In the early 1970's Paddy O'Donoghue, a man of great vision, decided to establish a gymnastics club for the local children. He wanted the gym club to be affordable for all who wanted to join. The aim of Koala Gym CLub was that it would always be a place where all children could come and have fun together regardless of ability.
At the time the Noble Park Public Hall Trust had very limited funds so trustees sought out some second hand gym equipment, including mats and beams. They advertised in the local newspaper for a gym coach. The successful applicant was a young lady called Sharon Hogg. Whilst Sharon tended to coaching duties her mother and other family members took care of the administration. This lasted for several years.
In those days Paddy often walked over to the hall to watch the gym classes. His wife, Olive, catered for the end of year gym presentation afternoon.
A young girl called Catherine Barnard joined the club as a five or six year old, and while she learned gymnastics, Catherine dreamed of a future as a coach.
Catherine completed a number of coaching courses and eventually became head coach. Catherine has been head coach for over twenty years and is supported by a team of coaches, including her sister, Christine, Catherine's daughter, Elizabeth, as well as other ex gymnasts who show leadership skills.
Catherine's parents, Adrian and Pauline Barnard, have given their voluntary support to Koala Gym Club in excess of twenty years too. Pauline took over the administration side whilst Adrian, also a hall trustee, has always been in attendance at every gym session, helping with setting up and putting away equipment, and ensuring the general safety of the coaches and all the gymnasts.
Sadly, Adrian passed away in mid 2018, leaving a very deep void both in Koala Gym Club and also on the hall trust.
But we are delighted to say that Koala Gym Club will continue just as strongly as before, without the two men who gave so much of themselves for the club, i.e. Paddy O'Donoghue and Adrian Barnard. Their memory will live on.
The club started out with half a dozen children and has grown to in excess of 200 in 2018. We are limited in hours, so we have to restrict growth further, but with 200 children it is a very big club and under Cathy's leadership the gymnasts of Koala Gym Club continually receive awards and acknowledgements.