1 September 2023

Still riding high, good sports celebrate 30 years of boosting fun factor in Tarago

| Claire Sams
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An aerial view of Tarago

Many take advantage of the Tarago Sporting Association’s facilities nowadays, but president Anne Sturgiss said the story started more than 30 years ago. Photo: Gill Shepherd.

What began as a group of friends just horsing around just over 30 years ago has grown into an organisation dedicated to bringing fun to the Tarago community.

Tarago Sporting Association president and life member Anne Sturgiss said the group started with friends coming together for trail rides.

“My husband and I have pretty much been part of this association since the beginning,” she said.

“Our rides would be anywhere between Tarago and the Shoalhaven River and the nearby properties in the area.

“Sometimes we’d camp over on the Saturday night, have a bit of a dance and a party, before riding back home or to wherever home base was the next day.”

Those days were so full of fun, Ms Sturgiss said, they decided to extend them to the rest of the community.

“Eventually, we realised that we needed some more recreational facilities in our little village of Tarago,” she said.

“We formed the association primarily to encourage people to get out for recreation.

“It’s grown from just being a group of horse riders who organise gymkhanas into the creation of a general recreational facility for the whole village.”

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In the mid-1990s, the association began the process of creating a privately owned facility.

“There was an existing cricket ground which had been used in my father’s day, and there was a neighbouring property with some paddocks adjacent to the group,” she said.

“We approached the owner and put forward the idea that a group of us would like to purchase some of his land.”

people at community group stall

Anne Sturgiss says the Sporting Association brings more than fun to the Tarago community. Photo: Tarago Sporting Association Inc/Facebook.

With help from local families, the group raised the money to buy about three hectares of land for recreational use.

“Everyone pitched in to raise money and help out as we gradually developed the area that we know today,” Ms Sturgiss said.

The site currently includes a cricket ground, an equestrian arena and a toilet block, and serves as a space for a pony club, an athletics club and other groups.

“We want to provide a space for the local schoolchildren who use our grounds as well to prepare for regional sports events,” she said.

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Despite the range of facilities already in place, Ms Sturgiss plans to keep developing the site.

“I’m keen to get more activities like soccer and touch football games going, especially in the summer months,” she said.

While the association is a sporting group, it has also organised the Tarago Classic Car and Bike Show on 29 October.

“It’ll be a $20 entry fee for the cars and bikes, and a gold coin donation for the spectators,” Ms Sturgiss said.

“We’ll be providing a big barbecue on the day, as well as drinks, coffee, ice-creams and live music.”

The day will be a chance for visitors to see what the village is all about.

“People can go and have a look at the cars, but they can also go and have a wander around our village,” Ms Sturgiss said.

“They can see what life is like in Tarago.”

The Tarago Classic Car and Bike Show will be held on 29 October at the Tarago Recreation Area, 2124 Braidwood Road.

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