Sport, as in most country towns, has played an important role in the social fabric and the well being of Katanning virtually since the town’s inception.
In those early days travel was restricted to basically as far as you could travel on horseback or horse and cart and return in one day. This meant that sport, team sport in particular, was played in Katanning and small surrounding towns a short distance away. Many of those small towns have since disappeared.
After the arrival of the Great Southern Railway people were able to travel further to play their sport including travelling to the city. As each of the major towns along the railway had their own sporting associations, regional competitions developed. These towns included Narrogin, Wagin, Katanning, Broomehill, Tambellup, Cranbrook, Mt Barker and, of course, Albany.
Those early playing fields were little more than cleared scrub, often with tree stumps level with the surface, relying on winter rains to provide a grass surface. There were no fancy change-rooms and, if you were hurt or injured, you looked after yourself as best you could.
Our sporting facilities have often been outgrown by ever-increasing membership and have often had to be relocated to cope with the growth. Over time, sporting facilities in Katanning have improved to the point of being world-class attracting events from state and national teams.
There was less variety of sporting activities in those early days than there is today. Early sporting activities included Australian Rules football, cricket, tennis, croquet, and various equestrian events including horse racing. However, as there was little else available in the way of social outings, sport became an important social event for the whole family.
Volunteers have also played an integral part of the country sporting scene. Without these volunteers sport would not have grown and flourished as it has done in Katanning. In the early days, it was mainly the women-folk who did the volunteering by washing sporting gear, making clothing, cooking for social events, patching up injured players, and assisting with any fund-raising events that were required.
KATANNING COUNTRY CLUB