Jean Armstrong* (2023)

Elsie Baner* (2023)

Creina Dawson (2023)

George H Gordon* (2023)

Tony Hall (2023)

Sir MacPherson Robertson KBE* (2022)



Inducted 2023

Jean’s principal strength was to get new players to begin playing and then to continue to play the game.  She was tenacious and players came under her spell and became determined to do well guided by her expert tuition.  Although a stroke in her nineties meant that she could no longer play or coach, she remained a fount of knowledge of the game until the end of her life.

Jean had an enviable record of success stories with the people she coached.  Altogether, twelve people who had their first game with her went on to become State players.  She and husband Tom spent two years of their lives teaching croquet in colleges and Centres of Adult Education hoping to develop players that would be able to beat England in the MacRobertson Shield.  However, only two first class players emerged in the shape of Neil Spooner and Robert Bartholomaeus.

Between 1969 and 1971, Jean taught croquet five days a week in six colleges.  Saturday matches were organised, and the mothers liked this because the croquet court became a social meeting place.  Competitions were arranged at the South Australian Croquet Association Headquarters with as many as 48 turning out on a Saturday morning.

Jean started at Westminster School in 1969.  Six of the boys became croquet players and joined Brighton Croquet Club.  They played in the Pennants and won the Pennant for Brighton but there wasn’t a Pennant for the school.  At SACA headquarters hands went up in horror at the thought of two pennants!  So, Barrie Chambers gave one to the school and history was made – a pennant for the Club and a pennant for the School.

Although Jean worked very hard in schools and colleges, she found that it was not a great source of croquet players.  It seemed that the younger a player starts croquet, the earlier they leave the game!  Possibly one reason was that the girls found the clothing restrictions irksome.  One girl was criticized because she went without a hat!

Recruiting new club members was the area where Jean had an amazing record and it is believed that there were about 300 who became registered croquet players through her efforts.  In Jean’s words, “I think the main thing is that once we’ve got them, we haven’t lost them!”

Marion Croquet Club was one of Jean’s crowning glories in recruiting.  The five lawns were first used in February 1983.  Within about nine months, there was a membership of forty, almost thirty of them new to croquet.  At its peak Marion had over 100 members.  First new members were a trickle and then became a flood.  It proved that new players are the best recruiters.  Jean’s first strategic aim was to make the new players enthusiastic.  She did this by playing Golf Croquet until they were hooked and then devoted time to making them knowledgeable in the game.

She had another recruitment triumph in Rockhampton.  She stayed there for six weeks and recruited twelve fully paid-up members who had never thought of playing croquet.  The Club President arranged for her to be interviewed on TV and this certainly helped – as four of the recruits were from the TV station!

Jean had more success at Barmera which was also started from nothing.  The courts were laid, croquet gear was lent to them and soon there were twenty-seven players.

For many years, Jean liaised with what was then known as the National Fitness Council (now Recreation and Sport).  She participated in their Recreation for Housewives Scheme, mostly in the city of Brisbane but, on one occasion, a three-day visit to Barmera was arranged.  There a most enthusiastic group was coached on the Oval and, when the irrigation programme drove them off, Jean persuaded a nearby hotel to lend a piece of ground where a two court complex was laid out.

Jean Armstrong is one of those rare individuals who combined the development of excellence in sport combined with the encouragement of the ‘also rans’.  She did not discriminate between a potential state or international player and a person who had difficulty in walking.  She simply loved Croquet and her enthusiasm was infectious and enduring.


Inducted 2023

She was initially a member of the Croquet Section of the Ringwood Bowling Club and from 1938 through to her passing a member of the Croquet Section of the Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club, Victoria.

Elsie’s ability to master the game in a relatively short time was truly remarkable. She began play in late 1933 and within a matter of months, in May 1934, she became the club champion. Later that year she won the C Grade Metropolitan Championship for which she was awarded the A. Bonville Were Bronze Medal. She then won a number of matches across the metropolitan area and in February 1936 she was awarded the English Silver Medal, which, in Victoria, was awarded by the V.C.A. for competition between selected B Grade players from 1918 to WWII.

Elsie was celebrated by her peers as “a natural” and a “delight to watch” and throughout her formal and informal correspondence there were ongoing references to her “brilliant and unprecedented success”, “outstanding play”, “marvellous performance” alongside the “grace and elegance of her style”. Her rise from a C Grade to an A Grade player within the space of just three years was widely acknowledged by her peers as “a unique record in the croquet world”—her name featuring extensively in newspaper coverage of various matches and competitions over the next three decades.

In the late 1930s, Elsie won a number of Victorian Country Week tournaments including the A Class Singles Handicap and the A Class Doubles Championship for two years in succession. This was quite a feat given that 700 matches were played across the one week.

In the 1930s, Elsie had broken records to establish herself as a croquet player of some note, yet each decade in Elsie’s career was to display its own character, its own tour de force. In the 1940s she achieved numerous awards at a state level, in the 1950s at a state and national level, and during the 1960s she won the highest awards available in Australia and was celebrated as the “evergreen champion of champions”.

During the 1940s, prior to the formation of the Australian Croquet Council (later the Australian Croquet Association), the states organised their own competitions. Elsie was winner of the inaugural V.C.A. Tregallas Trophy (undefeated for the season) in 1941 and the Wren Memorial State Championship also in 1941. She was awarded the Victorian Open Singles championship on seven occasions from the 1940s to the 1960s, and on three occasions – over the space of one decade – she remained undefeated for the season. She was also co-winner of the Victorian Open Doubles Championship in nine seasons from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. In 1951, she was one of ten senior A Grade players in Victoria selected to compete for the high-ranking A. Glen Roberts Trophy and she was the successful competitor in this event.

After the formation of the A.C.C. in 1949, Elsie was the Wall Cup winner in the inaugural Australian Singles Championship held in 1950 and co-winner of the inaugural Australian Doubles Championship held the same year. She won the Australian Open Singles Championship undefeated in 1953 and the Australian Open Doubles Championship in 1950 and 1952. She was a member of the Victorian Team competing for the Australian Interstate Cup (also known as the Eire Cup from 1948) on 14 occasions, Captain on five occasions, and a member of the winning team on six occasions.

Elsie went on to win the Australian Croquet Association Gold Medal in 1955, 1961 and 1965. In this timeframe, the states could affiliate directly to the English Croquet Association, and Elsie was one of the rare players to win the English Silver Medal on three occasions.

Elsie was a valued member of the Croquet Section of the Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club from 1938 and was a multiple winner of club championships. She served the Club’s Croquet Section as Honorary

Secretary and President, as a member of the Works and Finance Committee, and as the Croquet Section Delegate to the General Committee of the Recreation Club. Further, she was an accredited coach and mentored many players particularly in the C grade. In 1970, Elsie was awarded a lifemembership by the Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club, Croquet Section for her zeal, aptitude, geniality, devotion to any task, and for the honour she had brought to the Club over the course of three decades.

Some of her honours and achievements were attained during relative periods of change in the sport either due to the constraints of the Second World War or from the resurgence of male players back into Croquet. Travel to interstate venues in the mid-20th century was also much more difficult and time consuming than it is today. From the early 1960s, Elsie’s play was increasingly hampered by the onset of health issues affecting her eyesight, movement and agility, and she stood back from competition croquet towards the end of the decade. Although she was still winner, and runner-up, in key state and national events, and the winner of Australian Gold and English Silver Medals in 1961 and 1965, all these circumstances would combine to deny her any chance of representing her country in the MacRobertson Shield and various other international competitions.

Victorians Star in WA Croquet—Victoria’s undefeated win in the Australian Croquet Carnival in Perth last week was followed by a brilliant performance by a Victorian in the singles championship. Mrs. F. Baner, Glen Iris, went through without losing a game to take the singles title. The new Australian champion has been consistently brilliant in pennant and other tournaments in Victoria in recent years. Her success in this year’s Australian title, in which all six states were competing, is the result of tireless practice on the lawns at Glen Iris. Victoria’s win in team and singles events, both without loss, is their greatest success yet in interstate tournaments. The Herald, 5 December 1953 p 30.



Inducted 2023

Creina Dawson has been one of Australia’s most prominent players, administrators, and general contributors over the last forty years.

As a croquet player, Creina has achieved outstanding results at local, State, National and International level.  She has won the Association Croquet Women’s Singles in Australia, England and New Zealand and won the Australian National Golf Croquet Handicap Singles in 2008.

Creina has represented Australia in the Trans-Tasman Test Series against New Zealand on six occasions.  Five were in the Women’s Trans-Tasman Tests held from 1988 to 1997 and the sixth was in 2004.

At State level, she is a Player Life Member of the South Australian Croquet Association by virtue of being an Association Croquet State Team member on at least ten occasions.  Since the inception of the Golf Croquet Interstate Shield, Creina has represented South Australia on five occasions.

As an administrator, Creina served as the ACA Events Manager and Vice-President before becoming President of the Australian Croquet Association from 2003 to 2005.  She also took on the role of ACA Secretary for part of 2005 to 2006.  Creina has served on numerous committees over the years, including National Handicapping Committee and has organized and participated in the Jean Armstrong Shield, which is a competition attracting twelve women players from all states and New Zealand, since its inception in 1998.

At club level, Creina has always been a willing mentor for new club players and always makes herself available for Brighton Club’s inter-club local competition teams in both Association and Golf Croquet.  Her croquet career is an excellent example of all-round achievement and a major contribution to the games of croquet.


Inducted 2023

Mr George Hollinworth Gordon, 1846-1923, was relatively unknown to modern day croquet but he was a driving force for the sport of croquet in its formative years in Australia, particularly in New South Wales.

Mr. Gordon took a keen interest the community and in pastoral affairs, was chairman of the Warialda Pastures Protection Board for many years, president of the Agricultural Society, president of the Inverell Picnic Race Club, Vegetable Creek Tin-mining Co, and was identified with many other district affairs.

After Mr. Gordon ceased to take an active part in pastoral affairs, he resided in Sydney on his retirement (10 years) where croquet was one of his favorite pastimes. His station, Gragin station, was noted for its well-bred horses, its Shorthorn cattle, and the quality of its merino sheep.

Early records are scarce, but Mr Gordon was President of the Croquet Association of NSW 1913, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1922. He was also the driving force in establishing major events in Sydney including attempts to get an Interstate Tournament up and running. Mr Gordon was the first person to propose an Australian ruling body and in the interim was instrumental in getting NSW to affiliate with the English Croquet Association.

He proposed the first GoldMedal tournaments with medals donated by the English Croquet Association. (This resulted in the English body altering its constitution to allow Commonwealth Associations in Australia and other nations to affiliate to them.) Handy perhaps when there was no national body to join! This GoldMedal competition practice began in 1909 and spread throughout the other states and indeed countries as they affiliated to the English body.

In NSW he agitated the council for the use of the lawns at Rushcutters Bay, later Sydney Croquet club, trying to stop the likely loss of the lawns to the increasing popularity of Lawn Tennis. He had some success in that the council kept a set of croquet equipment on hand for the public to use if they leased the court.

In 1920 he championed a need to improve the standard of play which was lagging in NSW at that time. He was also the first recorded advocate for a national croquet association to bring all the states together in an Australian body.

He no doubt used his ability to travel the country so extensively in the period either side of World War One to try and build support for this national croquet body. (It never came to fruition for him but nearly 40 years later this came into being.)

He was NSW Gold Medallist in 1915, Open winner in 1916, Tasmanian Open winner in 1918, Queensland Open winner in 1907 and 1912, Queensland Mixed doubles winner in 1912 and 1913.

George won numerous events in NSW and in Victoria and Queensland where he was a frequent visitor. He made one trip to Western Australia, 1913, to play. Quite a major undertaking back in those days performing well and winning the Open doubles with Mrs Holdsworth.


Inducted 2023

Tony Hall has devoted himself to croquet for more than twenty years, both as a player and an administrator.  He served as an active and ambitious President of the World Croquet Federation from 1998 to 2003 and then promptly undertook the role of Treasurer of the Australian Croquet Association from 2004 to 2012.  Before becoming President of the World Croquet Federation, he had served as as President of his club and of the Croquet New South Wales and as the Senior Vice-President of Australian Croquet Association.

Tony spent 38 years in the Australian Army, joining in 1949 and serving overseas in the Antarctic, Malaya, England, Thailand, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea.  He retired as a full Colonel in 1987 and was awarded the OBE. He gained considerable administrative experience both as an officer and from playing and being actively involved in the administration of hockey, squash, and swimming.  He helped to start a hockey club, was secretary of the Canberra Veterans Hockey Association for three years and represented his State for ten years.  He served as the treasurer of a squash club for 14 years and spent ten years administering a swimming club in which time he became a senior swimming referee and was made a life member of the club after it became the top club in Australia.  His involvement with swimming also gave him direct experience of high-level sports politics with the New South Wales and Australian Swimming Associations.

He took up croquet in 1989 became Secretary of the Canberra Croquet Club within months of joining and then its Treasurer after two years.  As President of Croquet NSW from 1993 to 1996, he visited all NSW clubs, helping to increase membership from 48 to 62 clubs in three years.  During his term as President of the WCF he visited all 24 countries who were then members and ten other potential members.

In 1998 to 2006, he acted as chairman of the first WCF Golf Croquet Rules Committee and then continued to serve as Australia’s representative until 2013.  The adoption of the new rules in 2001 are widely regarded as greatly assisting the dramatic increase in the popularity of Golf Croquet all over the world.

On becoming its President, Tony had several ambitions for the WCF. He wanted it to become a genuine international body for croquet, having responsibility for the rules of the games of Association Croquet and Golf Croquet, for organising international competitions and for standardising handicapping and everything that happens on the court.  He also wanted to expand the number of office bearers and officers so that the duties of the Secretary-General could be delegated among a larger number of administrators.  He also performed the duties of the Secretary-General as well as those of the President for one year in the middle of his term before finding a replacement for the inaugural incumbent and several other officers.  He saw most of these ambitions realised during his term if office and some of those that remained, such as the management of the Laws of Association Croquet and of the MacRobertson Shield, have since been brought under the WCF umbrella.

Since 1990, Tony travelled around the world every year to play and administer croquet, including attending every World Championship and MacRobertson Shield competition. He played in the Australian Association Croquet Championships every year and has been ranked in the top hundred in the world. He has played in the British, New Zealand, Irish, Canadian, German and United States Association Croquet National Championships and in all other WCF countries with courts, winning the German Open in 2001.  He also won the British GC Open Doubles and won his Australian tracksuit in 1998 to play for Australia in the third Golf Croquet World Championships.  Since then, he has since played in five more Golf Croquet World Championships, with a best placing of twentieth.  From 2001 to 2006 he represented NSW in the Australian Interstate Association Croquet Championship and also represented NSW in 2007 and 2008 in the first two Australian Interstate Golf Croquet Championship.  He won the 2002 and 2005 National Golf Croquet Handicap Championship, the 2004 Australian Golf Croquet Open Singles Championship and, in 2005, won the NSW and Queensland Open Singles Association Croquet championships.  While doing all this, he also played hockey with his veterans’ team for twenty years, touring England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and South America!

Tony also found time to serve for five years as Tournament Referee of the Sonoma-Cutrer World Championships in California and as the Tournament Referee for the 1997 WCF Golf Croquet World Championship at Leamington Spa.  He also acted as a referee in almost all the world level events since then until 2011.

Tony is a widower with three children and seven grandchildren.  He has displayed an extraordinary amount of energy and commitment to croquet and other sports since his retirement in 1989 both as a player and, above all, as an administrator who knew how to run sports bodies to a very high standard.  The world of croquet owes him a considerable debt.


Inducted 2022

MacPherson Robertson was born in 1860 in Ballarat, Victoria. His father, David, was a carpenter who had gone there attracted by the prospect of gold rush wealth. When gold lost its steam, David persuaded his wife, Margaret, that they should move to Rockhampton in Queensland to build a new hospital as the main contractor. However, with the money in his pocket, David departed for Fiji on a wild urge and left Margaret to return to Leith, Scotland, with four small children and one on the way.

It fell to MacPherson (“Mac”) to go out to work to support the family at the age of nine. He rose at 3 a.m. to deliver newspapers over a ten-mile route and, by 6 a.m., he was lathering faces at a barbershop until 9 a.m. He then attended school until 3 p.m. and went back to lathering faces until 9 p.m. Unfortunately, even this prodigious workload did not bring insufficient income and so Mac had to give up his education in order to work full-time.A few years later, Mac’s father brought the family back to Australia. Mac made up his mind to succeed in life and be able to be responsible for his entire family. On arrival in Australia, he apprenticed himself to a confectioner in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and began a long journey that would see him become the most successful entrepreneur and highest taxpayer in Australia.

Aged 19, Mac set up a small factory in his mother’s bathroom with a “nail keg for a stove, a tin cup for a kettle and some sugar”. His total capital was about two pounds (or about $200 in today’s money). He made his confections on Mondays to Thursdays and sold them around Melbourne on Fridays and Saturdays. Originally, he called his business the Mac Robertson Steam Confectionery Works. By 1925, MacRobertson Chocolates employed 2,500 people. Mac had built so many factories in Fitzroy that the block became known as “White City” because he had all his buildings painted white.Although unions were trying hard to bring manufacturers under their thumb for exploiting workers, his factories never had a strike. He often said that he should have liked to have done more for his workers, but the union made it too difficult. Nevertheless, he instituted an innovative pension scheme. His annual turnover rose from £300 in 1880 to £2 million in 1925 ($200 million in today’s money).He was not one to indulge himself with fine homes, yachts, and beach houses, as other successful businessmen were prone to do. Instead, he was obsessed with keeping fit both physically and mentally. He punched a boxing speedball each day to maintain his physical fitness and played croquet to gain relaxation from business concerns. He enjoyed its strategy and believed that it reinforced his successful business psychology.

After the First World War, Mac saw the new entertainment of cinema as a new outlet for his lollies and chocolates. He enlisted veteran servicemen to take up these concessions. Most of the young veterans had no idea of running a business and some failed, owing Mac money for his stock. He realized that he would have to train them and his other concessionaires in business management. He realized the benefits of a thinking sport like croquet and encouraged them all to take it up and play it whenever they were free. Croquet proved to be a wonderful teaching aid for training these young men m in self-discipline and risk management and other attributes conducive to business success.

In 1925, wishing to do something spectacular to create more media interest in his products and to encourage his newly recruited croquet players, Mac established and sponsored the MacRobertson Shield between Australia and England. The “Mac”, as the Shield is popularly and appropriately known among croquet players all over the world, remains the most iconic, historic, and significant competitive croquet event in the international calendar. New Zealand joined the competition in 1930 and the United States of America in 1993. It is the Ryder Cup of Association Croquet and selection to represent one’s country in the Mac remains the pinnacle of a croquet career.

In 1927, Mac co-founded MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co. and sponsored an around Australia Expedition by two motor lorries in 1928. Then, in the early 1930s, Mac sponsored a British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition under the leadership of Douglas Mawson. This gave Australia a physical presence on the Antarctic mainland, and, in recognition of his patronage, Mawson named a large tract of the continent as MacRobertson Land. Mac was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Geographic Society in 1931, was knighted in 1932 and was appointed K.B.E. in 1935.

Despite the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Mac was able to buck the trend and hire even more employees because his “Old Gold” Chocolate Box and Columbines were so well sponsored and advertised. Mac was an active and generous supporter of charities and unemployment relief but was often disappointed at the wretchedness and demands of some of the poor together with the stupidity and avarice of federal politicians.

This experience led Mac to re-evaluate his charitable actions and financial support to the individual poor. He concluded that his generosity often simply encouraged others to ask for a free handout as well and that some of the poor were idle and demanding while despising and abusing the prosperous and hard working. He decided to cease making indiscriminate donations to the individuals and instead concentrate on projects that created wealth for the nation.

In 1933, he donated £100,000 to Victoria for its centenary celebrations. He was asked what he thought should be done with the money and suggested building a Girl’s High School; a much-needed bridge over the Yarra River at Grange Road; a fountain in front of the Shrine of Remembrance on St. Kilda Road and an Herbarium in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. His point was that these building projects would help to provide employment.

In addition, with part of his donation, he decided to advertise Australia and Melbourne by organizing and sponsoring the great London to Melbourne Centenary Air Race. This was then the most gallant and gruelling air race of all time and bought Australia unprecedented publicity. The top aviators of the world competed, and the publicity and status of the event assured the future participation of Australia in international commercial aviation.

However, the federal government responded to this generosity by demanding £42,000 of the £100,000 as tax. At the time Mac was the highest taxpayer in Australia and one of the biggest employers. Nonetheless, Mac decided to pay the tax and investigate this extraordinary example of inequity by bringing it before the highest court in the land. As a consequence of his action, donations to prescribed charities became tax-deductible.

Sir MacPherson Robertson loved Australia and patriotic Australians. He made “rich” a proud and honourable accolade. It is said that, whereas Ned Kelly is the patron saint of the Australian poor, Mac is the patron saint of the true Aussie Battlers who is prepared to learn, work hard, persevere, and never give in.

He was one of the greatest entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Australian history and his contribution to the international croquet will never be forgotten.





* Denotes deceased member