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History of the Toowoomba Hockey Associations

History recalls that Women's Hockey was started in Toowoomba in 1928 by a former Brisbane player, Mrs Alma Byrne (nee Small), with the first meeting being held in Duncan Thompson's Sports Store. The original three teams were Whynot, Dehradoon and Gumnut. A team called Collegians entered in 1930, whilst in 1931 Gumnut added a second team and another team, Bluebirds, a St James Church team, entered in the competition. Toowoomba women applied for and were granted affiliation with the Queensland Hockey Association in 1929. Toowoomba's first ever internationally selected player came along in 1930 when Ella Ritson was picked in an Australian team. Unfortunately Ella never got to actually play a match.

Men's Hockey began its first tentative steps to existence in 1928 when a group joined together to play a sport similar to hockey with lumps of wood from a birch and anything that could be 'whacked' around. During their early years, impromptu games were played at what is now known as Coronation Park in Stephen Street where this group of players were joined by a number of the 'fair' sex and two teams were formed and a match played. In March 1931 a meeting was called to form the first Toowoomba Men's Hockey Association. The first ever coach during this period of hockey in Toowoomba was Rex Clyde who played hockey in England. (Father of Sid & Len Clyde).

In 1932 a club called Chronicle was entered in the competition as was a team called Gatton Stars and in 1933 a club called Western Suburbs appeared. By now a club we are to this day well familiar with, Newtown Hockey Club, came into existence as did yet another team called Kia Ora and one called Carlton. In 1939 a team called 25th Battalion began playing and in 1940 Past Tech appeared on the scene. 1957 was to be a momentous year in the history of Toowoomba Hockey when the previous separate men and women's Associations joined to begin the modern era of Toowoomba Hockey Association. Sid Clyde, who our playing fields are named after, was our Association's first President. In a show of togetherness for our newly formed Association, Bob Wilson from the previous TMHA and Fay Denny from the previous TWHA were elected joint Secretaries.

In 1961 through the efforts of Ned Hagan and Sid Clyde, Past High reformed starting off with only seven players. A women's club called Red Robins was playing in the women's competition and joined up with the Past High men, surviving to become the Past High of today. In 1962 Len Giltrow, who was playing with Newtown, decided to form another new club and he called this new club Rangeville. Then in 1973 the Northern Suburbs Club came into existence thus being the giving us the 5 major clubs who currently make up the Toowoomba Hockey Association.

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Home of Toowoomba Hockey

New Club's Slab

As hockey progressed in Toowoomba, one thing was lacking - a permanent Home Ground. After years of playing at different venues such as Godsall Street and other Queens Park venues, Harristown Park, Gould Park and Newtown Park, in 1978 the move to Clyde Park was made. A Committee comprising the then THA Officials, Eliott, Bob Stannett, Ron Jago, Ross Ibell, Adrian Pember, Adrian Bentley, Perry Childs, Ned Hagan and others, looked at other areas of Toowoomba but finally settled for the 10 acres of land that is now Clyde Park, purchased for a princely sum of $15,000.00. The name of our playing facility was settled upon in honour of one of the past forefathers of hockey in our city in the late Sid Clyde, a Past President and State player who was tragically killed in a car accident before he could see our modern facility.

A special tribute must be paid to the working Committee of Ron Jago, Perry Childs, Adrian Pember and Bob Stannett, Ned Hagan and Justin McErlean who were instrumental in developing our current facility. Our early days of Clyde Park saw 6 grass fields and one small shed serving as Club House and amenities. Current day players may be interested to learn how we grassed our original playing surfaces. Fred Knecht, father of former Groundsman, Russell, would gouge a furrow in the ground with his tractor, a working bee would be called and as many members as we could muster would dig up kikuyu runners from their yards, bring them to Clyde Park, drop them into the furrows, kick dirt over them and hope it would grow.One could argue that Toowoomba's climb to the top of the hockey fraternity in Queensland began when, with the drive of our then President, Harry Garden (1990-2001), we proceeded to acquire our first artificial sand surface. Toowoomba businessman Clive Berghofer played a major roll in financing the first artificial surface before THA took the next step of upgrading to a water based field. Along with the new water based field, the development of a new club house was commenced and this was opened in 2008.