Tuesday, 15 January, 2013

The Canberra Times, by Ian Warden

It is reliably rumoured that the planners and designers of Googong (the exciting new townlet near the Googong Dam and not far from Queanbeyan) are going to name some of Googong’s places after sportswomen of Queanbeyan who were legendarily fine Rockley players.

Gang-Gang is pursuing this story, but meanwhile What’s Rockley and when did it come to Queanbeyan?’’ I hear you chorus, hungry for knowledge.

Rockley was a formof ladylike cricket that modern female cricketers have alas abandoned in favour of the manly version of the game.

Feminism is probably to blame for Rockley’s demise.

On August 30, 1899 The Queanbeyan Age reported that the boon of THE ROCKLEY GAME: LADYLIKE CRICKET’’ was about to arrive in Queanbeyan.

The advent of Mr J. Still O’Hara to Queanbeyan [he’d been transferred to that town to work] will be marked on Saturday by his introduction of the game of Rockley, which is a formof cricket made especially suitable for girls.

There are the usual cricket wickets and boundaries . . . and the ball, instead of being hard, is an uncovered tennis ball. The boundaries are made smaller, and are marked all round with flags.

When matches are played the girls of each side wear exactly similar dresses. Rockley has been so conducted by Mr O’Hara as to please the tastes of girls, as well as to provide recreation and enjoyment.

The game was first originated by Mr O’Hara at a township named Rockley, fromwhich circumstance the game takes its name . . . He is going to start the game here, and we may expect the girls to soon become adept in the art of wielding the willow. Every care is taken over the players, and none are allowed to play in matches without the written consent of their mothers.

Hitherto the young people have had no summer outdoor games to enjoy, and it was mainly to meet this want that the game of Rockley was introduced. It gives them something to fill up what may otherwise develop into idle hours.’’

Readers, are there any ladies among you who remember playing Rockley, ladylike cricket?

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