As the reputation of the History Society becomes more prominent, the existence of awards, trophies, medals and other material from past years is slowly emerging.
Recently the Society received a note from Rob Powers, the grandson of R H Powers, a former state representative and captain on the Sydney Club during the twenties.
Mr Powers presented photographs of the medal his grandfather won in 1926 playing for Sydney. It was for the best and fairest in the Sydney competition and at the time called, The Ellis Trophy. The name was changed to the Provan Trophy and in 1936, the Phelan Medal, in recognition of the service Jim Phelan provided the NSW football community during his lifetime.
1926 was the first occasion the award was made and followed closely on the heels of the VFL which established the Brownlow Medal in 1924. It was created and named in honour of Charles Brownlow, a former Geelong footballer (1880-1891), club secretary (1885-1923) and VFL president (1918-19).
Mr Powers said he came across the medal whilst cleaning out the estate of his late parents.
More recently a NSWAFL Life Membership Medal which was awarded to Rupert Browne in 1932 has surfaced. Mr Browne was a school teacher and sports master at the Gardeners Road Public School, Mascot from 1911-1950.
Together with two other Sydney teachers, he was responsible for putting hundreds of young boys through the game, most of whom went on to play with the South Sydney Club but others filtered out to different clubs within the city. Many, many of these boys represented the state and at least one, Frank Gascoigne, won the Phelan Medal, the competition’s best and fairest.
He died in 1953, aged 66 after being hit by a car in suburban Sydney. Certainly a cruel way to take a man who had given so much to the code. As a mark of respect to the memory of Mr Browne, former students erected memorial gates at the school, which still stand today.
So these medals and trophies are out there but neither of these two mentioned are in the Society’s possession. We would be pleased to hear from other readers who might know of the existence of similar awards.