30 Year Celebration
On Sunday, 4 June, we spent a lovely afternoon with cherished calisthenics friends and dedicated supporters to commemorate the remarkable 30th anniversary of the Ballaarat Solo Competition.
The function room at the Invermay Bowling Club was appropriately decorated in blue to match our branding colours and the tables we full of delicious food. We enjoyed afternoon tea and a champagne.
1993 to 2023
By Julie Wiseman
It gives me great pleasure to write the history of the Ballaarat Solo Competition Inc. in this, our 30th year. I began my involvement with the competition as a volunteer in 2003, and joined the competition committee in 2007. The following year I was appointed Secretary, then Convenor in 2010. I was also a member of the Ballarat Calisthenic College, the Founders of this competition, from 1978 to 1991, becoming Secretary in the later years. After 47 years, the Calisthenic Club closed its doors, in 2005.
After 48 years of involvement with our wonderful sport, you may say I have a passion for calisthenics.
Founder Loraine Meade
I would like to begin about Lorraine Meade, who founded the solo competition back in 1993 when it was known as the Ballarat Calisthenic Solo Comp Inc. Thank you for entrusting me to take over the reins with Krystle Williams in 2007. Our valued friendship goes back many years, and for that reason, the competition will always hold a special part in my heart.
Unfortunately, Lorraine passed away on 16th January 2018 and was laid to rest on 24th January. She was one of the loveliest ladies I have ever known. I had known Lorraine for 42 years through one of my greatest passions, Calisthenics.
Lorraine was the Treasurer and then President of Ballarat Calisthenic College Inc until it closed in 2005. She was well known in the Calisthenic Community. She was passionate about everything she was involved in, but her greatest love was her family:
- her husband Jack (dec)
- seven children
- 24 grandchildren (that I know off)
She would do anything for anybody and always had your back. Lorraine was the founder of the Ballaarat Solo Competition Inc back in 1993. She mentored me to take over from her as convener of the competition 9 years before becoming ill. Every year she would call me to see how I was doing with the comp. This is something I have missed as she was always by my side over the comp weekend.
In 2017, I was lucky enough to present Lorraine with a Life Membership of the Solo Competition. I know she was very proud of receiving this title.
Lorraine, will always be a shining star to me and all of us that knew her. We are lucky enough to honour her memory each year (with her families permission) in the form of a Perpetual Trophy section is 11 years Calisthenic section. Winners of the Lorraine Meade Perpetual Trophy:
- Shilah Daffy – Geelong (2018)
- Elektra Rondeau – Jayde (2018)
- Lucy Hynes – Merinda (2019)
- Isabella Giarrusso – Glenroy (2019)
- Charlotte Irvin – Studio Arc (2021)
- Scarlotte Benney – Surf Coast (2021)
- A Kulic – Geelong (2022)
- Zana Miller – Jayde (2023)
As I take a step back and think what we have achieved at our competition in this our 30th year. Over the last month, there has been around over 300 volunteer hours dedicated to tasks such as printing and stapling programs, printing and sorting crits sheets, and all the other bit and pieces that must be organised to make 2.5 days of competition work.
In 2023 we seen 630 competitors grace the stage in solo, trio and duo sections at either Founders and Phoenix Theatres.
Our six adjudicators for 2023, Deb Godsell, Di Lukey, Paula Hessey, Genine McCorkell, Michelle Urquhart and Julie Fox, came together to adjudicate 13 different sessions. In total we had 64 sections and 54 hours between them to adjudicate, plus 54 hours for their writers to complete the crit sheets.
Thanks heaps to you all.
Planning has already started for the next exciting chapter in our 31st year.
Julie’s Cali Journey
By Rebecca Garlick
Julie began her Calisthenic journey as a 12-year-old in the Inters team at Ballarat Calisthenics College when a family friend enticed her to join (this family is also still involved with Calisthenics today). It was originally to fill in for a figure march as they didn’t have enough numbers for the team, but now 45 years later she hasn’t left. Julie was a competitor for nine years before finding her true calling, which is behind the scenes rather than on the stage.
Julie was the class manager of the Tinies & Sub-Junior sections at Ballarat Calisthenics College, a position she held for seven years, whilst I competed in the team. She also held the position of Club Secretary at Ballarat for two years (1990 -1991).
The family decided to move to Sovereign Calisthenics in 1992. Whilst at Sovereign, Julie was the fundraising secretary, a position she held for nine years. In 2007, she was nominated by Sharon Mason (a parent of the Club at the time and later a volunteer/committee member of Ballaarat Solo Comp) for the tireless work she did behind the scenes and for making people feel welcomed. Julie knew all the children and parents within the club by name, all this without having children of her own.
From 1999 to 2004 Julie held the position of District Councillor for District 9. This entailed travelling to Melbourne for meetings once a month, as well as visiting each of the clubs in her district. The district included the clubs Jayde, Sovereign, Horsham, Stawell, Grampians, Warrnambool, and Pentland to name a few. Julie liaised with the coaches and CVI admin. This was a way coaches and competitors could get their message across to CVI before they introduced coach meetings.
In 2003 Julie decided to give back to the local calisthenic community and begin volunteering at the Royal South Street Society Competitions. She first began assisting with Front of House ushering and door person, before moving backstage and assisting with time keeping, stage managing and registration.
In 2012, Julie became a sponsor of RSSS, donating money then later a trophy in her Mum Kathleen’s memory, as she too loved RSSS. Also, in that year, Julie became a member of the Calisthenics Committee at RSSS which oversees the running of the discipline of Calisthenics in a voluntary capacity. As Ron Harrington (the discipline chair at the time), was beginning to step back, he asked Julie to take over the running of the Intermediate week of the competition. Julie jumped at this challenge. This involved organising the schedule of competition, liaising with club coaches, and ensuring the week went off without a hitch. In 2014, part of the RSSS comps moved to the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts (WCPA) due to a major rowing competition being held in Ballarat. Ron put Julie’s name forward to run the competition at WCPA as Ron needed someone who had a calisthenics background, who knew WCPA and someone he could trust with this important role, whilst he continued to work at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Julie became the Deputy Chair of Calisthenics section in 2014, she shadowed Ron for 12 months learning the reins. When Ron retired from being the discipline chair in 2015, Julie was asked to continue being the Deputy Chair, she held this role until the end of 2018.
In 2016 Julie finally turned her love of calisthenics into her paid work when she began working at RSSS in April that year. She became the Competition Officer which entails managing 13 disciplines, helping the discipline chairs, making sure jobs are completed and ready for the start of each discipline. This includes getting critiques ready, booking flights and accommodation for the adjudicators, and catering just to name a few.
In 2017, Julie was the Deputy Chair for the Arts for All competition, a new section at RSSS primarily for people living with disabilities. In 2020 Julie took over the running of this section. Also, in 2019, on top of her Competition Officer duties, Julie became the Volunteer Officer looking after over 180 volunteers, keeping them engaged in newsletters and Zoom catch ups during Covid 19 restrictions. Unfortunately in June 2022, her job was made redundant.
Julie has been a strong supporter of the RSSS comps having held a season ticket for the Calisthenic section for 40 years, unfortunately season tickets are also no longer available.
Ballaarat Solo Competition
Julie had always supported the Ballaarat Solo Competition (which was formed by the Ballarat Calisthenic Club), by watching local competitors. In 2003, Julie decided to volunteer at the competition by assisting with timing. Julie joined the committee in 2007 to take a greater role in the competition. In 2010, Lorraine Meade who was the competition convenor at the time was retiring soon so Julie shadowed her for 12 months before becoming a co convenor with Krystle De Pyle (Williams) in 2010. She became the sole convenor in 2011 a position she still holds today.
The competition has grown quite considerably in the years since due to soloist numbers growing. The competition has almost 600 competitors from Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Northern Territory. This has also meant that we have needed to use two venues to run the competition. Many competitors and their families remark how the Ballaarat Solo Competition is the ‘friendly’ competition. Although Julie has a small band of volunteers in the committee to support her, she is still there from 7am to 11pm the two and half days of competition, not leaving the premises during this time. Julie’s role begins well before the March/April competition. She leads committee meetings provides training to volunteers, gains sponsorship, organises the trophies and medals, organises adjudicators, She oversees committee members collating time sheets and critique papers. These are just some of the roles Julie does. Once the competition ends, Julie contacts and thanks our sponsors and volunteers and then restarts it all over again for the following year.
In 2016 after the RSSS has held the Graceful Girl competition for many years, they decided to begin the Calisthenic Solo section. This section was fully sponsored by the Ballaarat Solo Competition, which includes Trophy for the Winner, Coach Trophy, $1750 in Prize Money and Highly Commended Medals,
In my 23 years of Calisthenics, Julie never missed a competition or concert of mine – this was from my Tinies years all the way up to Masters. She has travelled all Victoria and interstate to support me and/or the Clubs I have been involved with – Ballarat, Sovereign, Jayde & Westcoast (in Geelong area). She has travelled interstate to watch the Victoria State Team on numerous occasions and also volunteered to other competitions such as CVI to assist them. In the 45 years she had been involved she has sewn countless sequins, made team headgear, and made props.
Julie has made many lifelong friends with many different people from many different clubs – this has included competitors, volunteers, parents, coaches, officials, and adjudicators, plus venues managers and the Techs from SLC ± Sound & Light Concepts, many of them are here to today.
Calisthenics really is an addiction and who could have believed that one little shy 12-year-old, 45 years later show would still have the passion that drives the competition. Julie now looks forward to a new kind of calisthenic journey as she now supports her Great Niece (my daughter) Charlotte who has stared her 4th year in Tinies with Jayde Calisthenics.
Julie can be often heard saying calisthenics is a silly sport but OMG she have made a life time of friends during her 45 years of been involved, which includes those attending today.