Finally, a place to call their own

AFTER 150 years without a home, the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club finally has a place to call its own.

Yesterday afternoon, the club's long awaited $1.3 million pavilion was officially opened, some 15 years after the project to see a new clubhouse at Freebody Oval was first launched.

The new pavilion, combined with recently constructed state-of-the-art cricket nets and Freebody Park's two ovals, means Queanbeyan can now lay claim to some of the best club facilities in country NSW. 

Those in attendance at yesterday's marquee event included federal member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly and representatives from ACT and Queanbeyan Cricket. 

Also on hand to mark the occasion was QDCC Patron and former president Ian McNamee, a man for whom the pavilion project has held special significance. 

McNamee was involved in the club's previous attempt in the late 1990s to secure funding for a new clubhouse facility, an attempt that would eventually fall through. 

"Certainly the club has been on track financially and on the field for the past few years now and the pavilion has been the one thing outstanding and the one thing I wanted to see completed," McNamee said. 

"The club's been homeless for the past 150 years and as far as I'm concerned, this is the icing on the cake from my time with the club. It's the proudest achievement I have been involved with by far, it's just been so badly needed for such a long time." 

Previous facilities at Freebody Oval consisted of little more than two small brick sheds that provided almost no storage space, cramped change rooms and limited facilities for umpires. 

In contrast, the new pavilion forms a clear centre point to the Freebody Park precinct, providing viewing areas for both grounds and vastly improved amenities. 

The bulk of the pavilion's funding was provided through a $1.3 million Federal Government grant however both Queanbeyan City Council and QDCC have also contributed financially.

The project marks the first major upgrade to the facilities available for use at Freebody since the cricket club moved to the ground from Margaret Donaghue Oval 25 years ago. 

"I was in Melbourne recently and showed the details of it to some NSW Country officials and they were staggered by the building and the improvements around it," McNamee said. 

  "From what I've been told, there's no other facility in NSW to have a pavilion in the middle of two high quality ovals with viewing areas for both. Right around the country this is probably as good as you'll get." 

"While it's taken a little bit longer, on the plus side we've ended up with a very good product that is going to stand the test of time."

McNamee was also keen to stress that, along with its primary function as the new home of Queanbeyan cricket, the facility would also be available for community use as well as other sporting codes. 

The pavilion's construction and opening coincides with the club's 150th anniversary celebrations.

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