For more than 90 years, the gentle - but no less competitive - sport of croquet has found a home in Canberra nestled beside Commonwealth Avenue.
But as the city's population expands and ages, the heritage-registered club is full, with a waiting list growing longer by the week.
Canberra Croquet Club captain Peter Freer says the rule of thumb is the club can support 25 members a lawn. The Canberra club already has double that number of members.
"We'd expand here [in Yarralumla] if we could, but every tree you see is heritage listed. So it's basically not a goer. And it's always nice to have other clubs, because then you can have pennant competitions, play home-and-away and things, and step up the competitive croquet in Canberra," Mr Freer said.
Mr Freer said the club had tootled along with about 70 members for many years, before a very successful recruitment drive saw the club's membership climb.
"We do get a trickle of people who are moving into Canberra for various reasons who have played before, and they actually get automatic entry. Everybody else we like to run through a beginner course, which is four two-hour lessons, which gives them a chance to see if it really is for them; some people drop out. But most people think, 'This is really good', and they join," he said.
Canberra is one of the best clubs in Australia. We're not just one of the biggest, but we've also got some really competitive players.Peter Freer
"Canberra is one of the best clubs in Australia. We're not just one of the biggest, but we've also got some really competitive players here, who go off to world championships. We make up about half the NSW state team ... but we've also got a whole range of people who just come here and enjoy playing croquet."
Now the hunt is on for a secondary club site. The privately owned disused tennis centre in Hawker would do, if it were made available for croquet.
"We're keeping an eye out for anything like that. It's a bit early to be eyeing to go into really new suburbs, because they're too busy raising kids and they don't have time for croquet," Mr Freer said.
"But older suburbs like Tuggeranong, it used to be nappy valley 20 years ago but now it's our demographic. Just up in the north Canberra there's a lot of people, that would be a good spot too."
Mr Freer said bowling greens were attractive, and compromises could be made so bowls and croquet could exist on the same site.
"Croquet prefers bowls greens, because they're normally dead flat. They're a nice flat surface, so we love them. But all the bowls clubs in Canberra are already spoken for. They're either solid bowling or else the developers have moved in and are building on them," he said.
An ACT government spokeswoman said ACT sport and recreation has had discussions with the club about growing the sport in the territory.
"There has been no formal approach to the ACT government regarding the provision of a second croquet facility in Canberra. Until a formal approach is made by [Canberra Croquet Club] which clearly identifies the current and future facility requirements of the sport, it cannot be considered by the ACT government," the spokeswoman said.
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