Sunshine Coast Hinterland AFL and Palmwoods cricket club will have a new home with the completion of a $1.46 million clubhouse and change rooms at G Rae Oval in Palmwoods.
Minister for Sport Stirling Hinchliffe said the new clubhouse will be used by players from the Hinterland Blues AFL Club and Palmwoods Cricket Club.
“This modern, inclusive clubhouse includes four female-friendly change rooms, umpire facilities, a new canteen, meeting room, storage area, first-aid room and an improved spectator embankment,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Importantly, the building has been raised above the Q100 flood level to avoid flooding issues which have happened in the past, while there is upgraded electricals so new lights can be installed.
“I’m delighted to see our new partnership with the AFL through the $8 million 2020 AFL Grand Final Facilities Fund start kicking some goals by helping projects like this get off the ground.”
Minister for State Development Steven Miles said a $500,000 investment through the COVID Works for Queensland program helped make the clubhouse a reality.
“The $200 million COVID Works for Queensland program is helping local councils deliver vital infrastructure which create jobs and improve community wellbeing,” Mr Miles said.
“These facilities will allow more people to join their local sporting club and create many positive, far reaching community benefits for years to come.”
Member for Nicklin Robert Skelton said the new facilities are vital so that clubs can keep pace with the growing popularity of their sports.
“Hinterland AFL Club has seen player numbers increase by 63 per cent over the last five years including a 30 per cent jump in junior numbers in 12 months,” Mr Skelton said.
“The old clubhouse has been demolished to make way for a modern clubhouse with dedicated male and female change rooms which will make a huge difference to a club that has played this season out of a six by three donga.”
The works were delivered by Sunshine Coast Regional Council through Murphy Builders who employed 70 local tradies throughout the construction works.
Sunshine Coast Division 5 Councillor Winston Johnston said the Jubilee Drive facility, affectionately known as “The Woods”, has been completed in time for the 2021-22 cricket season which starts next month (October).
“What a terrific kick-start for the Palmwoods Cricket Club’s junior and senior teams this season and a fitting finale for the Hinterland Blues AFL Club to mark the end of a challenging season which saw the seniors make their first grand final appearance in 10 years,” Cr Johnston said.
“Sporting clubs are a critical element of the social fabric of our communities and play an incredibly important role not only in enabling local residents – particularly children and young people – to get active, but they also help to bring communities together and reduce the incidence of social isolation.”
Hinterland Blues President Bruce Bell said the new facilities will provide a massive boost to their future growth and operations.
“Having four change rooms will make the girls more comfortable and increase female participation which is increasingly important as nearly a quarter of our players are female,” said Mr Bell.
“People are already taking a renewed positive outlook on the club and where it’s heading, and we have stemmed the flow of people looking elsewhere for clubs with better facilities.”
The club has 120 senior players and 130 juniors including two senior men’s teams, one senior women’s team and nine junior teams with plans to add another senior men’s team next season.
AFL Facilities and Government Manager (Queensland) Cobey Moore said the planning and development of fit-for-purpose infrastructure plays a vital role in ensuring the game can continue to cater for everyone who wants to be involved.
“This project is a shining example of what can be achieved when stakeholders across government, local communities and the AFL come together for the benefit of people and communities who will use these magnificent facilities,” Mr Moore said.
“The entire team at Council is to be congratulated for the speed of moving this project from concept through to build and now completion in such an efficient manner.”
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said Queensland Cricket and Cricket Australia are delighted to have contributed $100,000 to this project, with the strong emphasis on providing upgraded facilities for all participants.
“We welcome the implementation of female friendly change rooms which are increasingly important due to the growing number of girls and women playing cricket in Queensland,” Mr Svenson said.
“The funding from the Queensland Cricket Infrastructure Fund directly benefits the dedicated volunteer base who help run the game and the many participants who enjoy playing cricket throughout the state.”
Palmwoods Cricket Club President Melinda Shelley said the new and improved facilities now ensures our club has a premier base of operations for our members & visitors to feel at home in.
“Our members are excited to gather as a community again and with the ladies facilities, and provisions for junior night programs, cricket in the hinterland will be strong,” Mrs Shelley said.
“As one of the oldest cricket clubs on the Sunshine Coast, this coming season our growth sees our club as one of the largest senior playing memberships (six senior men’s teams plus a women’s Tier 1 team), and the opportunity for our club to now be in a fit for purpose facility will enable our club to host, and members to compete at the highest levels possible across all competitions.
“Having a facility such as this in the hinterland not only benefits the clubs sharing this facility, but also the local and surrounding communities.
“PCC would like to sincerely thank all relevant parties who have contributed to this project as it will ensure future growth across all levels and sports for years to come.”
The new clubhouse and change rooms are jointly funded by Sunshine Coast Regional Council ($700,000), the Queensland Government’s COVID Works for Queensland program ($500,000), the AFL Grand Final Facilities Fund ($150,000), Queensland Cricket ($100,000) and Nambour and Hinterland AFC ($10,000).
Image: Bruce Bell, Cobey Moore, Cr Winston Johnston, Terry Svenson, Melinda Shelley at Palmwoods clubhouse ribbon cutting.