Celebrating 61 years!
Blackburn Calisthenics College was established in 1963 and is celebrating its 61st year in 2023. We are a Principal run club with with our founder Minna Johnson along with her 3 daughters. Carol, Robyn and Sue are also head coaches and supported by a large group of talented coaches and assistants all trained by the club.
We pride ourselves in the quality of coaching provided to all our pupils and have a ratio of coaches to pupils of at least 1:4 in Tots and Tinies and 1:6 in Sub-Juniors and Juniors. We have Level 1 Coaches teaching all our teams, providing excellent technique to all our girls. We welcome new pupils to calisthenics and those with previous experience. Our coaches and programs will develop each individual to the best of their abilities in a fun and safe environment.
Blackburn Calisthenics College is primarily a competitive club and competes at the Cali Champ level (the highest in the State) from Tots to Seniors. Masters Red are Premier Divison and Masters Blue Division 1. We also offer a range of recreational and technique classes and cater for anyone wanting to participate in Calisthenics from our Tots at aged 3 right through to Masters aged 26 plus.
In our competition teams we like to introduce the Tots and Tinies gently into competitions (only entering 2 or 3 in the year) develop a fun outlook to the experience. At the Tots/Tinies age the children do not really care about the concept of a competition and its competitive nature but get caught up in the dress-ups and the thrill of the performance.
To nurture this excitement and love of performing is what we, as coaches strive for.
Competitions from Sub-Juniors to Seniors take on a more formal routine but the thrill and joy of performance is always present. A great camaraderie is developed through the year as the teams work together to prepare for competitions all with the same goal of being the best they can be.
Recreational classes run for those aged 10 and under. End of year concert is optional but a fun way to finish off their year displaying their talents and development.
We have many people behind the scenes that assist the club in various ways. Kerri runs the strengthening programs for the classes from Junior age where the girls spend 45 minutes at the beginning of their session working on specially designed exercises.
These exercises build the girls body strength to assist with gymnastic movements and have succeeded in keeping injuries (if any) minimal. All strength classes are run in conjunction with weekly classes and are of no extra cost.
Each group has a delegated Team Manager that is there to assist and inform parents of all important information and events. We also have a great band of parents, grandparents, Life Members and collegians that assist and support the club in many ways.
It all began when Minna Johnson moved into the rapidly developing area with her husband and commenced classes in March of 1963 when her first child, a son, was just 6 weeks old.
Classes were just 2 shillings (20c) and in the first year pupils numbered approximately 26. Over the next decade the club grew rapidly to peak at numbers of around 130. With the beginners class at 40, they were forced to create a waiting list due to lack of space.
Minna originally taught all sections of the club and went on to have three more children, Carol, Robyn and Sue. Over the years the club developed competitively and the three sisters became keen calisthenics pupils, all going on to become Level 1 Coaches and gradually taking over classes from their mother. Carol's Daughter, Tayla is now a Level 1 coach and so there are now three generations that have coached at the club.
Hundreds of pupils and their families have passed through the club in its 57 years and have great memories and developed strong relationships. Many of the clubs original members have returned to Blackburn with their daughters and many more ex mothers and pupils still support the club in various ways.
Minna has fond memories in the fun the 'Ladies Group' would have each week. In 1968 they performed Brigadoon for their Song at Carnegie competitions with Inez Ellis adjudicating. They went on to win the item but at the bottom of the crit paper Miss Inez Ellis wrote "A most enjoyable item but a little long - seven and a half minutes". The time limit was 4 minutes!
Minna with her daughters Carol, Robyn and Sue at the 60th year Celebrations