Club History

Tea Tree Gully Kingfishers Masters Swimming Club Inc
Club History 1980 – 2015
A history of the Swimming club -with recollections of Loesje Louch


The Tea Tree Gully AUSSI Masters Swimming Club came into being in 1979- albeit by another name, The Timeless Tea Trees and then The Eastern District Seals. Credit for its formation must go to Mark Tully, a ‘poolie’ at the Tea Tree Gully swimming centre, who suggested to a group of regulars like himself that they should meet- as an organised club- for the purpose of keeping fit, having fun and socialising. And so it began. Summer sessions were held at the unheated Tea Tree Gully pool which tested the swimmers with its freezing gully breezes. The venue for winter training was the Strathmont Centre- where the water temperature unfortunately was too warm. This arrangement lasted for two years.

In 1980 the Club affiliated with the fledgling AUSSI Masters Swimming in Australia – SA Branch and in 1982 changed its name to Tea Tree Gully AUSSI and in that same year became an incorporated body – to be known as Tea Tree Gully AUSSI Incorporated and governed by its own constitution. (In 1994 the name of the club would again change to Tea Tree Gully AUSSI Kingfishers Incorporated.)

In its formative years the club had the very healthy membership of 80+ who enjoyed regular competition and time trials. For six years the club trained at the new Parks Community Centre at Regency Park, summer and winter, with senior swimmers happy to share their knowledge on a roster system and occasionally video a training session. Regular coaches at this time were Sue Keey and Jane McNamara. The timeframe of 1985 brings to mind the committee which was presided over by Rodger Baker; Vice President David Johnstone; Karen Jones, Secretary; Peter Green Treasurer, Joan Sutcliffe, Club Captain; and Allan Gillett AUSSI Delegate, Membership of the club in 1985 included Mark Smedley and John Coles… and in the Nationals which were held in Canberra that year, Jo Sutcliffe won Gold and Julie Keast won a Bronze.

In 1985 Tea Tree Gully AUSSI celebrated its 5th birthday on 5th October at the Stoneyfell Winery in conjunction with the AUSSI SA Presentation Dinner.

There was a healthy membership 1986-87 season and heralded a move in 89-90 back ‘home’ – namely the indoor (rather warm 25m) pool at Clovercrest where we were to remain for three years. However, the increasing popularity of aqua-aerobics at this pool were to squeeze us out and so it was back to the Tea Tree Gully pool where solar and gas heating had considerably improved its suitability for summer training. In 1991 an arrangement was reached to share winter training times with Adelaide Masters at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. Eventually the need to share the same lanes and share the same coaches somewhat lost its appeal. This necessitated a further search for a suitable winter training venue. The Elizabeth Aquadome filled the void for the years 1992-1998. It was at this time Tea Tree Gully could, arguably, claim to have one for the best swimming coaches in South Australia – Arthur Ballantyne, who had been the coach of the Olympic silver medallist Glenn Berringer and was South Australian State Squad coach at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. This brought about renewed enthusiasm among our swimmers and increased membership.

In those formative years there were many who contributed selflessly to the club’s success- in an administrative capacity of as a valued competitor or perhaps as the life of the party at social events. Names which readily come to mind are Peter Green, Patti and David Morris, Roger Baker, Jane McNamara, Rose and Mick Hillier, Sue Keey, Dot and Allen Gillet, Marilyn Jordan, Flo Walker, Peter and Jean Gillett and of course so many others. Swimmers such as Mark Smedley, Joanne Sutcliffe, Julie Keast, Katherine, Paula and Julie Crystal, Carolyn Fleming and John Digance and others brought much success to the club and up to 1991, a total of 72 state and national records were held by members of Tea Tree Gully.

Life Members

Lousje Louch, an active member since 1982, has served the club in many ways-as a competitor for 20 years and as a valued committee member. In recognition of her unselfish contribution to the continued success of the Tea Tree Gully Kingfishers, in 1996 Loesje was awarded Life Membership.

Jenny Mulqueen, who held numerous roles on the club committee and a member for over 20 years was awarded Life Membership in 2014.

Eithne Mayton, who held numerous roles on the club committee and a member for over 20 years was awarded Life Membership in 2015

John Gamlen, who held numerous roles on the club committee and a member for over 20 years was awarded Life Membership in 2015.


5th Birthday

Tea tree Gully AUSSI celebrated its 5th Birthday, on the 5th of October in 1985 at the Stoneyfell Winery in conjunction with the AUSSI SA presentation dinner.

20th Birthday

To celebrate the 20th Birthday of the clubs existence as an incorporated body a dinner was held at the Tea Tree Gully Golf Club in 2002. In attendance were many members long associated with the club, but in particular founder member, the late Mark Tully was special guest and Peter Green.

25 Birthday

The 25th birthday was celebrated at the home of long term members, Des and Jenny Mulqueen, in conjunction with the annual Christmas Party. A feature of the day was the forming of a time capsule where members deposited various items of club memorabilia. It was planned to open the time capsule regularly at future club birthdays.

30th Birthday

For the club’s 30th birthday the time capsule was reopened and new material added by members. This event was held as part of the club Annual General Meeting which was held at the Surrey Downs Community House.

Club Trophies

John Digance Perpetual Trophy

Sadly, the club lost a very highly respected member, John Digance, who passed away on 5th June 1995. It was deemed appropriate that an award- The John Digance Perpetual Trophy – be presented annually to the member who best filled the criteria: The club member who- Swims for Fun and fitness: Trains regularly and well; Is a team member and encourages others; assists with club activities; improves in fitness and technique.

John Coles Endurance Trophy

John Coles was a highly respected member who passed away in 1999. He is remembered in perpetuity by the John Coles Endurance Trophy. John had a long involvement in swimming in South Australia and in particular with the Royal Life Saving Society. He was a keen competitor and an exceptional swimmer with many State Records achieved.

Club Banner

In 2001 the committee of the Tea Tree Gully club discussed the need for a more visible presence at swim meets and so a design for a club banner submitted by John Trower was approved. The banner has changed slightly but is distinctively Tea Tree Gully and the club banner is now displayed at all meetings in which we are represented.

Club Constitution

In 2004 steps were initiated to review our Constitution with the purpose of bringing it up to date. This very necessary, but somewhat intimidating exercise was taken on my John Harrison, Brian Robinson, and John Gamlen. The new Constitution was adopted at the General Meeting in February 2005, with a further amendment being added and accepted in 2006.

Early Achievers

Those members who have competed at FINA World Masters Championships are:

  • 1984 Toronto, Canada – Peter Green
  • 1988 Brisbane, Australia – Mark Smedley, Peter Green, Carolyn Fleming, Julia Keast and Pat Gallagher.
  • 1990 Rio de Janiero, Brasil – Carolyn Fleming
  • 1994 Montreal, Canada- John Gamlen.
  • 2008 Perth Western Australia – Jenny Mulqueen and John Gamlen. Des Mulqueen – FINA Official

Tea Tree Gully has also been represented at the Australian Masters Games and National Championships.

Club Records

The committee decided in 2011 to establish Club Records for all age groups and in all events. Relay records were also included. Members were given the opportunity to present their best times over their swimming careers . These were collated and records duly declared.

Club Record Certificates are awarded to swimmers who create new records. This has greatly increased interest in improving times and encouraged competing in a wider range of strokes.

Coaches of Tea Tree Gully Kingfishers

1980-86Shared by Sue Keey and Jane McNemara
1987-91Volunteers (including John Digance)
1991Shared Coaching and lane space with Adelaide Masters at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre
1992-96Arthur Ballantyne (Arthur passed away in 1999 aged 75)
1996Joanne Foreman (winter season only)
1997Sean Moffat (summer Season only), Danielle Young (Winter Season only)
1998Joanne Foreman (November 97 to Oct 98)
1998-99Silver Kelly (November 98 to October 99)
1999-2004Danielle Young
2005Ben Lewis (January to July)
2005-2011John Trower
2012-2013Joanne Porter
2014-2015Anita Blackmore
2016-2019Karen Mentha
2019Anita Blackmore