Students pocket MPs’ table

07. 808NEWS 1

• Bob Marshall shows how it’s done. Photo supplied | My Life and Times by Cyril Ayris

07. 808NEWS 2

• Michael Sutherland break-building. Photo by Stephen Pollock

AN historic 1910 billiard table from the WA parliament—played on by billiards legend and MP Bob Marshall—has been loaned to students at Edith Cowan University.

The full-size table, which was gathering dust in the long-disused parliamentary snooker room, is now in the central cafe at ECU’s Mt Lawley campus.

The $15,000 table has been restored to its former glory and drunken students can now enjoy a hit of snooker for $5 an hour.

The sign on the table states students should have clean hands before playing on the immaculate baize.

Mt Lawley Liberal MP Michael Sutherland—who enjoys sinking the pink—says the table has found a good home.

“It was not being used in parliament and the snooker room was needed for vital office space,” he says.

“Gone are the days of MPs having lots of spare time to play billiards and loaf around (well, he would say that). I’m sure Bob Marshall would have enjoyed a few games on this table in the ‘60s.”

Marshall, a four-time world amateur billiards champion, was reluctantly coaxed by then-premier Sir David Brand into running for Maylands in 1965.

He won the seat and represented the electorate until 1968.  Going by Marshall’s account of Marshall’s short-lived political career, it appears he enjoyed the green baize more than the machinations of politics.

“I spent three years in the legislative assembly,” Marshall wrote in his memoir My Life and Times.

“I enjoyed it but remained convinced that I was no politician.

“Premier Sir David Brand advised me not to be in a hurry to say anything in the house.

“He assured me that in his first three years he had spoken for only 10 minutes.”

“…The upshot was that I barely opened my mouth…”

Marshall’s billiards career spanned six decades and he dominated the sport before and after the war, including a successful comeback at the age of 76 to win the Australian amateur title in 1985.

In 1954, billiard god Walter Lindrum declared Marshall one of the best amateur players he had ever seen.

He died in 2004, aged 94.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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