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Mary Nairn's Hockey Legacy Lives On In Redcliffe

Story: Redcliffe Guide
Published On : Sep 05, 2018
Mary Nairn
The name Mary Nairn is synonymous with hockey in Redcliffe, with an arched gate welcoming all to the Mary Nairn Hockey Fields on Oxley Avenue.

In 1959 Redcliffe Mayor Alderman JE Houghton named the area the Mary Nairn Hockey Fields, handing over the Mary Nairn hockey gates erected at the entrance to the fields as a tribute to Mary's decades of service to hockey.

In 1931 Mary formed the Humpybong Girls' Sports Club and sought approval to clear an area of the show grounds for the purpose of a hockey field.

After much hard work, the first game of hockey was played there in September 1932.

In 1939 a number of men became interested in hockey and a team was formed but with the outbreak of WWII many players went off to war. This didn't stop Mary. She coached a number of teams of Australian servicemen encamped at the show grounds and American naval personnel from the Seabrae Guest House. The American soldiers gave her a dog in appreciation.

The same year Mary was selected to play for Queensland. An international match was played at the Redcliffe field against an American women's team. Although Mary's team lost, it was a big day for the whole peninsula.

Mary also approached the three schools on the peninsula to start hockey at school level and soon this school sport flourished.

In 1948 the Redcliffe school boys' team travelled to Warwick to participate in the Queensland State Primary School Hockey Association championships, accompanied by team captain Roderick Buchanan's father Harold.

On their return home, Harold approached Mary and together they organised the club to enable school boys to continue with the sport after their schooling. The Redcliffe Men's Hockey Club was formed and Redcliffe Council granted further area in the show grounds for a second hockey field.

Mary's decades of coaching achievements include junior and senior men's and women's teams at club and school level, coaching the Queensland women's hockey team and becoming the first woman in Australia to coach an A grade men's hockey team.

Mary retired from coaching in 1963 and was named Quota Woman of the Year in 1971.