The French sport of petanque has a footprint in Tasmania, thanks to a few local aficionados of the game. Persistent players can make a piste. Here’s the history.
The game of petanque travelled around 17,000 kilometres to get to Hobart. Now that it’s here, though, it’s making inroads. Hobart Petanque Club was the first official club developed in Tasmania, but the idea was germinated in New Caledonia. A group of friends who played the game when travelling were impressed by the seeming simplicity of the sport – which belies the complexity of skill that top players develop. They introduced it to friends in Tasmania and for several years, they enjoyed the odd social game around Hobart.
Interest grew and the idea of a club was floated, with Hobart Petanque Club inaugurated on September 8, 1996. By 1998, there were 20 members and President Peter Rose and his committee worked with the Hobart City Council to develop a terrain for these stalwarts of the game at Long Beach, Sandy Bay.
Given the sport’s French origin, funding was gained through a cultural grant. In 1999, the 20x20-metre terrain became the permanent home of the Club. Growth quickly ramped up.
In 2000, a Tasmanian team travelled to Avoca to learn and develop their skills through competitive play. By 2004, the Club was strong enough to form a Tasmanian team to compete in a national championship in Adelaide. In the same year, in conjunction with the Hobart City Council and the Department of Sport and Recreation – who contributed $3000 and $5000 respectively with an additional $2000 from Hobart Petanque Club – the terrain was extended to its current size of 52x20 metres. The extension put the club in a position to be able to host interstate competitions.