IN 1909, Dr Henry Byram Ellerton, a pioneer in the field of mental health, set out to convert a swampy depression on the grounds of the Goodna asylum into one of the finest cricket ovals in Queensland.
As part of his theory that patients would improve if they had a nice surrounding, Dr Ellerton, who was a passionate cricket lover, fulfilled his dream.
The following year a cricket club was formed.
The club was originally called the Woogaroo Cricket Club and has had its name changed several times in its 100-year existence. It's now known as Wolston Park Centenary.
But while the club's name might have changed, the ground still remains as pristine and as immaculate as the first day it was used. And if Dr Ellerton was alive today, he would probably agree.
Last Sunday, about 100 current and former players and officials swarmed to the ground, which is situated among The Park - Centre for Mental Health heritage listed buildings, to celebrate the club's 100th anniversary.
Standing outside the club's iconic pavilion, which has undergone long-overdue refurbishments by the Queensland Police Service who have taken over part of the facility, the players renewed their friendships over plenty of old stories, a few cold ones and a feed.
For most of them it was just like old times, minus a game of cricket.
Making the occasion extra special was the announcement of Wolston Park Centenary's Team of the Century.
The team, which is captained by Dr Ellerton and coached by John Bell, includes a host of exquisite former and present Queensland and Brisbane first-grade cricketers.
The standouts were former Australian and South African Test legend, Kepler Wessels and Malcolm Franke, who played more than 50 Sheffield Shield games for Queensland.
While one of the club's longest serving players, Max Whitby, was also named.
Whitby, 66, joined the club in 1960 as an “outsider” (a player who wasn't a worker at the hospital) then three years later got a job as a nurse at the hospital where he spent the next 36 years working while playing cricket on the weekends.
During his playing career, Whitby, a long-time captain of the club, compiled an impressive record, slashing more than 8000 runs and taking more than 800 wickets.
It has been 11 years since the former Queensland Colts representative has set foot on the cricket oval he was responsible for maintaining its lofty standards for many years.
The last time he was there he had just retired from the game.
“I'm proud as punch to be here,” he said.
“To be named in the team (of the century) is such an honour.”
Whitby has many fond memories of his playing days, including the 1965 A-grade winter premiership, which saw the side go through the season undefeated.
But Whitby said his most vivid memory was not being able to face cricketing great Greg Chappell, who played at Wolston Park in his first game since moving to Brisbane in 1973 to captain Queensland.
“Greg Chappell played his first game here and it was a pre-season for Souths against us,” Whitby explained.
“But the nursing staff couldn't play unfortunately, we were on strike.
“The medical superintendent gave us permission to be on the grounds, but we weren't allowed to go play.
“I was captain of the side so I was driving around Ipswich, because there was five nursing staff in the cricket side and I was trying to find five replacements at 7 o'clock on a Sunday morning, but I was only able to get three (players).
“Johnny Maclean (former Australian Test player) ran him out on 33, because Johnny fielded for us and lucky he ran him out, otherwise Greg would still be batting.”
Before finishing the interview I asked Whitby if he remembered what the strike was over.
“Crikey no,” he sighed.
Wolston Park Centenary remains a dominant force in the local cricket competitions.
During the ‘90s the club completed a rare feat by winning six A-grade winter warehouse premierships in the space of 10 years, including five straight titles between 1995 and 1999.
In recent years the club has gone from being seen as a hospital-based club to a community club and today boasts more than 250 players and four senior sides.