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The Tanunda Kegel Club was established in 1858 at Mr Paul Fischer's tea gardens, at the southern entrance to Tanunda. Mr Fischer, who was a baker, had bought the property from Mr Thomas Brock in 1855. The land when first bought was a small farm, but Mr Fischer had transformed the farm into a tea garden. He planted many ornamental trees and creepers through out the property, making it a perfect place to relax with a drink and play some skittles. It was a truly restful and relaxing atmosphere.

Diagram 1 Layout of the Mr Fischer's Tea Gardens

Sunday was when the tea gardens came to life. The kegelbahn (German for skittle alley, pronounced Kee-Gal Barn) and the rifle club (which was also located inside the tea gardens) were fully operational, and refreshments were availiable for purchase (5 cents for a cup of coffee or tea) Mr Fischer owned the tea gardens until 1873 when he sold them to Mr Wilhelm Menner. In 1922 Mr Bert Heinemann purchased them. In 1929, the Kegel club was forced to relocate, and Kegelbahn at the tea gardens was no longer. Seventy years of tradition had come to an end.

Diagram 2 : The newpaper report of the final Kegel game in 1929 at the tea gardens

The alley was dismantled soon after that final match and the wooden lanes were offered for sale. An offer that was tendered was £40 (around $80), which was accepted. The money that was raised from the sale of the old kegal track was set aside for the cost of the new premises. In February 1931, a meeting was held to propose a new skittle alley, to be located in the Tanunda Oval complex. However, they had found the site for the new alley, but they lacked the funds. Mr W Bietz thankfully donated £5 and also lent the club £95 ($190) at the current rate of interest during his lifetime. After Mr Bietz's death the full amount was to revert to the club. Permission was granted by the council to build the new Kegelbahn.

The new alley was completed on the 28th of May 1931, and the official opening was held on the 31st of May 1931. A large contingent of people attended the official opening with the building being built by Bernard Freytag for the meisly cost of £263 ($526) The iron roof and the timber structure of the original skittle alley had been used in the process. The major difference between the new alley and the old one was that the new one had only one lane, whereas the old had two.

The kegel club has been a very important tradition in Tanunda for approx. 150 years, and is recognised by the National Trust as being a 'historical' landmark.

Tradition changed at the Kegel club in 1973, when the Tanunda Ladies' Kegel Club was formed. The original German men that played considered it improper that Women should be allowed to play. With the changes in the beliefs in society, women were finally allowed to play. The foundation members consisted of Brigitte Dumin, Eleanor Ehrat, Erika Gattermayr, Phillis Hoerisch, Elizabeth Nicolai (currently the President of the Kegel Club), Gwen Prince, Patricia Rath and Brigitte Wendel.

On June 18th, 1983, the Kegel club was broken in to, and subsequently set on fire. The fire guttered the pin end of the alley, which required rebuilding. This was terrible news for the kegelers, who had to endure a lengthy layoff from Kegel. A few months later the alley re-opened. In June 2001, the Kegel club had major renevations carried out, which included the ripping up of the old alley and the building of a new one. The old track was taken by club secretary, Harry Schulz, and stored in his shed.

The kegel club currently has around ten male members and ten female members. A remark that was made in 1931 by Mr Heuzenroeder that the written conditions of membership revealed that the playing fees to be paid were not heavy is still true now - in 2002. Practically everybody who believes in sociability and good fellowship can become a member.

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