– Football On The Domain

More than likely, the majority of those reading this will have no idea where ‘the Domain’ is in Sydney.

In 1816 Governor Macquarie inaugurated what are now the Royal Botanic Gardens and the ‘Domain’, on land that his predecessor, Arthur Phillip had set aside as a ‘Governor’s demesne’ [a piece of land attached to a manor and retained by the owner for their own use] late in the eighteenth century.

It is situated to the south of the Opera House and behind the NSW Parliament Building.  The land is home to the NSW Art Gallery and also Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.

The subsequent growth of Sydney’s magnificent Botanic Gardens was at the expense of the Domain. The Domain now exists only in four small precincts, where once it covered all the area from Woolloomooloo Bay to Circular Quay, and south to Hyde Park. Encroachments over time – such as in 1942, when Domain land was taken for naval fuel tanks, and during the 1960s when land was taken for ramps for freeways and traffic tunnels – have greatly diminished its original size.

The venue was also used for political orators of a Sunday who used to gather people in their thousands to listen to these various soap box speakers.  Sadly this part of Sydney’s history is gone.

However at lunch time, midweek, a few sports are still played there, in particular soccer and touch football while netball courts are located on top of the Domain carpark.  The park was also the scene of a midweek city business houses rugby league competition in the fifties, sixties and seventies.

People could be seen hurrying from their city offices the short distance to the Domain to watch or play sport their during their luncheon period.

Clinton Wines

On Wednesday 27 August 1947 a lunch-hour game of Australian Football was played before a crowd of 500 people at the Sydney Domain.  Eastern Suburbs player and former Carlton star, Clinton Wines, was instrumental in having the game played.  The teams were made up of a number of Sydney first grade player including test cricketer, Keith Miller who then played with the Sydney Club.

Although reports on the game (we think there was only one), are scant we can provide some detail on the leadup to the match:

Test cricketer Keith Miller, and NSW captain Roy Hayes lead the two teams in what was described as a lunch-hour promotional match.

Nine State players and other outstanding first-graders took part. Many of the players worked in the city, but others travelled from distant suburbs to participate.

Besides Wines, Newtown captain Alan Smythe along with Ron Matthews, policeman Neil Stevens, Roy Geddes, Ted Larsen and Darcy Coleman were all involved.  It was reported “that many spectators, who have never seen the code, would get an idea just how spectacular it is,” said Hayes, the captain and coach of the Eastern Suburbs Club.

“The Australian Council is spending money on fostering the code in NSW and Queensland, but there Is no better way of making progress than ‘to bring the game before the public. “Hundreds of people walk in the Domain and Gardens In the lunch-hour, and we want them to see the match.” he added.

Roy Hayes

The game was played in two 25 minutes halves.  Many of the players had to dash from their city offices at 1:00pm then be back at their work place by 2:00pm.

Jack Dean, (now deceased) a former member of the History Society Committee played in the game and said it was very popular amongst the lunchtime crowd.  Dean, a plumber, had to organise himself to be ready to go at 1:00pm and then back to his work in the Eastern Sububs of Sydney.

We have no record if other matches were played or the actual result of the game but were told that further games were planned for 1948.  They did not go ahead.

The concept of Lunchtime AFL at the Domain could well be taken up by present day administrators of the game in Sydney who might want to schedule an AFL 9s game or a modified Womens AFL match on this popular Sydney lunchtime venue.

– Fred Cahill

Fred Cahill with his 1958 ‘Medal’

Ever heard of Fred?

No, I bet you haven’t.  Neither had we until he made contact.

Fred played juniors for the North Shore club when you could count the number of  juniors in the area on one hand.  He went on to play in the Under 18 competition (third grade) for the club.

Fred may well have doubled up for a few games in the league’s initial third grade year of 1957, but 1958 was his season.

Learning the game at 14 from a friend, Keith Keen, at Crows Nest High School, who in fact seduced Fred over from Rugby League.  He resided at Lavender Bay and following his schooling began an apprentice as a ships’ plumber.  In football though, he was in the right spot for selection in the North Shore Under 18 side, a team coached by North Shore veteran, Horrie Cooper.

Fred was getting a few kicks from the centre and along with his mates John Busby, Warren Margrate. Bob Fitzgerald, Clinton Faull and Tony McGillick together a few others they were the ones given an occassional credit but the slack Football Record correspondent from North Shore FC apparently didn’t really rate the team.

Slowly though North Shore crept up the ladder and into second place.  Their only nemises was Eastern Suburbs who suffered one defeat for the season at the hands of St George-Sutherland in the middle of the year but eventually went on to win the minor premiership;  While North lost four games to finish in second place.

East defeated North Shore easily in the second semi and again in the grand final but all the while Fred was making his mark.

He won the best and fairest award in the competition, the Kealey Medal.  Medal?  No, the league were so mean to this eight team competition that they gave Fred a pewter mug as his reward for the achievement – as our picture shows.  Even first and second grade medal winners were given engraved cake trays and silver serving items until the mid 1950s.

In 1959 Fred represented NSW in an Under 18 team, under coach, Roy Hayes, which played against a Footscray under age team on Johnson Reserve in Melbourne.  Later that day his whole side were invited to witness the VFL Grand Final featuring Melbourne and Essendon.

Now in his seventies, Fred has decided to donate the mug and a number of other items to the Society for safe keeping and prosperity.  Fred told us he is also keen to initiate a trust for an Aboriginal club within NSW – details to follow.

This retired footballer, who made a comeback to footy in the early 1970s when he played in North’s “SDA” side, (very early second division) where, as captain he finished third in the Hart Medal in 1972.  It just makes yo wonder how many young men who have finished their serious footy maybe out there just ripe to come back to a social game or two?  We have to keep trying.

A Testing Time

1956 Alf Snow 001In the early 1960s, Sydney, and for that matter, NSW football went through some very dramatic administrative issues.

We have mentioned this before but it is worthwhile recording the actual events, so far as we can ascertain. After all, the major players at that time are no longer with us so we have to rely on historical documentation, one thing Sydney football is not known for.

1959 was the last season that long serving league secretary, Ken Ferguson held the position in an honorary capacity. Ken was an employee of the NSW Railway and with 24 years continuous service for the league, decided not to recontest the position. He was 55 and thinking of the need to consolidate his superannuation and other government entitlements.

The then president of the NSWAFL, Alf Snow (pictured top) said of Ken “In this state the name Ken Ferguson is synonymous with Aussie Rules . It is difficult to estimate the value of Ken’s work for our game. In my opinion the greatest single factor in keeping the game of Australian football going during the dark days of 1941-42 was the enthusiasm and work which he put into the task.”

Ken’s retirement came at a time when the league was moving into the appointment of a permanent secretary (general manager) with offices at Trumper Park, Paddington. Ken declined the role but with his shorthand and typing skills, he remained on in the minor position as Minute Secretary.

So as the league moved into a new period it did so with a brand new secretary, Jack Holman, who was almost an unknown in Sydney football. Also new was the shipping executive president, Wilf Holmes, from Western Australia.

Besides this the league adopted a new management system where all power and authority was vested in the office bearers and an elected board of management.

Some on the Board had served in previous administrative positions with the league while others were new to the job. They met every Monday Night during the season.

Prior to this club delegates held sway on major decisions of the league. This system, adopted in many leagues and associations throughout the country, does not always produce a fair and balanced view on issues because of possible club bias.

The other former sub-committee which was morphed into the management was that of league finance committee. This was one group which did have some power.

1960
So the league sailed into 1960 with virtually a new team and new structure.

It appears though that the treasurer was not keeping up his job and the finances became a mess. It was recorded that for half of 1961 “receipts had not been written up and bank deposit slips did 1969 Hart, Felstead, Ferguson & Hayes thumbnailnot show particulars of deposits.” After the league treasurer resigned, his replacement was scathing in his report on the league’s administration.

The clubs were part funding the fulltime secretary’s salary of almost $29,000 (in today’s money) along with the Australian Football Council. The latter though stopped payment when the state of the league’s finances were revealed. This resulted in the suspension of  the secretary. In August 1961 Joe Boulus was appointed temporary league secretary, on a salary of $650.00 (in today’s money) per week, plus expenses. This continued until one week after the grand final. By November his salary had dropped to $277.00 a week. Some in the league thought the organisation did not need a fulltime employee and were not in favourinf the continuance of the position.

Ern McFarlane, for years a Newtown FC stalwart who replaced Wilf Holmes after only one year at the helm said of season 1961 that it was “the most turbulent and troublesome in the history of the NSW League.”

However, like many disasters, “from chaos comes order.” But it took its time.

Deficits
From 1956 certainly through to the mid 1960s the league consistently recorded deficits. The period of 1960-62 was particularly challenging and one would imagine any normal business in a similar situation would have been declared insolvent. 1960 – £473, ($13,1107 today) 1961 – £619 ($16,782), 1962 – £543 ( $14,768).

By 1966 Ferguson had retired from his clerical position with the Railway and was appointed to the post of fulltime secretary of the league. He was honest, meticulous with an eye for detail. Although aging, the very experienced Ferguson held his own at the league and the game again began to move through another era.

The days of deficits were over. The league had the financial support of the Australian National Football Council and the Western Suburbs Licensed Club who in particular, poured thousands into supporting the game and its administration in Sydney.

The last picture is a unique combination of Sydney heavyweights from the 1950-60s.  From left, Syd Felstead, long term St George president and league vice president, Bill Hart, league president, the grey haired Ken Ferguson and on the right is Eastern Suburbs Club legend, Roy Hayes.

 

JACK DEAN ‘PRINCE OF PLAYERS’ IN SYDNEY FOOTBALL

Jack-Dean3-207x300In the 1949 interstate match between NSW and Victoria at the SCG nineteen year old East Sydney ruckman Jack Dean went up against veteran Victorian captain Jack Dyer at the opening bounce.

“He sat me on my arse!” Jack told me over a few beers. We were at Harry McAsey’s pub in Alexandra after a tribute lunch for our late mate and fellow NSW Football History committee member Ted Ray a few years ago. I put the tape on to record our conversation which was considerably enhanced by the consumption of schooners of Reschs.

“The Vics. cleaned us up that day, but it was a great thrill to play against them” recalled Jack. “We thought we were a chance, our coach Frank Dixon (later a Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney) was a great motivator and we trained for weeks in advance with a view to beating them”.

Victoria were ‘too polished’ according to Keith Miller’s report in The Daily Mirror. Yes, that’s right, the great Australian cricket all-rounder who had recently retired from football had taken up a new career as a journalist. Miller had represented NSW at the ANFC interstate carnival in 1947 after moving to Sydney to play cricket for NSW after the Second World War.

In addition to the grizzly old Tiger, Jack Dyer, other famous names in the Victorian team for that match were Bob Davis, Bobby Rose, Les Foote, Don Cordner and Bert Clay, who if state-of-origin rules were in place would have been wearing a sky blue guernsey. Clay was recruited to Fitzroy from Henty in southern NSW.

Jack Dean played 25 times for NSW in interstate matches and was voted the Blues best player at the 1958 centenary carnival in Melbourne in 1958. He must have been unlucky not to have been selected in the All-Australian team.

Born and bred in Paddington, Jack went down to Trumper Park with his brother Mal in 1944 and thus began a distinguished football career that took in almost 400 games until he retired in 1966.

His father Joe had played for East Sydney and Jack’s son Marshall also played for Easts. A handy rover, ‘Marsh’ is a raconteur who in tandem with Stephen ‘Bomber’ McClure (brother of Mark ‘Sellers’ McClure) provided their team-mates with many hilarious moments at their favourite pub in Paddington, the Grand National.

Jack was a star performer in the Easts teams that won a staggering six premierships in a row from 1952-59 firstly under captain-coach, Fred Pemberton, then Alf Penno with the last under club legend Roy Hayes. Following his stand-out performance at the 1958 carnival Jack took up an offer to coach Ardlethan in the South-West League in southern NSW.

“I was the only non-ex VFL player coaching in the league.”  ‘The Heap’ (former South Melbourne captain Ian Gillett) was coaching Coolamon, ex North Melbourne star Gerald Eastmure was in charge at Leeton, Footscray’s Brownlow medalist Peter Box was coaching Grongy (Grong Grong Matong), and Don Keyter (ex South Melbourne) was at Griffith. “It was a strong league”, recalled Jack.

“We struggled to match it with the clubs from the bigger places, but we always took it up to them. We had lots of good times afterwards particularly at the London (Ardlethan’s only pub). After 6 o’clock the publican would pull down the blinds and we’d have a great sing-along around the piano. The other clubs used to love to stay back after a game at Ardlethan”

“We made lots of good friends down there and still in contact with them”, but Joy (Jack’s wife) was a city girl and was pretty keen to return to Sydney to be near family, so we came back.”

Jack returned to his old club, East Sydney for the 1961 season. But the next season Jack was enticed to join local rivals Sydney Naval that shared Trumper Park with Easts, but trained down at Rushcutters Bay.

“I’d formed a close friendship with (rover) Danny Wilson through playing together in state teams. Plus, of course, there was a bob in it for me. They were a well run club at this stage and were well supported by some of Sydney’s biggest bookmakers who fielded at the races on Saturdays and came to the Aussie Rules on Sundays.”

Sydney Naval beat Newtown for the 1962 premiership in Sydney of which Jack was part. He played out his career with Sydney Naval until he retired in 1966.

Following this, Jack then turned his hand to administration and after joining the East Sydney committee became club president from 1970 till 1982.  He presided over another golden period for the Bulldogs during which they won six premierships. The most satisfying was for the club’s centenary year, 1980, when under Austin Robertson they thrashed North Shore in the grand final at the Sydney Showgrounds by 121 points.

“After going through the previous season undefeated we got beaten in both finals, which was terribly disappointing. We got ‘Oscar’ to take over from Alex Ruscuklic. We had assembled a very good team with players like Wayne Goss, Ian Allen, Grant Luhrs and Jim Richardson, plus we had retained Peter Ruscuklic as full-forward.”

Ruscuklic was a prolific goal kicker for Easts booting huge tallies of 136 (1979), 156 (1980), and 213 (1981).

A big let-down was expected the next season after the centenary triumph, but Jack had the inspiration to appoint local player Greg ‘Huey’ Harris, who had returned to footy from rugby union in 1979 and missed the premiership season with a knee injury.

Harris master-minded one of the great comebacks in Sydney footy history by leading the Bulldogs to a 89 point win over Sam Kekovich’s Newtown in the 1981 grand final. Easts had been down by 90 points at ¾ time in the second semi but came back to lose by only 10 points.

“Greg was a natural leader. He possesses great people skills, he can lead men. I had become a good friend of his father Col, who I played against when he coached St George. I just knew he would make a successful coach”

“Huey’ sure did he led East Sydney to premierships in 1981, 1982 and 1983 moulding a bunch of eccentric characters and ace footballers into an almost unbeatable combination. Easts won another premiership for good measure in 1984 under Wayne Goss“ Jack Dean was chairman of selectors.

Jack was a selector for many years for State teams and was Alan Jean’s trusted chairman of selectors when Jeans coached NSW in the Escort Cup in 1979-80 when the Blues almost upset the highly fancied Fitzroy (remember the ‘fat full forward for NSW’ Laurie Pendrick kicking 7 goals on then Victorian full-back Harvey Merrigan?) and Richmond in its premiership season.

Jack would go out to the airport in his plumbing truck and pick up Jeans for training. “He is a terrific fellow (Alan Jeans), a great football brain, but more importantly he had the ability to pass it on” according to Jack.

He continued on as chairman of selectors under Sam Kekovich and later, Greg Harris. It was in this period that I got to know Jack as I was the Country team manager for the state squad. Sam and Jack would fly down to Wagga on weekends to conduct training. Following a brisk, light training run we would head off with fellow selectors local legend Greg Leitch and former Essendon star Bobby Greenwood (who would drive over from Griffith in his Pontiac Parisienne) for a long lunch to discuss team selections.

In those days most people in Wagga stayed at home for a roast on Sundays so I used to get a Chinese restaurant to open up especially for us. Sam would always order up big, then feign that he’d forgotten his credit card and ask Jack if he could pay for the meal and claim it back from the league. Jack would always pay and never make a claim.

These days Jack is highly involved in the NSW Footy History Committee and he heads up the committee that selects the members for the local Hall of Fame each year.

Jack was the first player elected to the NSW Hall of Fame in 2003. The Eastern Suburbs-UNSW best and fairest trophy is also named in his honour. He is also a life member of the club.

This year Jack has been nominated for the AFL’s Hall of Fame. In recent years players and officials from the other states have been justly honoured but there is yet to be a non VFL/AFL player from NSW elected. Unlike the other nomination from North Melbourne via North Wagga, there are no issues about character. Jack Dean is True Blue.

Story by Rod Gillett – former Commissioner NSWAFL and former History Society Committee person.

1966

19661966 could be judged as just another year in Sydney football.  The footy system went on as normal but we take a deeper look at the season which is just 48 years ago.

Wests won the flag before a crowd of 7,000 at Trumper Park, Sydney Naval’s Norm Tuxford took out the Phelan Medal, Don McKenna an army recruit from the St George club booted 71 goals to win the first grade Leading Goalking Award, the league returned a (never to be repeated) profit of $2,575 on the Football Record, Eastern Suburb’s Roy Hayes, was made life member of the league, a junior competition was started in the Balmain-Ryde area which included North Ryde, Ermington, Pennant Hills-Normanhurst as well as a Balmain junior club and long term league secretary, Ken Ferguson once again took the reigns at the league, this time in a fulltime capacity.

The league consolidated their newly acquired premises at 64 Regent Street Chippendale, (a photo of which now adorns the website front page in a rotating banner) and again recorded their recognition and appreciation for its purchase to the Western Suburbs Licensed Club.  Sydney Naval and Eastern Suburbs clubs, separately, had their applications for a licensed rejected by the Licensing Court.

A direct and live broadcast (albeit of the second half) by Channel 7 of the Western Suburbs v Sydney Naval game on June 4 game gave the code a lift while East’s captain-coach, Alan Gray was transferred to Wagga prior to the end of the season, upsetting the club’s plans for the finals  Souths had a foreign legion in the senior side which only contained three locals.

Junior players in the state’s Under 15 training squad included Jack Slade (Newtown), Phil Fenny (Wests), Paul Paitry (Easts), Chris Bucko and Paul McCook (St George) were some who would go on to play senior football in Sydney.  Peter Hastings, SC, QC, former Tribunal Chairman who now heads the NSW Crime Commission, was president and player of the Sydney University Club.

Forty-two year old, Jack Armstrong, The Black Fella, retired from umpiring.  Incidentally the Society is working on a story of this once legend of Sydney football which will be published soon.  Ellis Noack was captain-coach of the Southern Districts club.  St George moved to their new home on the site of a former quarry which became Olds Park.  In the rules of the game, the flick-pass was ditched.

History Society president, Ian Granland, began his long journey in football administration when elected secretary of the South Sydney club at age 17 and Vice President, Bill Carey, played his 100th consecutive first grade game for Balmain.

Former VFL umpire and Sydney Naval Coach, Bill Quinn, who went on to become a wonderful supporter of the Sydney Swans club, was appointed coach of the NSW Umpires Assn.  And who could not forget the appointment of Ray Catherall as Sydney Naval’s coach.  Ray, a restauranteur,  had Mother’s Cellar and Moby Dicks restaurants at Kings Cross in his stable.  He gained international notoriety by playing ‘soothing’ music to his players in the change rooms at half time breaks.  He only last one season at the club only to move on to coach Sydney University the following year.

However one of the biggest and least remembered events of the season was the umpiring furore at Trumper Park on July 10 when NSW played North Melbourne.

Our last featured photograph prompted a few memories when, in the days of one (central) umpire, the then Umpires’ Assn secretary and the 1965 Sydney grand final umpire, Len Palmer, was ‘unappointed’ from the game and replaced by VFL umpire, Stan Fisher.

We contacted the Ettalong based Palmer to get the real story.

KilligrewHe said he was at the ground and had begun to change into his umpiring attire when Kangaroo’s coach, the 168cm former St Kilda dynamo, Alan Killigrew (pictured) told officials that “he would not let his boys be umpired by someone from a football outpost like Sydney.”  When asked to be reasonable about the matter and that the 31 year old Palmer, who was after all,  was straight off the VFL Reserves Umpiring list in 1964 and quite competent of handling the match, but the volatile Killigrew refused and stood his ground.

Minutes before the start of the game, Sydney officials had no choice but to capitulate.

Palmer said he had been told before the match that a VFL umpire was at the ground but he did not know his identity.  North Melbourne had brought Fisher to Sydney for the game but there appeared to be no prior communication on the appointment between the two organising parties.

Fisher, who began his VFL umpiring career in 1963 and by then had umpired over 40 league games, was embarrassed about the controversy and suggested to Palmer that they eac do one half.  Palmer could see the problems this could cause and declined his offer.  He then sat on the sideline as the reserve umpire but joined in the after-match hospitality at the Wests Club.

NSW was soundly beaten 20.17 (137) to 7.11 (53).  And incidentally, several current members of the Society were in that NSW team including Brian Tyler, Denis Aitken and Peter Burgess.

As a show of their support for Palmer, the league had sent him to Canberra only weeks before to umpire the Queensland v ACT game at Manuka Oval.  He 1966 NSWANFL 1st Semi Final 1 smallalso umpired the 1966 Sydney Grand Final before he retired from umpiring due to his work in the TAB.

When asked if he had any regrets he said no, “Football gave me a great journey through life and I have made some wonderful friends.  I wouldn’t change a thing” he replied.

Our photograph shows Len Palmer taking the field for the 1966 Sydney Grand Final at Trumper Park.  Note the crowd.  The footballs the umpires had in their hands were used for bouncing and throw-in practice.  None was the match ball.

MORE ABOUT VFA GAME AT WOLLONGONG

More has come to light following some further research into the 1949 VFA Premiers, Williamstown’s game at Wollongong.

Arrangements had been made well in advance of the October 9 game for Williamstown to visit Wollongong and as it turned out, ‘Willy’ finished the VFA season as premiers defeating Oakleigh in a very tight grand final only the week before.  The visit reportedly cost the club one thousand pounds ($2,000), a huge sum of money in those days.

Their attendance was arranged in an effort to promote the code in the city and surrounds with local officials under the impression that they had secured as opposition, the likely Sydney premiers, Newtown, to play a combined Williamstown/Illawarra combination in an exhibition match at the Wollongong Showground on Saturday 8 October.

At the time, Newtown were the gun side in Sydney.  They had won the 1945-48 flags and went on to win the premiership again in 1949-50, giving them six successive titles in Sydney football.  They suffered only one defeat in 1949 so would have been perfect opponents for the VFA premiers.  Only a week before Newtown had defeated the Eastern Suburbs club by one point to annex the premiership at the Sydney Showground.

On the Sunday of the weekend, nine NSW representative players had been included in the Illawarra team to play a full strength Williamstown side on the same venue with the proceeds to go to the Illawarra District Ambulance.  So the weekend was looked upon as a carnival for Australian football in Wollongong.

However a bombshell hit organisers early on Saturday when Illawarra FC secretary, Bob Watkins, received a telegram from the NSW AFL Secretary, Ken Ferguson that Newtown would not be making the trip so a last minute re-arrangement of teams had to be made.

Mr Ferguson entirely blamed the Newtown club for their lack of attendance whom he said had previously agreed to the encounter some six weeks previous.  He said the Newtown club delegate had informed his club secretary of the match only a matter of days before the game but it took until Saturday before Newtown announced their decision not to participate!

Quite understandably, Wollongong officials were furious with Newtown’s non-attendance and in terms which could be reported here said that “it was inexcusable and not only disheartening to Illawarra officials but would give the visiting team a very poor impression on the conduct of the code in this state.”

Five Williamstown players had been sent ahead of the main group for the Saturday game and the NSW league only could scrape up only two Sydney players: Seventeen year old Ray Millington (who would go onto play with Fitzroy) and Western Suburb’s, Tommy Lamb.

The game was re-arranged with only two hours notice and fortunately a set of Eastern Suburbs jumpers had been sent with Millington to enable two teams to take the field.  It was not surprising that the Illawarra-Williamstown combination won this game 13.14 (92) to the composite team’s 9.9 (63).

Despite the re-arrangements, the pre-arranged local second grade baseball premiership challenge match between Cringila Cardinals and Port Kembla was still played as a prelude to the Saturday game.

In all sixty three had made the trip to Wollongong, including 24 players and, it was reported, a further sixty supporters would have also travelled with the group if accommodation could have been found.   The entire contingent stayed at the now closed Headlands Hotel, Austinmer, a village well north of Wollongong itself.

They had travelled by rail from Melbourne to Moss Vale where they changed trains to travel cross country through Robertson on the now ‘freight-only’ and special excursion train track.  This line is one of the most scenic in New South Wales, and for the first 20 km after leaving Unanderra has an almost continuous grade 1 in 30 providing spectacular view over the Illawarra coastline.

On arrival at Wollongong the party were accorded a civic reception by the Mayor, Ald Graham who was joined by other dignitaries in welcoming the group.

During their week long stay they:

*  Were guests of the Illawarra Greyhound Racing Club on the Monday night;
*  Paid a visit to BHP Steelworks, Port Kembla on Tuesday;
*  On Tuesday night were guests of the Civic Theatre in Wollongong;
*  Travelled to Sydney on the Wednesday where the entire party became lost and on their return stopped at the top of Bulli Pass over looking Wollongong and the Illawarra, where they describedthe view
as “breath-taking” and “beyond description” and a vista never before seen by the group;

*  Then on the Thursday saw them entertained at a dance arranged by the Illawarra FC at the Agricultural Hall in Wollongong.
*  On Friday the contingent travelled south to the village of Kiama where they were entertained viewing the sights of the area including the Kiama Blow Hole.
*  On the last night of their stay, the proprietor at the Headlands Hotel, Mrs Vera Kelly, afforded the group a farewell social evening where they all dressed up in various garb taking off the many
    personalities of the club and other civil dignitaries of the Williamstown club and area.  It was reported that the hostess, Mrs Kelly, received a presentation from her visitors, “as did the pianiste, Mrs
Sullivan.”

On Sunday however, and despite the wet track, two games were played as curtain raisers.  In the first at 12 noon, a NSW junior state team, most probably Under 16s, played ‘The Rest’.  All of these boys came from Sydney with the NSW side winning 11.11 (77) to 7.7 (49).

In the second 1.30pm game, Liverpool, which was playing in the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association (MANFA) A grade, defeated Illawarra 3.16 (34) to 2.3 (15).  The Illawarra side was mostly comprised of their second grade, with a few others who had little chance against the Liverpool team who only a few years later were elevated to the Sydney league.

In the main game, the Illawarra/Sydney combination were behind at each change but offered a concerted challenge at the last minute with the ball in their attacking zone just as the bell sounded.

The star for the locals was Eastern Suburbs legend Roy Hayes, who, at 25 created havoc in the centre for the opposition.  Another Hall of Fame member, Jack Armstrong in the ruck was named as an additional good contributor as was the 1949-50 Phelan Medalist and Illawarra FC player, Ken Gilbert who had a battle royal against his roving opponent, Johnny Molyneaux.

Strong Sydney Naval FC captain-coach, Jimmy Cracknell at forward booted three goals but not before the opposition had two put on him in an attempt to reduce his influence on the game.

South Sydney tough man, Geoff Lendrum, played on Williamtown’s iconic forward, Ron Todd and kept him to four goals.  Lendrum was commended for his effort as was the team in an effort that was considered “well up to Melbourne standard.”

It is worth noting that the 1949 season was one of the wettest on record in Sydney and coastal areas.

Photograph shows the Williamstown team of 1949.