A Cricket History – Maleny and District

A look at the long history of cricket in our district, as recorded by Vince Carbery. Here are some extracts.
“The actual commencement of cricket in Maleny is thought to have commenced in the mid 1920’s officially.  On November 9, 1903, Kenilworth played host to a team from Teutoberg (Witta). The Teutoberg team won the match by 32 runs. Names such as Bergann, Bobermein, Cox and Sommer are still associated with this area. From earliest times it is obvious that cricket formed an important part of the lives of the early settlers. In 1925, Carl Nothling, foundation President of the Witta Cricket Club and a councillor in the Landsborough Shire Council, had a motion passed that the club would never have to pay rates.  The late Aub Cork once mentioned 1927 as a possible starting point for the Maleny Cricket Club starting at the Maleny Showgrounds.
Pre and post the Second World War it was customary for teams from Brisbane to visit Maleny and Witta and play a game of cricket against Witta-Maleny. These games were a prelude to the cricket season and played in September and were an important social event. A reciprocal visit to the Brisbane clubs took place also. Records show that this contact started as far back as 1933. Cricket was suspended during the war years.
Many clubs made up the Maleny and District Association in its hey day. As well as Maleny and Witta, other clubs were Elaman Creek, Baroon Pocket, Kenilworth, Lower Kenilworth, Landsborough and at one stage Witta and Elaman combined. Up until the early seventies there was no such thing as junior cricket. Any young boy wishing to play the game joined in the senior ranks and served his appreticeship by batting number eleven and fielding at fine leg until he did something spectacular.
About 1978 the club decided to build a new oval which required a great deal of earthworks and some blasting and so the Aub Cork Oval came into being. With the initial success of our teams in the coast competition, it was realised to field a First Division team we would need a turf wicket – which was built on the Dave Hankinson Oval. The late Clem Jones, the curator at the Gabba, gave advice. We brought in soil from Rob Cork’s property at Witta which was put through a hammer mill at Ken Murtagh’s Kenilworth property before being used as top dressing. Soil was also obtained from the Ipswich area. It was interesting to hear Clem Jones comment that he would have tried the local red soil first.  This wicket was first used on November 16, 1985.
After the passing of the horse era, the motor vehicle solved many transport problems. On numerous occasions an over-loaded ute with an enthusiastic team of cricketers on board or an car with people standing on running boards, and hanging on for dear life, could be seen heading to a cricket ground somewhere from Maleny to Lower Kenilworth and all cricketing points in between. On other occasions the local cream carrier came to the rescue. We have now turned full circle with most individuals providing their own transport.
It would do well for all our present day cricketers to be thankful for the surfaces on which they play this great game today. The only mowing that was done on some grounds in the past was achieved by the local cows. Of course that created another hazzard. Occasionally a local farmer would slash the grass and the field would resemble a paddock of hay ready for baling.
Many players had lengthy playing lives. Probably, Ike Lowe, who played much of his cricket at Witta, would most likely have racked up fifty years, spanning World War 2, as he played on into his seventies. Len Lowe and Vince Carbery both commenced as twelve year olds and played into their sixties, also making the fifty years. In our case it was consecutive seasons. There may well have been others.”
Photo: Maleny Cricket Team 1928
BACK L – R: Ross Skerman, Jack Hurwood, T. Clem, Jack Cobbe, G. Jones, Dave Hankinson
FRONT L – R: Bob McClean, Clive Nothling, Clarence Cork, Cliff Cranney, Bert Cranney