Written by Dr Rodney Gillett
The NSW Football History Society first annual lunch and awards event at the Magpies Sports Club yesterday (14 December) proved very popular and an outstanding success by the Society. Members and guests were regaled with stories by East Sydney legends Greg Harris and 89-year old Ray Millington in interviews with Simon Kelly about their footy careers and playing at the SCG.
In welcoming the forty-five members and guests from across the Sydney football community including former players, officials and umpires, Society president Ian Granland provided a brief overview of the role of the Society and highlighted some achievements for 2021 including ongoing editorial work, digitising records, preserving trophies and photos, and the purchase of two Phelan medals which were on display along with premiership flags and cups.
A further highlight was the announcement by the Society’s Heritage sub-committee chair Paul McPherson, that the Sydney Cricket Ground, at which Australian Football has been played on since 1881, as the first entry on the Society’s newly established Heritage registry.
Society vice-president and chair of the Publications awards sub-committee, Rod Gillett announced the winners of the awards:
The Gus McKernan Award
The Gus McKernan Award is given to the annual report or yearbook by a club or league or an associated body such as a junior competition or an umpires’ association judged by the Society to be the best produced in that year. The winner is awarded the Society’s certificate and the sum of $250.
Because of the difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic over the last 18 months, for this year’s awards, the Awards Sub-Committee accepted nominations for these publications reporting on any of the years 2019, 2020 and also, where these are already published, 2021.
Consequently, two awards were made this year. Another yearbook nominated for the award was judged worthy of the Society’s ‘Highly Commended’ certificate.
The award is sponsored by Gus’s great mate from football and former insurance magnate,Simon Kelly.
The winning organisation for the Gus McKernan Award for a yearbook for 2019 was the Moore Park Tigers Junior Australian Football Club
The Sub-Committee considered this an exemplary annual report for that of junior clubs and organisations using proprietary software to easily produce a very professional finished product. Besides providing all necessary information for readers to judge the club’s success, excellent illustrations and appropriate recognition for the club’s many volunteers, was particularly noteworthy for the brief, reflective and supportive reports on all players in each team. This feature of the yearbook concept is likely to encourage young players to continue playing our game.
Rod Gillett presents the award to Leigh Gazzard for Moore Park Tigers
The Gus McKernan Award for a yearbook for 2020
Pennant Hills Australian Football Club won this award
The Pennant Hills Demons produce a lavishly illustrated, well produced yearbook in both hard copy and digital formats. It contains excellent reports by the President, Secretary, General Manager, Football Manager and the coaches of each team. It includes full reports on awards, staff and team officials in each grade and will remain a work to be consulted by Demons fans and football historians for years to come. Of particular note, is a full ladder for every grade in which the club competes. You can view the report here.
It is especially appropriate that Pennant Hills receive a Gus McKernan award because of Gus’s long involvement with and support for the Demons.
The Gus McKernan Award – Highly Commended
To receive a Highly Commended certificate is the Mangoplah Cookardinia United-Eastlakes Goannas Football and Netball Club
The MCUE Club produced a colourful and interesting yearbook for 2021. Primarily directed at its own community, it includes a wealth of detail and excellent, although uncaptioned, photographs. It has well written reports an each of its teams, details of award winners and lists of office bearers. It will have been welcomed, and will be kept, by current players and their families and supporters.
The Harry Hedger Award is given to the best football historical work in NSW. This may take the form of a league or club history or a biography of a prominent personality in the history of the game in NSW. It can be a book, website, blog or extended essay. The winner is awarded the Society’s certificate and the sum of $250.
Again because of the difficulties caused by Covid, for this year the Awards Sub-Committee accepted nominations for works published in any 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The award is sponsored by Paul Feain of Sydney Rare Book Auctions.
The Harry Hedger Award for 2021
The winner is the Peter Clark for his book In the True Sporting Spirit: the history of the Rannock Football Club
This book was clearly a work of love. The Rannock Football Club ceased playing over fifty years ago and Rannock itself, like so many small rural towns is now a community of a mere 103 souls. But, through diligent, extended work in newspaper records, and with the help of some surviving archival material preserved in the community, Peter was able to compile a detailed chronological record of a of football club that played in six different leagues in the 41 years of its existence. The Rannock Football Club was an example the sort of team that formed the sporting backbone of the Riverina (and indeed all country Australia) for most of the twentieth century. Thanks to this work, Rannock now stands as a metaphor for all lost country football clubs.
The award winner Peter Clark kindly used the prize money to become a Benefactor member of the Society. A big congratulations and thank you goes out to Peter.
The Harry Hedger Award – Highly Commended
To receive a Highly Commended certificate is the Charles Sturt University Football & Netball Club for its history of the club, The Evolution of the Bushpigs & Bushsows
The Bushpigs and Bushsows have compiled a wonderful tribute on the fiftieth anniversary of the club. Pieces by well-known football historians, Paul Daffey and Rod Gillett are joined by extracts from Riverina newspapers and the reflections of club stalwarts as well as photographs covering the span of the club’s history to make a well-rounded club history.
Phtotgraphs at the function were taken by Leigh Gazzard