Clarence Gymnastics History
- Gymnastics on the Eastern Shore was started by Graeme Stowards and Stephanie Burridge who ran Eastside Gymnastics Club and were both present at the inaugural meeting of the Tasmanian Amateur Gymnastics Association (TAGA) on 29th October 1972 at Bellerive Town Hall. Eastside Gymnastics Club later affiliated with TAGA, joining Launceston PCYC and Hobart YMCA as the three affiliated clubs. Eastside Gymnastics Club ceased affiliation with TAGA in 1990.
In 1978 a second club opened on the Eastern shore called Lindwood Gym Club run by Gill Chappell and later by Maureen Norris, then Bernie and Diane Noonan. Lindwood was affiliated with TAGA until 1995.
Clarence Gymnastics was first registered as Collegiate Gymnastics Club in 1976, under the guidance of Barry and Shirley Jacob who where both teachers at Collegiate at the time.The then Principal of the Collegiate, Helen Woodhouse, became patroness of TAGA and the Woodhouse Trophy was named after her. The Club ran classes from the Collegiate school in Hobart.
In 1980, Barry and Shirley Jacob changed the name to South Isle and the club operated out of a small hall located in West Hobart. South Isle operated as a girls only club and had a membership at it's peak of close to 400 students. South Isle was responsible for introducing gymnastics to many girls in the Hobart community. Today we see many of these people returning to the sport as mothers with their own children.
In 1994, Shirley and Barry Jacobson retired and closed South Isle. Their daughter Terryanne continued the club as Sorell Gymnastics operating out of the Sorrell High School gymnasium. Terry moved in 1997, passing the club on to Charles and Jenny Minster, who moved to Tasmania with a wealth of gymnastics experience from their time coaching in South Africa and England.
Under Charles and Jenny the club changed its name to Wildcats operating out of the old Warrane High School Gymnasium. The club grew rapidly with Wildcats developing a strong reputation for producing quality gymnasts who went on to win many State Championships. Wildcats where forced to move from Warrane to The YMCA as the TAFE required the gymnasium. From 2006 to 2008 Wildcats called the YMCA in Glenorchy home. In 2009 Wildcats returned to the Eastern Shore when they moved to their small premises at the Citywide Baptist Church.
At the end of 2012, Charles and Jenny Minster decided to move to Melbourne to be with their family. Gymsports Managment, who operate the highly regarded Kingborough Gymnastics, were contracted by Wildcats to operate the gymnastics programs.