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Ruby Knipe, club swinger

posted 6 Oct 2017, 21:12 by Jamie Derkenne   [ updated 8 Oct 2017, 15:10 ]
Club swinging at the turn of last century had a completely different meaning than today. Tapered wooden clubs weighing more than a kilo each somehow became an American health fad which quickly gained popularity in Australia. So much so that the Australian Natives Association, a group of white people who encouraged such things as the adoption of the wattle sprig as a national emblem and the celebration of Australia Day on January 26 (which came about in the 1940s) gave a certifcates to one proficient club swinger.
In Outback Australia, people made their own fun. Ruby Knipe, a teenage girl living in Broken Hill, would often sing and dance (she was gracefully proficient at the Scottish Fling) during intervals at the cinema. But her real strength lay with club swinging. At the age of 16 she "She twirled the wood for five hours and two minutes, and put up a new record for Australian women." The feat put her on page three of the October 14 edition of the Barrier Miner in 1909. Ruby learnt club swinging while at the Emu Creek State School near Bendigo and made quite a name for herself in Broken Hill with her swinging techniques. Apart from endurance, Ruby was famed for being able to swing flaming clubs. The local Australian Natives Association, Willyama Brnch, keen on promoting music, literature and elocution, decided Ruby should be awarded one of their certificates. You can see her certificate at the Broken Hill Historical Society museum. 
A high resolution scan of one of the Australian Native's Association blank certificates is attached for download.

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Jamie Derkenne,
8 Oct 2017, 15:07