Rockhampton Mahjong Club Committee Members with Mayor Margaret Strelow. (back from left) Noel Sammon, Cheryl Kele, Mayor Margaret Strelow, Jane Zonca, Wendy Harris. (front from left) Esther Black, Helen Bredhauer, Vera Collins, Jan Davison, Laraine Lawton, Zelma Mace;
Rockhampton Mahjong Club Committee Members with Mayor Margaret Strelow. (back from left) Noel Sammon, Cheryl Kele, Mayor Margaret Strelow, Jane Zonca, Wendy Harris. (front from left) Esther Black, Helen Bredhauer, Vera Collins, Jan Davison, Laraine Lawton, Zelma Mace; Contributed

International mahjong comp hosted by Rockhampton club

THE 2015 Australasian Mahjong Festival, hosted by Rockhampton Mahjong Club, was held in August. In a departure from previous years, P&O's Pacific Dawn was the venue for a week of Mahjong and cruising.

Over ninety participants, aged 50 to 90, from Australia and New Zealand donned sailors' gear and enjoyed Mahjong on the high seas, travelling from Brisbane to Port Douglas and back.

Competition was held on four mornings in the ship's Dome while sightseeing was organised at Cairns and Pt Douglas. Overall winners were Cheryl Kele and Judith Howarth.

Rockhampton Mahjong Club president Jan Davison said it had taken the committee of ten 18 months to organise.

"We were blown away by how well the whole trip went," she said.

"Organising so many people, making sure they are comfortable and enjoying the cruise, as well as making sure all was ready for the Mahjong playing was constant. However by the responses we have had, it was all worth it."

Mahjong originated in China, though a Western adaptation is played here. A game of skill, strategy and chance, it is played with 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, and dragons and winds.

The first festival was held in 1994 and has been held in various locations annually since then, including Byron Bay, Norfolk Island and Hobart. In 2016 it will be held in Gympie.

"We were grateful for the sponsorships received for the competition," said Mrs Davison. "Rockhampton Regional Council generously gave participants carrybags containing material promoting our city, which many people appreciated."

Rockhampton Mahjong Club meets on Tuesdays, 1pm to 4.30pm, at Callaghan Park Racecourse. New players, including learners, are welcome. Contact Secretary Cheryl Kele, 4922 4582.



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