by Wendy Tidbold (21.09.2017)
The Beginning – (1974)
In 1974, Southern Districts Equestrian Group, as it was known then, was formed by two people, Lorraine Crowther and Bob Bull. Lorraine and Bob were members of a club called B.A.R.G. (Brisbane Active Riders Group) which operated on the grounds at Brookfield, opposite the showgrounds. BARG was started in 1969 and run by Ron Patterson, as he felt at the time that the EFA (Equestrian Federation of Australia) were not doing enough for the riders.
Lorraine and Bob were keen to establish an Equestrian Club on the south side of Brisbane knowing that there were many riders in need of somewhere to belong and be part of a club.
So after talking with Jan Toohill and Deb McNickle, who were involved in a club on the Gold Coast, it was decided the south-east corner of Brisbane was a good place to start. An advertisement was run in the Courier Mail calling for riders and interested people to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming an Equestrian Club.
Well they were pleasantly surprised at the number of people (20 to 30) that turned out for the meeting which was held in the Slacks Creek hall. After some discussion, it was decided to establish the Southern Districts Equestrian Group (SDEG). Bob Bull was president and Lorraine Crowther was secretary.
First SDEG Grounds, Slacks Creek – (1974 - 1976)
The next task was to find suitable grounds. The Slacks Creek & Runcorn Pony Club grounds were subsequently found in 1974 on the corner of Paradise Road and the old Pacific Highway at Slacks Creek. (BARG finally folded and a lot of their members joined SDEG.)
Everyone had lots of fun running dressage and show jumping days once a month, Peter Mullins, an experienced show jumper, would come and instruct, there was a strong show jumping group of riders. Combined training days were run where riders did a dressage test first, followed by a show jumping round.
Dalson Park, Slacks Creek – (1976 – 1981)
Around 1976, the club moved to Dalson Park, Nujooloo Road, Slacks Creek. The first instructors were Lynn Mc Donald and Ruth Emery from Sydney instructing in dressage. Then there was Caloman De Bolgar originally from Hungary, but who lived in New Zealand. Phyllis Murphy also came and gave lessons and schools from time to time.
The club would draw quite large entries for the dressage days with often up to 80 riders. Arlene Worsley (Palmquist) came up from Melbourne at that time and joined SDEG. Dalson Park was owned and operated by Pat Dale, who years before it was in joint ownership with Tina Sampson. The name evolved from both of their names to come up with “ Dalson Park”. Later, the partnership dissolved and Pat became the sole owner.
Pat Dale attracted a lot of top trainers and instructors from all around the world coming to the centre including Major Tor Burman who was from the Spanish riding School. Joan Ferris (McQuillan) often came as well. Rhonda Dudco – Anderson worked as manager and instructor at Dalson Park from 1977 to 1980. Jim O’Farrell and Paula Price (De Visa) also instructed at Dalson Park.
In 1983, Pat Dale featured in a special Gala evening event at Pine Lodge performing a riding display on her horse “Panache”. The evening was also attended by Captain Mark Phillips who was at the time married to Princess Anne. Russell Davidson riding Motown won the knock-out stakes and Kerrie Johnstone took out second place on her grey gelding. Sadly, on her way home that night from this event, Pat Dale was involved in a tragic car accident at Burbank on Mt Cotton Road just past Cooee Street, which took her life and the lives of two other people. She was a great loss to the horse world.
Loraine Crowther and Julie Lyneham were at Dalson Park in 1979 / 1980 and there were advertisements for dressage clinics run by Toni Manca, Paula Price (Devisa), Sally Evans and a few other instructors to be held at Dalson Park. Julie would walk to Dalson Park to pay her entry fees to save postage stamps. The clinics ran over 2 days Saturday / Sunday. Bill Braun also was present.
Bethania – (1981 – 1988)
In 1981 new grounds were found in Station Road, Bethania, at Sylvia and Nelson Raebels property where there was plenty of space to hold eventing and show jumping as well as dressage events. Everyone was very keen to help with the grounds and set-up, there would probably have been about 50 acres that we could use, all cleared and reasonably level ground. I think the land went all the way through to Loganlea Road.
Ken Smith who lived across the road was always there to help and do any chores, he loved show jumping and along with Russell Davidson and Lindsay Hassall, there were plenty of enthusiastic helpers to set-up jump courses. Russell and Lindsay built a club house for us to store our gear.
As the Bethania grounds were not suitable for the holding of official days, for many years we held lots of dressage and show jumping days at the Runcorn Pony Club grounds and the Beenleigh Show grounds.
While at Bethania, we had around 80 members to name some who come to mind were Bill Tremble, Arlene Worsley (Palmquist) , Jenny Rykoff, Wendy Tidbold, Russell Davidson, Lindsay Hassell and wife Cheryl. Arlene Worsley (Palmquist) was secretary of the club. Jenny Rykoff and Kerrie Johnstone joined the club at Bethania around 1986. Kerrie did show jumping and cross-country riding. There was a lady named Judy riding a lovely chestnut horse at our club who went on to ride at the Gawler international cross-country event. She had a bad fall at a water jump, but fortunately both horse and rider got up and continued on their way.
Southern Districts Equestrian Group ran the show jumping leg of the World Cup at Kooralbyn in 1988, one week before the Brisbane EKKA, with the Rycrofts competing in their best show jumping style as a runner-up to the EKKA. SDEG also ran a single “once–off “show jumping event at “Ballymore Park” in Brisbane.
Janette Dawson was club secretary from 1984 to 1988. She joined the club in 1983 at Bethania. Janette used an early model computer “Aston Tate” at her work to type the minutes and later the first model word processor was used to do the minutes at night after work.
“Lets Hope” Parkridge – (1989)
From Bethania, we moved to a property at Parkridge which was owned by a German man. The property was called “Lets Hope”. As the property was not very big, we only stayed 6 months here, continuing with our show jumping and dressage.
Pine Lodge, Thornlands – (1989 – 1993)
This time, we moved to Pine Lodge in Taylor Road, Thornlands on their 200 acre (80 hectare) property opposite the indoor arena on the other side of the road. Pine Lodge was a hive of equestrian activity in those days always had a lot of shows and competitions occurring in the indoor arena.
The ground had a reasonable slope but we managed to set-up arenas and show jumps without too much hassle, some being uphill and some downhill. At that time, there was a small brick building on the hill with a toilet, if you could call it that, amid the spiders, rubbish, etc. but it was somewhere to store our jumps, arenas and equipment, although some things were taken home by members for safe keeping as the building could not be locked..
Jenny Rykoff was president / secretary for a while. (that’s where Wendy Tidbold cleared her first show jumping course riding “side saddle”) everyone was standing – by ready to call the ambulance, but her lovely big thoroughbred took her around without a hiccup and proved that it is just as easy to ride in side saddle as astride over jumps.
We held official dressage days at Rocklea Showgrounds and had some of the biggest days ever, people would come from far and wide to compete at SDEG. Around that time, we had a name change to Redlands & Southern Districts Equestrian Group (RASDEG).
Judy Holt Park, Birkdale – (1993 – 2000)
In 1993, we moved from Pine Lodge to Judy Holt Park at Birkdale, an old dump site that the Council had prepared and given to us. However, that was the start of a lot of hard work to get the grounds to our liking as there was no grass. First, a fence had to be built by the club, we brought a shipping container to store our equipment in (which got broken into a couple of times) and the grounds had to be seeded, top dressed and then watered.
We purchased three large sprinklers and long hoses to water the large area which was done on a roster system where members were allotted a time to go up and move the sprinklers. The last roster had to store the sprinklers and hoses away in the shipping container at night. We built an awning off the shipping container, which gave shade, but it was also vandalized and had to be repaired.
The Council gave us lots of trees to plant, well, yes they were trees, 6 inches tall. Sadly we were not there long enough to reap the benefit of their shade.
We were at Judy Holt Park for seven years when suddenly the Redland Shire Council said we had to move on as they wanted the grounds for cricket. Well, that was a big knock as we had spent a lot of sweat, tears and money to make the grounds good for the club’s use. We were not about to just walk out. So we dug our toes in and said we wanted to move to the Cleveland showgrounds. Very reluctantly, the Council agreed to using the showgrounds and that’s where we started our program in 2000.
Cleveland Showgrounds – (2000 – 2010)
We moved to the showgrounds in 2000 and back then they were real showgrounds where for years the annual agricultural show was held together with the Strawberry Festival. They also had the trots each week. There was a white fence around the entire track making it perfect for our club as horses were safe within the centre of the grounds.
A small two story “starter’s box” building located at the edge of the track served perfectly for gear check, scorers office and equipment storage. In the last few years we were there, the agricultural show attendances declined until it finally stopped. The Council decided to refurbish the showgrounds, including additional sports fields and yes, we were turfed out once again with nowhere to go.
While at Cleveland, Wendy Tidbold was awarded the club’s first Life Membership in recognition for being President for 11 years, my over 35 years club membership and all the work I put in with other committee members with council unsuccessfully searching for other grounds.
Wynnum Pony Club, Tingalpa – (2010 – 2015)
We moved to the Wynnum Pony Club grounds at the start of 2010 sharing their grounds between their various events. We really didn’t want to move outside the Redlands where we had been for over 25 years but we had no choice.
It was at Wynnum that Yvette Vlies was made a life member in recognition of all the work she put into the club over a number of years, together with a lot of other members who have worked very hard at keeping the RASDEG going.
During our time at Wynnum in both 2012 and 2013, Jill Strachan organized an official dressage competition at the Doomben Racecourse. Whilst the days involved a lot of work, including transporting all our arenas to Doomben, riders came from all over the State to participate at a great and very unique venue.(used for playing polo)
Redlands Pony Club, Thornlands – (2016 – Current)
Finally in 2016 we were able to return to the Redlands and share the Redland Pony Club grounds at Thornlands.
History of RASDEG Grounds
Years, Grounds (# of years)
1974-1976, Slacks Creek (2 yrs)
1976-1981, Slacks Creek (6 yrs)
1981-1988, Bethania (7 yrs)
1989, Parkridge (6 mths)
1989-1993, Thornlands (5 yrs)
1993-2000, Birkdale (8 yrs)
2000-2010, Cleveland (11 yrs)
2010-2015, Wynnum (5 yrs)
2016 -Current, Thornlands
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