WHEN Federal Member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly speaks to the positive impact of local sporting clubs, he does so from a position of personal experience.
Last Thursday evening, Dr Kelly formally opened the new Freebody Oval pavilion in a ceremony also attended by Cricket ACT Chief Executive Mark Vergano, Queanbeyan District Cricket Club president Peter Solway and mayor Cr Tim Overall.
Dr Kelly has long been a key supporter of the project, playing a major role in securing $1.3 million in Federal Government funding to get the facility off the ground.
“In my young days I had pretty difficult circumstances and my football club was basically my family,” Dr Kelly said. “The people who ran that club got me on the straight and narrow where I could have gone off on a bad path so sport has always been a critical part of my life.
“It was a bit of a battle just to get this facility built so I was just pleased and proud to have been able to fight hard and to get this money.
“The Queanbeyan Cricket Club has been one of the outstanding cricketing organisations in NSW over the past 150 years and has earned this pavilion through its own blood, sweat and tears over many years.”
Thursday’s ceremony was the culmination of a club gala day, celebrating the pavilion’s opening some 15 years after a new facility for the site was first proposed.
While home to the QDCC, the pavilion will also serve the Queanbeyan Kangaroos during the winter months and will be available for use by various community organisations.
“The beautiful thing about this pavilion is that it’s going to be a multi-user facility,” Dr Kelly said. “Not only will the Bluebags be able to use it, but also the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and organisations like Rotary and Lions. It will be a suitable venue for a lot of community activities.”