pay the interest.

It was stated that the ground, which is situated a short distance up Doaks Road, although a bit rough with some furrows, is the best natural ground available.

A further report late in July 1914 stated:

A recreation ground for Lilydale is now a certainty, it being  surveyed and the company floated.

By the end of October 1914 several successful working bees had been held under the supervision of Mr W M Sulzberger.

The first show held at the new ground was in April 1918 and the new show building was described as a “substantial and commodious wooden structure”. The Warden of Lilydale Mr GE Archer had the honour of welcoming His Excellency Sir Francis Newdegate (Governor of Tasmania) to Lilydale. He and other officialdom were entertained to lunch in the new building, a section being curtained off.

Sir Francis formally opened the show and expressed hope that the war would soon be brought to an honourable conclusion

Of course shows are no longer held but the 90 year old building is still in use by the Lilydale Football Club for wet weather training and changing rooms. The ground itself is kept in apple pie order thanks mainly to the voluntary efforts of one local gentleman. There is also a dedicated band of volunteers who carry out minor repairs and other jobs as necessary.

One resident remembers…. Basketball games were played in the building at times. Badminton was very popular once. I remember one year birds got in through some broken windows and made a fair mess on the floor. The daytime badminton ladies got the fire truck to come and opened the doors at both ends, turned on the fire hose and scrubbed the floor. Once there were two Lilydale pennant teams, daytime ladies, social evening club and juniors on Friday nights. Many will remember the fun times had, especially the home made suppers at home pennant games and the open fire was a real boon on those cold Lilydale nights.

 The Showbuilding in Doaks Road is ninety years old



 The ground is kept in apple pie order by local volunteers

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