“Girl Power Entrenched in Dynamic’s 60 Year History”

  


Dynamic Gymnastics Club has come a long way from its roots as Ottoway Boys Club and later in 1957 Ottoway Boys and Girls Club – thanks to the tenacity of a then young Lyn Palfrey.   Lyn epitomises the culture of the Dynamic Gymnastics Inc Club.  Sixty years ago she was told she was not able to progress her natural ability in a sport, at the time, only available to boys.  Lyn did not let that deter her, dug her heels in and the rest is history!  Lyn’s early experience in the sport is an inspirational story and Lyn is very proud to share how those early days unfolded.

In 1957, nine-year-old Lyn Palfrey (formerly Andersen), a local Ottoway child was practising cartwheels, headstands and rolls in her back yard.  At the time she had been attending Ottoway Girls Physical Culture Club where dance, marching, exercises, rods and clubs was taught.  A customer of Lyn’s father, who happened to help at the Ottoway Boys’ Club spotted Lyn’s early gymnastics talent and invited her to attend the Club.  An eager Lyn, suitably attired in white shorts, T-shirt and sandshoes presented to the Ottoway Boys’ Club to the horror of the all-male Club and was told “You can’t come here, you are a girl!” Lyn unleashed her inner girl power, remonstrated and in a quick display of her talents, proved that she was as worthy of participation as her male counterparts.  The next week gymnastics training was offered to girls!

The Ottoway Gymnastics Club was run under the instruction and encouragement of George and Vi Harris at a shilling per lesson, the equivalent of 10c now.  The venue was the Ottoway Congregational Hall which is situated directly across from Dynamic’s current site.  Training for 3 grades was held once a week for an hour.  Girls trained in each grade before the boys.  Most children walked or rode their bikes to training.  Skills were practised at home during the week.  Prior to competitions, extra sessions were held at the coaches’ home.

Equipment consisted of mats, uneven bars for girls, parallel bars for boys, box and beam. There was one box, one set of bars and one beam, so patience, waiting your turn and no misbehaving was a given.

Initially girls wore white uniforms followed by the introduction of black leotards featuring a green triangle bearing Ottoway Girls Club.  The colour of the leotard was later changed to green.  Competitions were the pinnacle of the sport back then as they are now and a highlight was the awarding of prizes at the Club’s End of year Celebration and Demonstration event.  The Ottoway Boys and Girls Club were, at times, active in the wider community and participated in the 1963 Festival of Arts.  Fundraising pursuits were also explored with gymnasts raising funds by washing cars at a local service station.

Lyn, her siblings and other members of her family were athletic, competitive and collectively were active members of the Club for over of 30 years.

Much has changed since a feisty nine year old girl stood up for herself sixty years ago and challenged gender inequality in the sport at the time.  Lyn has treasured memories of the Ottoway Boys and Girls Club and was proud to be member of the club. She is thrilled to see that it continues 60 years later as Dynamic Gymnastics Club where Girl Power still reigns supreme!

Dynamic Gymnastics Club has a proud history, from its early beginnings as the Ottoway Boys and Girls Club, of serving children and families with a range of recreational to elite gymnastics programs.  The Club has coached in excess of 3000 gymnasts over the last 60 years along with providing its facility and equipment to support a large cross section of local community groups, from disadvantaged children to tailored programs for AFL footballers.  All of this has been achieved through the support of the Club’s members, fundraising and the strength of the Club’s administration over the years.

The Cub will celebrated its 60th Anniversary on Saturday 18 November at the Club’s facility at 1 May Terrace, Ottoway