The commencement of the Natimuk & District Gymnastic Club Inc. was initiated by Mr. Reg Hateley to provide activities for the youth of the district. From a public meeting in September, a Club was formed and the first gymnastic classes were held on Friday 30 September 1960, in the Natimuk and District Soldiers’ Memorial Hall. The inconvenience of being unable to hire the hall every Friday stimulated the search for a permanent venue. The Natimuk State Primary School was purchased in November, 1963. Later when the school facilities were clearly inadequate for the number of participants, plans were drawn up to build a new 100ft x 50ft gymnasium on the Shudolz St site. With the aid of grants, fundraising efforts, and a loan, the new building was constructed and opened in 1970. Following a 2 stage extension project the building today is filled with high standard equipment which is currently being enjoyed by 200+ members.
Over the years many people have volunteered their time to coach, organise, judge, repair, construct, seek grants, clean and raise funds in order to provide a programme of activities for the youth. Some of the youth have then gone on to give back to the Club by becoming coaches themselves. Features of the Club over 50 years have been an active, energetic committee, dedicated program leaders with young gymnasts stepping up to be junior leaders, a membership base from Natimuk and a 50+ km radius and strong support from Natimuk businesses through sponsorship and donations, which is a credit to the small community of Natimuk.
Perpetual acknowlegement is given to the founder Mr. Reg Hateley in the form of an annual trophy and also to Mr. Len Parfett in the form of an annual encouragement award. Len’s involvement spanned a remarkable 46 years of regular effort and dilligence in a wide variety of areas. Life members of the Club are Reg L. Hateley, A.L. (Gus) Fordham, Jack Fitzpatrick, Len K. Parfett, Shirlee Skiller, Leonie Hateley, Keith Lockwood, Michael Cook, Lynette Morrow, Dorothy Cook, Michelle Lowe, Mary Smith, Janelle Payne and most recently Jenelle Patterson and Louise Puls.
Over 50 years on, the Club continues to provide excellent gymnastic instruction to cultivate wholesome physical, mental and social behavior and development.