Joe Dimech is a force to be reckoned with. He has been selected to represent Australia in the over 50’s International Golf Croquet Championships in Egypt this month
Where did you grow up, Joe?
I grew up in Malta and came out here in 1959. I started out in Sydney, moved up to Lake Macquarie for thirty odd years, and then moved up to Taree.
> What do you remember about Malta and your childhood there?
Oh, playing marbles on the footpath and kicking balls in the middle of the dirt roads and going to school.
> What brought you out to Australia?
My father had a business, and when all of my older brothers got married and moved away, I was left. One of my brothers moved to Australia, actually. Eventually we ran out of work, and it was my father who encouraged me to walk in my brother’s footsteps and come to Australia and work in carpentry. They sent me over not long after that.
> What stands out in your mind when you first arrived?
Big roads, traffic, big space. Not much room here! It was a big change for me. I did not know one word of English and had to learn from scratch.
> You started you career in carpentry at a young age. Tell us about your career.
I was doing some private work, then went out into the big building game, then went out on my own after I got my licence, and off I went.
I was in the carpentry industry for 40-45 years and only retired about five years ago.
> How did you find the transition into retirement?
Good! It was relaxing and I used to do a lot of sailing at Lake Macquarie, for about 25 years. It also gave me more time for my snooker playing and eventually croquet.
> How did you get introduced to croquet?
When I was down at Lake Macquarie, my sister in law would play at the retirement village. My wife went down there one day, I had a go at it, and when we moved to Taree I started taking it more seriously. I joined the club and never looked back!
> Tell us exactly what the sport entails.
Well the basics are, there are thirteen hoops, and the first to put seven balls through the hoops wins the game. You can play singles or doubles.
> When did you decide that you wanted to play competitively?
I was playing in the club, and after three years I decided I would get serious. I would go in all the competitions in the region: Forster, Port Macquarie and then Sydney. I got picked up by a squad, and I would train in Sydney.
> Now you are heading over to Egypt for the over 50s International Championships; you must be so excited!
I am thrilled! I was overseas when I heard about it, visiting my family in Malta. My wife, who was back in Australia, delivered the good news!
> What are you expecting when you go over to Egypt?
Well, I am expecting a good game. The Egyptians are amazing at the sport, closely followed by New Zealanders. It will be a great game!
> Would it be a dream to win the title?
Well, I hope at least one Australian does. There are 11 of us coming from Australia. Other countries competing are New Zealand, Egypt, Scotland, USA and Wales.
It’s also a good opportunity for me to go and meet other people who love the sport, and it really is something I never expected to be doing at my age anyway.
> What’s it like when you visit Malta?
It’s good; it’s great to go home.
> Do they call you an Aussie?
They call me an Aussie as soon as I open my mouth. But I try not to speak English when I head over home. I don’t try to show off. I don’t forget the language; it is very special to me. I am proud to be both Maltese and Aussie.
> Thank you Joe.