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Our History

As Told By Blue Phillips; Our Founder:

The Early Years

Late December 2002, after many years running adventure training around the Blue Mountains, I moved to Katoomba from Canberra. Very early in 2003, I checked out what was happening up at the indoor sports centre, thinking that I’d better quickly square away an indoor sport given the vagaries of local weather. To my surprise, table tennis was big then; multiple tables abuzz - so I joined in for a couple of weeks, before the players moved en-masse to a church in Katoomba Street.

Finding a soul mate in Boudi Maasen, and having always been keen to get back to badminton (I played a lot in Vietnam, surprisingly enough, even during the war, we’d just shunt aircraft out of the hangar to regularly play - much to the initial chagrin of the officer commanding, but he quickly became a pretty good player, so were were OK - he’d often make the maintainers work outside on the helicopters, so we could have the indoor hangar space free for baddi!!) after many years. Boudi and i were (and remain!) on a mission.

A story that Boudi and I love to re-tell from those early days was that one time we arranged a mid-week game, just the two of us, and a bloke was working on re-fitting some of the inside lighting with an elevated work platform. He was there for about 15 minutes, and as he was leaving he said “Jesus you two, the noise and shenanigans you made, that must’ve been a hell of a game!” To which we grinningly (and entirely truthfully) replied “Mate, we haven’t started the game yet, we were just warming up.”

Boudi and I have seen the baddi group go through many ups and downs over the years; in order to keep our sport ‘on’; he and I had to meet up frequently with various council officials in the early years, to state our case and claim our space, as there was considerable competition for space and availability. Interestingly enough, at first, Thursday nights were the big sessions, before Sunday mornings later grew in popularity.

The People

One of the really pleasing things is that our game has attracted, right from the early days, an interesting mix of nationalities, all bound together by a common love of badminton. Superficially, in the early 00s, the upper Blue Mountains appeared to be a very “WASP’ (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) community, but our game showed just how misleading that appearance was - we quickly attracted players from Indonesia, India, China, ‘Malaysian Straits Chinese’, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Canada, France, even the odd Pom and German!


In fact an early character was affectionately dubbed Herman the German, and we had Big Chinese John, who badly hurt his right shoulder, but within months was just as good, playing left-handed!

Another Chinese bloke, David, was actually a heart surgeon, getting all his papers and qualifications recognised, so he worked as a chef at a local Katoomba cafe, he too was very good, insisting on only playing with feathered shuttles, and he’d turn his back and re-focus after every point. I played a session with him mid-week one time, beat him in the first game, and he won the next five. He then said I’d never beat him again, as he’d analysed my “game”, worked out my strengths and weaknesses, and played so that I could never beat him. Thankfully, his papers came through, and he returned to heart surgery in Melbourne. Arsehole:-)


Two local Aussie brothers, tradies, used to turn up on some Thursday nights, straight from the Gearin Hotel, -  “full as a state school”, and slip and slide all over the courts. No water bottle for these two, they’d bring a six-pack of beers to top-up between games..


A keen young bloke named Elliot started to turn up, (even wore a shirt way back then, imagine!), with his sister Noni, until she left the mountains region. But he stayed on, despite some early difficulties and frustrations, and suffice to say, he seems to have picked the game up and plays reasonably OK now.. ( "Actually, I'm one of the best players these days haha" - Elliot)


Early on, we’d regularly be bumped by netball, basketball, roller-skating, and indoor soccer, until our persistent representations to the council resulted in us being fully recognised as a legitimate sport, deserving of time and space on the courts, and we’d then share one side of the courts space while other sports were being played on the other.


This became quite dangerous for us, especially with indoor soccer, balls flying across our courts at head height very regularly. I tripped badly on a loose basketball one night, which came across into our space both rapidly and un-heralded. Something had to be done.


When my youngest was regularly playing indoor cricket and mixed netball on courts at Penrith, I noticed the facilities had meshed screens that protected players engaged in different sports concurrently, and thought that was the perfect solution for us.

So began many years of pleading, argument, and strident efforts to have the indoor sports centre similarly screened. It was going nowhere until I raised a couple of petitions, with players from all sporting groups signing up, and, presenting them to council, told them in no uncertain terms that without such a screen, now that they had been warned, any resultant injuries and compensation would be squarely sheeted back to council for reparations.


I told them a fib - that I’d briefed a local barrister on the matter, and he was eagerly monitoring the situation and awaiting council’s response. It was all a bluff. I even offered, if the materials were provided, our group (and the roller-derby skaters offered to help too) to put the screens up within our own resources, ie, using our own labour. And lo and behold, very soon after, our magnificent electric screen dividers were installed. It thus became much safer - we could play while any sport was being played on the other side of the safety screen.


About the same time, I overheard the ‘front desk’ staff talking about getting the big sign at the front of the complex repainted, so I insisted that badminton be listed thereon, which it subsequently was.

Final Word

We are a very special and persistent group of sports people, we’ve seen off many contenders trying to deny us space and time on the courts, and we’ve prevailed, notching up twenty years of consistent, week in, week out, badminton. We play at Christmas, New Years, Queens (or Kings) birthdays, Easter, whatever - if it’s a baddi day, particularly a Sunday morning, we’re there, going at it. No meetings, no minutes, no president, no secretary, no treasurer, no ‘all those in favour’ horseshit administration, just pure badminton, for the love of this beautiful game. Long may this continue. Short drop-shots though? You know who you are, and I know where you live..



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