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Lismore Netball Clubhouse reopens over two years after big flood

The Lismore App

Lara Leahy

07 April 2024, 12:01 AM

Lismore Netball Clubhouse reopens over two years after big floodFormer Australian Diamond netballer, now commentator, Catherine Cox cuts the ribbon to officially reopen the Lismore Netball Clubhouse

The Lismore Netball Clubhouse officially reopened yesterday, ready for use once more after being inundated in the 2022 floods. Clubhouse executives, netball life members, politicians and netball superstars mingled while major sponsor, Woolworths, revealed a surprise $10,000 gift to help them along the next leg of the path. 

 

The president of the Lismore Netball Club, Melissa Dundas, opened the event and spoke passionately about how much the Lismore Netball community meant to her, the sport and Lismore.

 


“Two years ago, where we stand bright now was far from pretty. The water had risen halfway up the second level of the clubhouse. Everything was pretty much gone.” Melissa spoke of the catastrophic flood in 2022 and the effect it had on the club, which operated out of a container to keep the game in play.

 


Melissa described the basic nature of what they were left with, but their community rallied, allowing the sport to go on and be enjoyed as it gave some a “social aspect if only to forget about their personal challenges for at least a little while.”

 

There were some dignitaries that couldn’t make it, ironically due to the weather, but the Netball Australia's CEO, Tracey Scott’s, words were able to be shared with those that attended, “This clubhouse is not just a beautiful facility, it is a symbol of the power and strength of our community sport and how netball brings those together when the chips are down.”

 

The local council, state and federal government sponsors Woolworths, as well as many personal donations from near and far, enabled the clubhouse to be reinstated.

 


Member for Page Kevin Hogan MP acknowledged the life members in attendance and the “work done over the years and decades.” 


Mr Hogan spoke about the importance of community assets and how the state and federal government saw the importance the clubhouse played in the city. He went on to say that, “What brings joy to my heart is that I come here this morning, and I look across these courts, and see the families here, the children having fun, learning how to play netball, how to be good sports and how to be a good part of our community,” and gave thanks to all of those that have contributed.

 

Netball matches were in game all around as the speeches were made, supporting the importance of what was being celebrated.


 

Catherine Cox, ex Australian Diamond, member of the order of Australia (OAM), inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame and Woolworths ambassador for “grassroots netball” stepped forward.


Ms Cox spoke about how she had seen the devastation the floods caused firsthand and how delighted she was to see the kids out there playing on the courts once more. She then got a little emotional before revealing the further $10,000 donation to the Lismore Netball Association to help go towards “the jobs still to be done,” to cheers and applause.


 

Ms Cox spent time with some of the youngest netballers playing Get Set Go. At the end of the team chat, she said, “I feel like this is a full circle moment for myself, so I can only imagine how the association feels about all of this.”


She spoke about her experience post-flood of the “devastation around the whole community, and the netball courts - my area of passion and it was something that we wanted to try and help with if it was possible.”

 

Lismore Netball made a successful bid for the Woolworths Pick Fresh, Play Fresh grant.



“They ended up getting $30,000 that has made all the difference, as you can see here today, and certainly the clubhouse was the biggest component of that, and then another $10,000 today. So it is really special to be a part of this - what this is all about - all these happy smiles and people enjoying the great sport we all love.”

 

Speaking with Lynne Sims, one of the four life members in attendance, she said she became a life member in 2005, which was only part of her 43-year involvement. ”This has meant a lot as I am seeing girls that I coached when I first started, and seeing them coach their children and their children coming to rep now,” Lynne spoke passionately about the people that make up 58 teams that play in 34 games on Saturdays in a range of divisions.

 

We were standing in the “control centre” of the clubhouse. As we were talking about the importance of the clubhouse for coordinating the many aspects of the sport, an alarm went off. Lynne pressed some buttons, which sounded chimes, indicating the end of the first quarter and the beginning of a break in play. She didn't miss a stride and went on to explain, “We have our meetings, classes and coaching clinics here, which makes a difference - look at the view - you really can see everything that is going on.” It is plain to see the advantage the height of the clubhouse gives to training their coaches.


(Lynne Sims, life member of the Lismore Netball Association, microphone in hand overlooking the Lismore Netball Courts) 


“We have been working out of the shipping container, and it is choc-a-bloc, as that was where everything was stored. That was what we worked out of for two years.” Lynne said.


 

The ribbon was cut by former Australian Diamond netballer, now commentator, Catherine Cox to officially declare the clubhouse open, and a large cake and nibbles were enjoyed as part of the celebrations.

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