December 2, 2019
A crowd of about 50 gathered on Sunday to officially reopen Kumbia’s tennis courts and mark the end of a multi-year project.
The courts, which were built in 1950 beside the Kumbia cricket oval, had steadily fallen into disrepair over the past 70 years.
In fact, they’d grown so dilapidated that last year’s storms almost demolished what was left of them.
But thanks to hard work by the Kumbia Tennis Club committee and almost $200,000 in grant funding, they re-emerged on Sunday as a modern, multi-purpose sports complex ready for their next 70 years of service to the town.
The official opening of the courts was conducted by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, who was deputising for Federal Member for Maranoa MP David Littleproud.
In a letter Mrs Frecklington read out, Mr Littleproud apologised for being unable to attend in person.
He said the Prime Minister had instructed all Ministers to stay in Canberra over the weekend so the Federal Government could work on drought-related issues but he congratulated the tennis club on its achievement and looked forward to seeing the new courts soon.
Mrs Frecklington echoed Mr Littleproud’s congratulations, saying small communities such as Kumbia really demonstrated what resilience was all about.
“When times are tough everyone pulls together, and they achieve amazing things,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“I grew up in a town that was a bit smaller than Kumbia, so I know this is why small towns all over Australia will never die – their communities don’t want them to.”
Tennis Club president Desiree Crawford said the club owed thanks to many businesses who contributed to the project.
These included Bush to Beach Painting, Black’s Electrical, Kingaroy Decorative Cement, Kingaroy Joinery, D.J. Fencing Solutions, Favier Building Solutions, Samios Plumbing, South Burnett Garage Doors, Rob the carpenter, Northern Agriservices, Mr B’s Professional Tennis, Fiedler Brothers Plumbing, Baldwin Signs and AAT Lasering – all of whom would be recognised on a sign that was being prepared for the clubhouse.
But it owed a special debt of gratitude to Jules Entwistle, who had completed the two successful grant applications that made the project possible.
Sports Australia’s ‘Move it Aus – Community Sport Infrastructure’ grant program had contributed $146,284 to have the courts resurfaced and lined, the fencing and lighting repaired, and new nets, posts and umpire chairs installed, along with a hit-up board and hoops that now allow the courts to be used for basketball and netball as well.
And the Gambling Community Benefit Fund’s $35,000 contribution had allowed the Tennis Club’s formerly derelict clubhouse to be refurbished and modernised, a process that included removing asbestos linings; installing a modern kitchen and roller doors; and top-to-bottom rewiring, replumbing and repainting.
The South Burnett Regional Council and AGL’s Coopers Gap Wind Farm Community Fund had also contributed towards the project, allowing a child’s sand-pit to be installed and helping mop up cost overruns on the project when they arose.
Jules said she first encountered the tennis courts when her husband Adam was assigned to Kumbia’s police station five years ago.
“They were like something out of the Third World, and I decided to do something about them as soon as I could,” Jules said.
She made contact with the tennis club and discussed the problem with Cr Ros Heit, and together they began looking for solutions.
Jules said she was grateful to MP David Littleproud for encouraging her to submit the Sports Australia grant application.
“There were more than 2000 applications to that funding program and only 39 were approved in Queensland,” Jules said.
“So we were really over the moon when we found that our application was one of the ones that got through.”
Jules also paid tribute to Desiree and the club for their persistence on the project, and the Kumbia community in general for pitching in to help wherever they could.
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said he was delighted to see the new courts, and congratulated everyone who had a hand in the project.
“A facility like this would have been beyond Council’s resources, but your tenacity has helped achieve this and you all deserve to be congratulated for it,” he said.
“You have brought a great new sports facility to Kumbia.”
The tennis club committee and Deb Frecklington then cut a cake and unveiled a plaque to round out the official part of the day’s proceedings, which was followed by a community morning tea.
[Tennis court photos: Jules Entwistle]