History_1920-1940 - The Ground and its Management

Throughout this period the maintenance, improvement, and use of the ground was dealt with by the committee of management. This committee made up of representatives of the local progress associations and sporting clubs, was responsible for the fund raising on which any ground improvements depended. In 1921 the cricket club requested that a new concrete wicket be laid, and that the ground surface improved. Both these requests were delayed by lack of funds. However the management committee was most enterprising in its fund raising activities. At one stage the ground was rented to a Mr Morris as grazing for his horse. An annual carnival was held with sideshows and stalls. The proceeds from all these activities plus ground rents fro the cricket club (now paying 2.2.0 a year), the football club, the lacrosse club and the athletics club, resulted in the arena being enclosed by a picket fence, which the Chairman, Councillor Bellmaine, had secured (in circumstances that are not altogether clear) from the Camberwell Gardens.

The reserve itself (as distinct from the playing area) was enclosed by a paling fence, and both the football and cricket clubs made repeated applications to the management committee for permission to charge spectators for entry to the ground. Permission was refused. During the depression the palings from the fence became a popular source of firewood, and by the end of 1934 the committee decided to dismantle what remained of it.

Fresh from its premiership success of 1937/38 the club was looking around for further challenges. The Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association had commenced a turf competition, and the committee at Canterbury felt that playing on turf could open the way for Canterbury to play higher cricket. Councillor Roy Dimmick played a crucial role in turf wickets being installed at Canterbury. Not only was he mayor of Camberwell, but he was also chairman of the management committee and president of the cricket club. With support from the management committee and splendid co-operation from the council's Division of Parks & Gardens, the cricket club was successful in having Merri Creek soil procured and installed at Canterbury.

The era of turf had arrived at Canterbury.

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Don Hegarty
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