THE Crookwell Barbell Club has recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary during March.
The club started when the Crookwell Rotary Club and the Apex Club of the day established a Youth and Recreation Centre in a room over the Crookwell Hotel.
Rotary donated some equipment and Mr Phil McGeechan loaned the club a barbell set.
About the same time Mr Bruce Belford moved to Crookwell as the building inspector for the Shire Council and wished to continue weight-training. Bruce had an impressive record and inspired others to train with him.
As the Club grew it had several locations.
The publican of the Commercial Hotel, Mrs Dorrie Coulson, offered the old mill building at the back of the hotel.
Heavy boards were used to protect the floors.
When Mr Peter Fox proposed to open a museum at the old mill, the club moved to a shop front beside the Royal Hotel.
However, the club had acquired more equipment and the space was inadequate.
The Rugby League Club approached Bruce to join them in a planned gymnasium at the memorial oval.
It was built thanks to public funds and voluntary labour by the Rugby League Club, and furnished with the Barbell Club’s equipment.
In the years since, club users’ fees have enabled the purchase and maintenance of equipment to cater for every type of training and for all sports.
Prior to coming to Crookwell Bruce had achieved an Australian and NSW junior middle heavyweight championship, a NSW senior middle-heavyweight championship, and several national and state power lifting records.
Bruce mentored several young locals to achieve both national and state recognition.
Fred Roberts was the first record holder for a NSW junior middle-weight dead lift.
Bill Maberly took out both the NSW middleweight and light-heavyweight senior dead lift records.
John Broderick was NSW and Australian junior middle-heavyweight champion. Charlie Tarby was NSW and Australian junior dead lift record holder.
Mark George achieved a NSW and Australian record bench press of 175kg in the under 23, 100 kg division and was also the Australian champion 2004 bench press.
Daniel Wray became a world-ranking bench-presser, and is described as an elite lifter in weightlifting circles.
He holds the NSW, Australian and Oceania (inc. NZ) records for the bench press in his bodyweight division and has won every competition he has entered.
Also, Daniel represented Australia in 2004 in Oceanic titles in New Zealand after being crowned the Australian Bench Press champion.
Other high achievers who have recently trained at the Club include Canberra Raiders players Jason Croker, Joe, Mick and Ben Picker, Larry McIntosh, Izach Clements, Kellie White, Emily Smith and Tom Skelly plus many more. They are also known to visit the gym when they come home from their representative duties.
The Barbell Club committee manages the gym, which consists of ten regular gym users, with John Broderick as President, Dan Wray as Vice President and Bruce Belford who still trains at the gym and contributes his experience at the meetings.
Gill Gilbert, personal trainer, is on the committee and takes regular classes at the gym.
Gym access needs to be supervised to avoid injury due to inexperience and poor technique, particularly with free weights.
As always, the club welcomes people who are interested in training.
Gill Gilbert says, “As a female gym trainer of the Barbell Club for the last eight years, I have seen and trained many females of all different ages, and fitness levels.
“Our endeavour is to make it as female friendly as possible and encourage women to socialise and come and do a full body workout using either free weights or machine weights, either in a group session or as a tailored program for their specific needs.
“Come and learn how to use gym equipment and learn what body parts you are working.
“Fun boxing and cario drills are taught along with pilates for your mind and body.
“Not all of us are born knowing how to use gym equipment, so that’s why by having a trainer available, you aren't fumbling around uncertain what to do which contributes to injuries, and wasting your valuable time.
Whether your a beginner or enjoy exercising, there's something here for you.
“Come join our older ladies group on a Thurs at 10.30am.” Gill encouraged.
Congratulations to the Barbell Club for their continued service to Upper Lachlan residents and wish for a successful next fifty years.