In around 1970, Mr. Alf Dauth, gifted to the then Albert Shire Council, a prime parcel of land then virtually on the outskirts of Beenleigh, and now occupied by the Beenleigh Senior Citizens, Beenleigh PCYC, 10 tennis courts, 7 pickleball courts, an internationally recognised cricket field doubling as a top-class AFL oval, various carparks, and Club Beenleigh.
The Beenleigh Cricket Association at the time was competing in the old Beaudesert & Canungra Cricket Association competition, playing games out of the infield section of the greyhound track at the Beenleigh Showgrounds, which had carparking but no other facilities. The Beenleigh Tennis Association had one old ant bed tennis court in James Street approximately where Crete Street is now located. This ancient court possessed chicken wire fences and was poorly lit by old fluorescent tubes. Clearly both Associations were at the time crying out for more modern facilities.
Both Associations, having now agreed to be relocated to Dauth Park, watched on as the sloping land was first transformed into a turf wicket cricket field, and thereafter with the construction of 2 new ant bed tennis courts adjacent to Alamein Street. In mid-1974, immediately prior to the 1974/1975 cricket season, the Beenleigh Cricket Association formally moved and made Dauth Park their home. The 2 new ant bed tennis courts were completed in the second half of 1975, and fixture play at Dauth Park commenced shortly after, with a junior fixture program beginning in early 1976.
During 1975, the Albert Shire Council, cognisant of having 2 sports Association, essentially sharing in part the one facility, established what came to be known as the Dauth Park Management Committee, comprising the 2 local Councilors together with 2 representatives from both the Tennis and Cricket Associations. Besides the efficient operation and promotion of both sports within the Beenleigh District, its main charter was to establish a clubhouse. This Committee continued through to 1980 when the forerunner to Club Beenleigh, the Dauth Park Sporting Club, was inaugurated.
Doug Hamilton was a long-standing member of the Beenleigh Tennis Association, and more importantly was the Manager of the ANZ Bank in Beenleigh. Once clubhouse concept plans had been developed, and a local builder enlisted, Doug was able to secure a loan in the order of $35,000 to build the first clubhouse at Dauth Park. The loan was underwritten by several Tennis and Cricket representatives each providing personal guarantees of $5,000. The loan term was to run for 15 years.
The original clubhouse was a 2-storey building, comprising around 15% of the ground area of today’s far more expanded and enhanced facility. Both the Tennis and Cricket Associations contributed to a very basic fit-out, and the local Lions and Rotary clubs contributed funds which went towards purchasing basic tables and chairs. Cricket and Tennis was booming in the 1970’s, and the Beenleigh Cricket Association left the old Beaudesert & Canungra cricket competition after the 1976/1977 cricket season, establishing a Beenleigh “A” grade based out of Dauth Park, necessitating the splitting of the cricket oval in half, with 2 new synthetic grass wickets added to the field. Tennis was not lagging and in 1978 the Albert Shire Council added a further 2 tennis courts immediately to the south of the existing 2 courts, to assist with the huge nightly demand of tennis fixtures which now comprised 4 grades and a burgeoning Junior program. In 1979 a “Reserve” Grade cricket competition was established and shortly after that a “B” grade cricket competition commenced.
From the completion of the clubhouse construct in late 1977, the clubs were able to organize social activities and trophy presentation evenings etc. which of course involved the sale of alcohol, which at the time due to rigid liquor licensing requirements surrounding unlicensed sporting premises, could only happen on limited days and via limited time windows. Hence it became increasingly clear that a demand existed amongst sporting members that a liquor license was the next logical step. To this end in 1979 the existing Dauth Park Management Committee was wound up, and the Dauth Park Sporting Club established, with the main purpose of gaining a liquor license. Various hoops and a mountain of bureaucracy had to be surmounted, before finally in 1983 a full liquor license was gained.
Following the granting of the full-time liquor license a proper bar was constructed in the upstairs section of the clubhouse at a cost of around $30,000 and proper draught beer commenced to be poured at Dauth Park. During 1984 a fifth tennis court was added adjacent to the existing Court 4 at the Southern end of the clubhouse.
During 1985 it had become increasingly evident that if the club was to better serve its members, a basic meal service was needed. To address this the club committee initiated an extension to the existing clubhouse along the club’s southern side, costing some $70,000 for the expansion, with a further $10,000 for the fit out thereafter, as funds became available.
In 1987, viewing verandahs were added to the Eastern and Western sides of the clubhouse, affording spectators, players, and supporters great views of the live sports. This project came in at $170,000. Enhancements to the facilities continued at pace with cricket nets both synthetic and turf built in the early 1990’s, and tennis courts 1 & 2 were converted to hardcourts at a cost of around $60,000.
Club Membership continued to increase, but exploded in 1992, with the club installing its first range of poker machines. The Committee of the day had prepared well, but still were not ready for the huge increase in social membership which accompanied the advent of gaming machines. In very quick order it became evident again that further expansion was urgently necessary. So, in 1994 the clubhouse was again extended along the Southern aspect. The new extension included a new gaming lounge covering 40 machines, together with a significant extension to the bistro’s dining area. Cost was $349,000 plus around $155,000 for the fit out.
During 1993 Dauth Park had been announced by Cricket Australia as the venue for the Queensland vs Zimbabwe one day match which took place on 4 January 1995 before a crowd of 6,103. This necessitated a major investment in upgrading the cricket facilities over the 12 months of lead in time. Dauth Park also hosted during 1994 the pre-season cricket warmup match between the Queensland Sheffield Shield team captained by Allan Border and the Queensland Country team featuring several local Beenleigh cricketers.
Tennis both Senior and Junior were at bursting point and in 1994 Club Beenleigh established a sub-committee with a view to acquiring a parcel of land in the far Northwest corner of the Beenleigh High School grounds. After 4 years of bureaucracy, countless meetings with Gold Coast City Council, the Queensland Education Department and High School officials, the State Government in 1998 agreed to cede a strip of land some 55 meters by 11 meters to the Gold Coast City. Construction work on what are now known as Courts 6,7 & 8, commenced soon after, and was completed in late 1998. 1998 also saw Club Beenleigh add AFL to its domiciled sports, with the inauguration of the Beenleigh Buffalos AFL club. The Buffalos commenced in modest company with 1 side in the then AFLQ Division 3 competition. Now in the past 24 seasons, the Buffalos have added several Senior Premierships, numerous Junior Premierships, now boasting 3 Senior Men’s sides, 1 Senior Ladies side, 9 Junior Boy’s sides, and most recently during the 2022 season achieving a grand final appearance in the AFLQ Division 1 competition.
During 2000/2001, with the assistance of various mini grants, but underpinned by much local fundraising, an additional 4 tennis courts (Now known as Courts 9, 10, 11 & 12) were added in the Northwest section of the facility at a cost to the club of around $300,000.
On to 2006, and the current AFL dressing Sheds and Canteen were added at a cost of $240,000. The club is currently planning to duplicate this build, for the exclusive use of the burgeoning local interest from young girls in playing AFL.
Meanwhile as Club Membership soared past 10,000, it was self-evident that a new gaming room, and 200 seat function room, able to provide first class entertainment and food options was badly needed, hence the most ambitious building project yet was undertaken at Dauth Park. Costing some $1.6 million, the project was completed in 2007. Since that time, it has hosted literally thousands of Functions, Dance Nights, Morning Melodies, Bingo, and Club Presentation Evenings. In 2015 the enormously popular Eastern aspect facing Viewing Platform was added at a cost of $360,000. There is no better place in Southeast Queensland for viewing cricket and AFL, all the while just meters away from club bars, gaming, bistro, and live music events. It is incredibly popular with sports followers and members alike.
Since the liquidation of this debt, the club has all the time continued carrying out various internal upgrades and enhancement projects, whilst all the time continuing its support of the domiciled sports of Cricket, Tennis and AFL, and supporting over 30 local sporting associations, service clubs and schools.
The club has identified a plethora of future projects requiring attention, planning, and funding over the next decade. Included but not limited to are, the duplication of the existing AFL Dressing Sheds for the exclusive purpose of providing an identical facility for our growing AFL ladies players. Arising out of the offer to the Logan City Council to purchase the greater clubhouse footprint and immediate environs, it will be necessary to firstly relocate Courts 1 & 2 to the Southern boundary currently occupied by the cricket practice nets, which in turn are earmarked then to be relocated to the Eastern side of the cricket oval. The current space occupied by Courts 1 & 2 are destined to be redesigned as an entrance statement for the club. There is also a need to provide a modernized larger kitchen facility, additional Administration area and better staff rooms, which are envisaged to be constructed in the space between the current clubhouse and the AFL dressing sheds.
There is much to do in the coming years.