GAAC (Mens) 1921-1995


To be completed soon. Go here for the current Club History report

Formation of the Club 13th September 1921

Originally named Glenhuntly Harriers - 1921

 

The club can trace its beginnings to a group of local footballers, the Glenhuntly Imperials Under 21 team, whose captain was the Victorian Javelin Champion in 1920. Alf Hunt was an all round athlete originally competing with the Melbourne Harriers club who finished runners-up to Carlton Harriers in the 1920-21 track and field competition.

 

Alf encouraged his team mates to come along to a meeting at Pages Cafe in Glenhuntly Road Glenhuntly on the evening of Tuesday 13th September 1921.    The idea was to form an athletic club to keep themselves fit during the summer months and Alf invited the captain of the Melbourne Harriers Club, Les Mudge, to attend and act as chairman of the meeting.

 

The Caulfield News reported that the meeting was attended by a good muster of keen and enthusiastic juniors.  

 

Alf Hunt moved the motion that the club be formed and be called the Glenhuntly Harriers. Club colours were discussed and the chairman suggested a Cambridge Blue Singlet with a purple (‘dark blue’) boomerang and white knickers. These were later amended to dark blue knickers with light blue facings.  The motto “Ever Foremost” was adopted (ironically, this motto is identical to that of the professional athletics Stawell Athletic Club, who have organised the Stawell Gift since 1866.)

 

A further meeting was scheduled for Monday 26th September to plan for the coming track season.

 

The club set up its training base in Koornang Park Carnegie, where we shared the football club’s pavilion and ground for training.

 

Alf was also a member of the YMCA and decided to compete with them during the coming summer. He visited Sydney where he won the 120 yard hurdles and cricket ball throwing competition at the Australasian YMCA sports.

Elections were held which saw Hugh Cannon elected as the first club president, along with Alex Grieve as acting secretary, Alf Hunt as treasurer, and Stan Burton appointed the club captain. A number of vice presidents were appointed: J W Page, George Storey, S B Hayhow, T Morton, Otto Ehms, Dr Armstrong, W E Painter, E Shaw, A W Finlayson, W Davies along with local Councillors J T Packer and H Lord.

 

The club decided to enter the interclub competition which commenced in October, just four weeks after the club’s formation. Twenty-three teams entered from 15 clubs with 10 teams forming A Grade and 13 teams being allocated to B Grade. Most of the A Grade clubs had a second team which competed in the B Grade competition.

 

A Grade consisted of Uni Blacks, Uni Blues, Coburg, Moreland, Carlton, SSH, Malvern, East Melbourne, Essendon and Melbourne.

 

B Grade was contested by SSH(B), Carlton(B), Melbourne(B), North Richmond Mutuals, Coburg(B), Footscray, East Melbourne(B), Moreland(B), YMCA, Malvern(B), Essendon(B), North Melbourne and Glenhuntly. As there were 13 teams, there would be a bye each round.  

 

Interclub competition was in its very early existence, having only been implemented by the VAAA prior to the first World War in 1913. Athletic competitions had been suspended for the duration of the war and did not resume until 1919. The Carlton Harriers Club were defending their interclub title, having defeated Melbourne Harriers for the 1921 premiership. Alf Hunt was a member of the losing Melbourne team.

 

The club had 12 competing members and we were scheduled to meet the YMCA club in our first encounter. There were only 5 events (100 yards, 1 Mile, 120 yard Hurdles, 1 mile walk, and a Medley(220 yards *2, 440 yards, and 880 yards) mile relay) contested in the interclub challenge, although a number of open and handicap events were also held during the afternoon’s programme. These included Javelin, discus, 880 yards etc. Ironically, Alf Hunt competed in the first event against us, the 120 yard hurdles, having transferred to YMCA, and he won the event. So our club founder and treasurer competed against us in our first official VAAA competition.

Our first competition was held on heavy tracks which were under water in many parts and heavy showers added to the discomfort of the afternoon.

 

Our team of inexperienced and raw junior athletes were comprehensively defeated but the Caulfield News reported that the new club, for a band of juniors, put up a very creditable contest in making their debut in the VAAA arena.


 

Our first treasurer’s book: Note 6/- membership fee equals 60 cents.

 

“Glen” was reported to have a very promising young sprinter in Morgan Field who was only beaten by a foot (30cm). Our only win for the day was in the medley relay race. Other competitors included Alex Grieve (hurdles), Jack Merrifield (walk), and George Fulton (Distance).     

 

Our first season saw our group of youngsters win just two of the eight rounds; finishing 7th and failing to reach the finals. We managed to defeat the Moreland club and SSH but lost the other six contests. Our club’s first individual event winner was Morgan Field who breasted the tape in the 100 yards against SSH in round 3. Other club members to win an event during the season were George Fulton in the Mile run, Jack and Ern Merrifield in the Mile Walk, and Alex Grieve in the 120 yard Hurdles.

 

The Victorian State Championships were held during December at the Amateur Sports Grounds but there is no mention of any Glenhuntly competitors taking part.

    

To finish the summer season the club held its first annual championships at Caulfield Racecourse in early 1922. The all round trophy was won by Alex Grieve (25 pts), from Morgan Field (21pts), and George Fulton (19pts).

 

A Silver Cup was  awarded to Alex Grieve and Gold medals presented to Morgan Field and George Fulton.  These were presented at a formal presentation night, a Euchre (card) and dance night, with advertisements in the local press inviting interested young ladies to attend.


Members were entertained by Hallam’s Dance-O-Mania Jazz Orchestra and an abundant supper was provided by the ladies committee. The streamer waltz was announced as a pleasing spectacle.  This evening was held in St Anthony’s Hall in Grange Road Glenhuntly and was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Caulfield.

 

The results of the club’s First Annual championships (1922) were:

100 yards          Morgan Field  11.0          Alex Grieve          George Fulton

220 yards          Morgan Field  25.0          Alex Grieve          George Fulton

440 yards          Morgan Field  55.0          George Fulton       Alex Grieve

880 yards         George Fulton 2:15.0        Stuart Oatley        Morgan Field

1 Mile              George Fulton 5:04.0        C Thomas             Stuart Oatley

1 Mile Walk     Jack Merrifield 8:04.0      Ern Merrifield      C  Thomas

120yd Hurdles Alex Grieve                      George Fulton      Morgan Field

High Jump       Alan Wallace 5’2”            Alex Grieve

Javelin             Alex Grieve   103’0”        R   Wilson            Jack Merrifield

Long Jump      Alex Grieve 17’1”            Alan Wallace        George Fulton

  The Club in the 1920s

A. Track and Field

 

 Interclub                                                     Mile Medley      Victorian Record


    3       A Grade Premiership 1925, 1928, 1929            Ray Coller .      High Jump Victorian Champion

    2        Runners up A Grade   1926, 1927

    1        B Grade Premiership   1924                              Alan Wallace .  HSJ  Victorian Champion 1927, 1928     HSJ Victorian Record    

    1        C Grade Premiership   1923

    1       Runners up C Grade 1928                                              Alan Elliston .   880 yards Victorian Champion 1929

                                                                                                880 yards Victorian Record

Alf Hunt                                                        Herb Bascombe  440 yards Australian Champion 1930

 Javelin Victorian Champion

1923, 1926, 1927 (1921 as non member)                                                                        220 yards Victorian Champion 1928             

 Pole Vault Champion                                                                                                         440 yards Victorian Champion .   1927,  1928,  1929

1924,  1926                                                                                                                         440 yards Australian and Victorian Record  48.6

Javelin . Victorian record 

               

* 1 yard = 0.91 metres


The ten years following the formation of the club in 1921 proved to be extremely successful ones for the new club.   The club was quick to established itself as one of the top track and field clubs in Victoria.

 

The VAAA Annual Report reflected on the rapid growth of track as a principal feature of post-war interclub athletics. This was the opposite to the feature pre-war emphasis on cross country running. There was an emphasis on promoting track events in summer but with only the same five events each week there was concern that the programme was monotonous for athletes and spectators.

 

The summer interclub track and field competition was contested at the Amateur Sports Ground in Jolimont; the site of the old Olympic Swimming  Stadium (and the the Glasshouse). This area is now the Westpac Centre, home of the Collingwood Football Club.

 

There were no grandstands and the track was grass.

 

In only our second year in the competition, 1922, we began an era that was to gain us five premierships, three of them in A Grade, within seven years. This was an outstanding achievement from such a young club. We gained some outstanding athletes during these years, were one of a only a few clubs to gain their own club rooms, and we had the backing of some very dedicated administrators and coaches.

 

It was an exciting period in the club’s history.

 

The season began in November in fine weather and before a record attendance. A third grade of competition was introduced and the club found itself in the lowest grade; C Grade. We gained the services of our founder, Alf Hunt, who transferred from YMCA, and in his first event for the club won the 120 yard* hurdles.  We won this first round 36 points to Melbourne Harriers B 22 points. We won all events except the 1 Mile run where Stuart Oatley finished third behind state champion George Hyde. Our winners were Alf Hunt (hurdles), Morgan Field (100 yards), Jack Merrifield (Walk), and the Medley relay.  

 

The competition was based around club versus club for eleven rounds with a semi final and grand final to follow. Just five events were contested each week; 1 mile walk, 120 yard hurdles, 1 mile run, 100 yards, and a 1 mile medley relay.   

 

In addition, we had the services of Orm Westcott and Frank Rout(Sprinters), Jack Fraser, Stuart Oatley and George Fulton (Distance), and Jack Merrifield and his brother Ernie Merrifield in the walks. 


After eight rounds of competiton, Glenhuntly remained undefeated, although we had tied with North Melbourne, and we went on to win our first premiership from Ivanhoe.


    Our first premiership team; C Grade.

 

Top L to R: Clarrie Noy, Ern Merrifield, Jack Fraser, Alf Hunt, Jack Merrifield, Stuart Oatley

2nd Row:.? John O’Carroll, Orm Westcott, Jack Whitelaw, Alan Hayhow, Charlie Graydon, Westcott Snr

Front: A ‘Blue’ Clauscen    .?

 

120 yard Hurdles: Alf Hunt   1st       18.4sec

1 Mile Walk:         Jack Merrifield      2nd                         Ern Merrifield       3rd

100 yards              Orm Westcott       2nd

1 Mile Run            Stuart Oatley 1st  4:49.0                     Jack Fraser            3rd 

Mile Medley Relay       1st .           (880 yards, 440 yards, 220 yards, 220 yards)

 

Alf Hunt, the team captain, had gone through the season undefeated in the hurdles, leading the young team to success.

 

In December, Alan “Kanga” Wallace, created a sensation when he hopped, stepped, and jumped (Triple Jump) 41’11”(12.79m) but fell back into the pit to measure 11.91m. The current Victorian Record was then 11.99m.

 

The Victorian titles held in February 1923 saw Alf Hunt smash the Victorian Javelin Record by almost 2 metres; 48.31m to 46.36m. He also finished second in the Pole Vault title and the new Decathlon (10 events) title.

 

The club held its Championships early in 1923 over a number of weeks and it resulted in a runaway win for Alf Hunt, who won seven of the eleven events. He was awarded the Silver Cup earning 51.5 points to W Robinson’s 28pts and Stuart Oatley’s 23pts.

 

 

    Alf Hunt throwing the Javelin.

 

In a fore-runner to many initiatives the club was to demonstrate over the years, a ladies 75 yards race was held. This was in an era where it was deemed undesirable and unfeminine for women to take part in strenuous activities and sports.    Interestingly, Miss M. Vincent was the winner from Miss M. Marsh and Miss I. Murray. Separate races over 100 and 220 yards were also held for junior men at a time when there were no junior events in interclub or in championships.

We were promoted to B Grade for the 1923/1924 season. We were most fortunate in gaining the services of  James Whitelaw as honorary coach and with his many seasons of experience in professional athletics he began to establish a formidable team.  Our success was beginning to attract members and with our own coach we continued our enthusiasm into B Grade;   losing only one contest during the season.

The rapid improvement of dimunitive sprinter, Orm Westcott, had greatly enhanced our sprint team. We also entered a second team and this was allocated to C Grade.

During the re development of the Amateur Sports Ground, interclub athletics was held at the Showgrounds in Kensington.

There were some significant changes to the interclub programme for the season, with each of three grades being divided into two sections. Each club would meet the other in their section twice with the top two in each section forming the final four for the premiership contest.

There was also two alterate programmes of events for the first time. Each still had only five events and there were still no field events contested. New events included 85 yards, 440 yards, and 880 yards.

We had a resounding win over Ivanhoe  in the semi-final and were then to face new club, Christchurch Geelong, for the Grand Final.

 

This proved to be a big win for the club; 42 points to 22 points.

Our team was:

1 mile:                         Jack Fraser 3rd

100 yards:                   Orm Westcott 1st 10.1, John O’Carroll 2nd 10.4 and Alf Hunt.

120 yard Hurdles:         Alf Hunt 1st 17.3, Stuart Oatley

1 mile Walk:                 Jack Merrifield 1st 7:40.0, and Ern Merrifield.

Mile Medley:                 1st     Stuart Oatley, Alf Hunt, Alan Hayhow, and Orm Westcott.

 

Promotion to A Grade was assured. 


Here we would vie for the B.J.Parkinson Shield, awarded to the winner of the A Grade Premiership.

 

 

 

Our top sprinter, Orm Westcott 1924.

The Club's first representative at the Australian Championships (Hobart 1924)

 

Orm Westcott travelled to Hobart to contest the 100 yards Australasian Sprint Championship; our first athlete to take part in the nation’s  championship. He performed well to finish second in his heat, but only heat winners went on to the final.

Crowds were very encouraging in the early 1920s with over 2000 spectators watching the state titles. The media were always giving good coverage to Amateur Athletics with a full round up of results and articles on leading performers. The club was well supported by non competing members and had its own trainer and masseur. These were common in clubs at the time and old photographs show a number of these supporters.

 

The Walkers: Jack and Ern Merrifield.

 

By now the club had graduated to the Caulfield Racecourse for training, a popular meeting place for athletes from many clubs as well. Professional runners and other clubs had been using the racecourse for years and it was the site of numerous paper chase events, handicap races and the state cross country championships. It was an area where you could run into the country for miles through swamps and bush. Our change rooms were a series of horse boxes in the south east corner of the park and other clubs often used them for their pack runs.

 

Great enthusiasm prevailed among club supporters as we entered A Grade for the 1924/25 but it would be only the most optimistic supporter who thought  we could continue our success into the top grade. The club continued to attract new members with Charlie Sypott, a sprinter ranked in the top three in the state, joining Orm Westcott to give us a formidable duo. With Jack Fraser improving over distances and Jack and Ern Merrifield still dominant in the walks, we had many exciting contests to again reach the finals.

The season had just got underway when we hit our first controversy; and one which could have seriously affected the future of the club. Always looking at innovations to advance the club, it was decided to hold a raffle to assist our athletes travel to the Geelong interclub meeting  in round two. This was done and our athletes travelled to and from Geelong by train. This was seen as a breach of the athlete’s amateur statusand the travelling athletes were suspended by the VAAA. In an appeal to the board of the VAAA, and after a great deal of debate, the decision was reversed and the athlete’s status restored. A close call.

An amateur was considered to be person who competes only for the love of sport, not for monetary or pecuniary reward, or knowingly compete against a professional. This was applied to teachers,trainers and coaches of physical activities. There were also controls on not making wagers on competitions and the receipt of expenses. Rules were strictly enforced by authorities.  

We met the long established foundation club, Melbourne Harriers, in the Grand Final. After a close competition, we went on to achieve the unbelievable; an A Grade premiership in only our fourth year of competition. 

The final scores were Glenhuntly 36 points to  Melbourne 29 points.

 

Our team was:

 

                    100 yards                       Orm Westcott        1st   10.8 .   Charlie Sypott       2nd  

120 yard Hurdles            Alf Hunt                1st    17.0 .   Stuart Oatley       2nd

1 Mile Walk                    Jack Merrifield        2nd                 Ern Merrifield       3rd

1 Mile Run                      Jack Fraser            2nd

1 Mile Medley Relay                Lost to Melb Harriers

 

           (GHY won by 30 yards but were disqualified for an incorrect change over; Team = Stuart Oatley, Charlie Sypott, Orm Westcott, John O’Carroll)

 

 

 

Our A Grade Premiers in 1924/25.

 

 In this short time, the club which had started out with a group of footballers wanting to keep fit over summer, had achieved the ultimate against some strong and well established clubs. Charlie Sypott ran a magnificent 100 yards in 10.0sec on grass; a time that stood as a club record for 42 years; until 1967 when Phil May lowered it. (Roy Foley equalled it  in the 1939).

Field events were finally added to the interclub programme for the 1925/26 season and while we were well served in these events we were unable to emulate our premiership. This year saw no finals contest with the VAAA trialling a system which awarded the premiership to the team finishing on top of the ladder after the completion of the season’s competition. Our team was to finish second and was thereby runners up in A Grade. This trial was abandoned for the following season.

 

 

It may come as a surprise to present day athletes that field event athletes were winning titles with distances that current junior athletes are surpassing. These events were only contested at championships, facilities and runups were very primitive and the equipment was very elementary.

 

Pole Vaulting was done with a home sharpened hickory or bamboo poles. There were only grass runups, no box or other assistance when placing the pole on the ground and no landing bags; maybe just some sand. It was not uncommon in soft ground for the pole to  sink deeply into the ground, making progress by the vaulter very difficult. During one Victorian championship, Alf Hunt was involved in a strike of vaulters who considered the ground was too soft and dangerous and they requested a coir mat to give the pole some grip. Permission was refused. Alf had to transport his pole to the ground each week and he managed this by tying it to the outside rail of the suburban train from McKinnon to Richmond.

 

At the conclusion of the 1925/26 season, the club decided to change its name from Glenhuntly Harriers to the Glenhuntly Amateur Athletic Club with the intention of widening activities to  include boxing and wrestling.


The new club logo introduced in 1926.

 

It was at this time that the club took the progressive step of acquiring a fine club house set in the Glenhuntly reserve, adjacent to the Caulfield Racecourse. It was formerly a jockey’s room at Elsternwick Racecourse and was transported to the site; some five miles (8 Kilometres) away. and it was renovated and given to the club by the Caulfield Council in recognition of their excellent record of the previous three years. It had three main rooms, showers, and all conveniences. The VATC fitted it out and connected electric lights. After sharing various facilities with football clubs at Koornang Park and the horse boxes at Caulfield, the club had managed to obtain some of the best training facilities amateur athletes had in Victoria.

 

The addition of this independant club house placed Glenhuntly in a unique position when compared to many other sporting clubs of the era. These rooms became a meeting place for members and the venue for numerous smoke nights and card nights.  While primitive by todays standards, this meeting place gave the club the independance to create and develop a unique club spirit.

 

The death of Mr. James Whitelaw, a recent and popular club president, was a shock to the new club and it was decided by the club committee to instigate an annual handicap race over a distance of 660 yards. The Whitelaw family fully supported this event and donated trophies for the event and often attended its running at the race course. It developed into a prestigious and popular club event with many members proud to be recognised on the winners dais. This event continued to be held for about 50 years, seeming to lose popularity as the Fun Run era began in the 1970s.

 

With membership  still growing and with an enthusiastic support base, the club was eager to  regain its status as a top club with another A Grade pennant. We were keen to  increase the depth of our distance running and following a successful winter cross country season Charlie Graydon and Fred Hamley joined Jack Fraser to give us a very competitive unit. Two further exciting  athletes joined the club as sprints and middle distance runners; Alan Elliston and Herb Bascombe. They were to go on to be two of Australias top performers with Herb being our first national  representative (Empire Games 1930) while Alan broke several  Victorian and Australasian records (includes New Zealand). Alan Elliston was referred to in the press as the athletic find of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Elliston 440 and 880 yards

 

After many exciting competitions and some narrow losses, we made the finals and accounted for EMH in the semi finals. We were to meet the strong and established Geelong Guild team in the Grand Final. They boasted several Victorian Champion athletes and after a very exciting contest in which Alan Elliston won the 880yds, scores were tied at the completion of events. This meant a run off was to be held. Geelong refused an immediate runoff as both Howell and Kroger had been ill and it was considered undesirable to  ask them to compete again that day. The VAAA accepted this plea and set a later date for the runoff. The VAAA decided to run the whole finals programme again, rather than just having a one race run-off.  This programme was to be a re-run over a month later, in late March and after the completion of the Victorian Championships. It was an exciting afternoon with Geelong winning narrowly by 1 point. Alan Elliston, Herb Bascombe, Charlie Sypott and Alf Hunt were superb in the runoff  but luck was not with us as Jack Merrifield had been disqualified in the walk. Geelong Guild won a disputed premiership.

Orm Westcott, Herb Bascombe, Alf Hunt, Alan Elliston and Alan Wallace all won medals at the Victorian Championships and we were runners up to University in the H. H. Hunter shield for most points at these championships. This shield was awarded by the VAAA in memory of Herbert Humphrey Hunter, former Australiasian sprint champion who lost his life at Gallipolli in 1915. In the Mile Medley, (880 yards, 440 yards, 220 yards,220 yards) the team of Herb Bascombe, Alan Elliston, Charlie Sypott and Orm Westcott set a Victorian Record of 3:37.7, our first ever team record.

High, Long, and Hop step and jump,  were events which suffered with poor grass runups and landing pits. High Jumpers jumping into sand did not support the current style of high jumping. Alan Wallace was certainly the doyen of jumpers in this period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan “Kanga” Wallace in HSJ.

 

The 1927/28 season saw the club determined to avenge its loss to Geelong Guild in the previous year’s Grand Final. After a solid season with Herb Bascombe and Alan Elliston the stars, the Grand Final was again with old foes Geelong Guild. We were not going to give them a leg in this time and we went on to be very convincing winners; 55 points to 35 points.

Our Premiership team was:

100 yards                      Herb Bascombe    1st    10.9 .       Orm. Westcott               3rd

120 yard Hurdles            Stuart Oatley                  2nd

440 yards                      Herb Bascombe   1st     51.3 .       Alan Elliston                  2nd

1 Mile Run                     Charlie Graydon  1st   4:41.4 .       Clarrie Noy                   2nd

1 Mile Walk                    Hugh Vines         1st   7:33.5         Aubrey Eve                  3rd

High Jump                     Jack Dunstan      2nd

Hop Step Jump              Alan Wallace       1st    40’ 6”

Weight Put                    Herb Bascombe   2nd   32’ 8 ½”

Mile Medley Relay          A walkover given to Geelong Guild.

Our depth of talent went into C Grade also where we also contested the grand final; losing to CYMS 38 points to 49.

The hurdles used in races were very heavy battens, cross braced fore and aft. There was no question about knocking them over; any athlete hitting them finished very sore. Many athletes used rubber protectors over their spikes. These solid hurdles could certainly account for the relatively slow hurdle times of the day.

An initiative of the Melbourne University club, under the direction of the VAAA, saw the first relay sports meeting in the history of athletics in Australia. More than 20 teams entered and they were placed in three divisions; A, B, and C. Glenhuntly had teams in A and C.  There were three relays ; a sprint medley, distance medley, and a unique 480 yards hurdles shuttle relay. Our club was successful in winning the sprint medley with the team of Herb Bascombe, Alan Elliston, George Storey and Orm Westcott; winning by a yard in 1 min 36.4, almost a victorian record.

We finished third in the distance medley  behind Melbourne University; a race of 440 yards, 880 yards, 1320 yards, and 1 mile. The shuttle relay was an interesting concept with each of 4 runners running over the high hurdles. Our club was third in both the sprint and distance relays in C Grade.

The club was determined to win back to back premierships and went through the 1928/29  season undefeated. We thrashed Geelong Guild in the semi finals but in the Grand final were narrow one point victors over Melbourne University; 43 points to 42 points. Success in the final event, the relay, gave us a hard fought victory. Our C Grade team had a 1  point loss to YMCA in their semi-final.

Our Premiership team was:

Hop Step Jump           Alan Wallace            1st      45’ 10” .  (best ever by a Victorian but it was wind assisted).

Shot Put                    Alan Wallace            2nd      29’ 7”

100 yards                  Orm Westcott          3rd

440 yards                  Herb Bascombe        1st      50.7 .        Alan Elliston         2nd

High Jump                 Ray Coller                2nd     5’ 11”       (Ray had won the Victorian title the week before)

1 Mile Walk                Aubrey Eve              1st     7:24.5

1 Mile Run                 University gained first 3 places.

120 yards Hurdles      Ivan Loel                 1st         16.8        Ray Coller            2nd

Mile Medley Relay       GHY     1st         3:38.6  

 

The club coach at the time, Phil Neeson, rated this team the best he could remember and certainly the results support his view.

The following track season, 1929/30, the Amateur Sportsground opened in gala appearance, with the many premiership pennants fluttering in the wind over the ground entrance.  However, for our club it was a let down following our recent successful seasons. The Amateur Sportsground opened the season in gala appearance, with the many premiership pennants fluttering in the wind over the ground entrance.  Membership fell by 20% to 53 members. The club did not reach the finals in either A or C Grade, losing five rounds in each grade. We were without a top performers, Alan Elliston, Herb Bascombe, and Alf Hunt, for the first three rounds but on their return in round four we had a significant win over CYMS, followed by a number of other successes. However, significant loses to Geelong Guild and East Melbourne Harriers in the final two rounds saw us miss the final series for the first time since 1923.    

A highlight of the season, however, was the selection of Herb Bascombe to represent Australia in the Empire Games to be held in Vancouver Canada in 1930. These were to be the first Empire (Commonwealth) Games and Herb was to be our first international representative. Herb recorded a brilliant 440 yards time of 48.6 seconds during the year to smash his Victorian Record of 49.7; equalling the Australasian record. Alan Elliston also broke a Victorian record during year with his second placing in the 440 yard hurdles; his time being 55.4 seconds. Interestingly, Alan defeated Herb in the Victorian 440 yard championship. He was very unlucky not to have also been selected for the Empire Games team considering his development and excellent season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Bascombe – Empire Games 1930.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The club was very proud to have an Australian representative, one of just six, to be selected in the athletic team. The press reported that Herb’s farewell from his club was one of the most enthusiastic and best organised. Alan Wallace, by then club president, led a chorus of speeches, songs, and a clever conjuror to honour our first international. Herb was presented with a travel bag and fountain pen while the very new, and supportive, women’s club presented a highly decorated cake.

 

Herb did very well in Canada, making the final of the 440 yards, by winning his heat in a time of 48.6. In a star packed final, he finished sixth.

 

This decade had seen the club rise rapidly to be one of the top clubs in the association. Three A Grade, a B Grade and a C Grade Premiership were excellent results for such a young club. Members of the time recall that the club had a tremendous team spirit, a very active and proficient coach with full support of a selection committee and captains, and some extremely talented athletes. Our supporter base was extensive and included trainers, coaches and committee members who provided an excellent administration.

 

The club was now giving special attention to the development of junior athletes. To this end the club arranged the services of a Doctor to act as a medical examinerand adviser to the club. A special programme of exercises and events was arranged but before any junior boy could take part he had to undergo a medical examination, to be followed up again after twelve months.

 
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Phil Hutton,
Sep 23, 2017, 5:26 AM
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