Club 1864 Newsletter - March 2017
There has been a good start towards our target of 100+ past players and officials becoming financial members of our footy club. Over the last month the following have signed on:
Brian Harvey, George Bindless, George Mazouris, Peter Lausch, Graeme Buchanan, Dean Humphries, Bob Jones, John Williams, Ray Smith, Bruce Wookey, Lou Raunik, Terry Wheeler, Mark Cross, Mick Mulligan, Matt Cape, John Grieve, Bill Ritchie, Conrad Taylor, Clint Rippon, Gary & Judy Jeremiah, Geoff van Wyngaarden, “Doc” Gilani, Bernadette O’Sullivan, Bob Pearman, Leigh Sheehan, Glen Smith, Peter Ryan, Bill Dooley, Larry Simmons and Kim Kershaw.
All past players and officials are encouraged to either contact the Club on 9391 0309 or complete the on-line membership form via the following link:
1. Club 1864 Barefoot Bowls Evening = $25.00
· Friday 17th March, 2017
· Williamstown Bowling Club, Melbourne Road, Williamstown
· 5.00pm for a 6.00pm start
· Finger food included with drinks at bar prices
2. Club 1864 Quarterly luncheon
· Thursday 30th March, 2017
· Steampacket Hotel, Cole Street, Williamstown
4 time Club Champion and Hall of Fame inductee, Kim Kershaw, hosts this luncheon. Come and join Kim for lunch and a few drinks all at bar prices.
3. Past Players and Officials Reunion
· Sunday 7th May 2017
· Rd 4 v Coburg Lions at Burbank Oval
· Once you are in the ground all Past Players and Officials are invited to the Seaview Room to enjoy the game and the company.
FEATURE – John Molyneux
Written by Geoff Van Wyngaarden
There are only 2 men who have played in a senior premiership team with each of the Williamstown Cricket Club (1946-47) and the Williamstown Football Club (1949). These two great men are the late Gordon Ogden and a local living legend John Molyneux. This ninety-one year old is a modest and humble man who still lives locally and goes to the cricket ground for the first hour of play every Saturday afternoon. He is regularly seen around Williamstown.
Molyneux born in 1926 grew up in Williamstown and attended the Strathmore Grammar School (later to become Westbourne Grammar) at the Holy Trinity Hall in Pasco Street and then attended the prestigious Melbourne Grammar School where he excelled in both cricket and football. He has lived on The Strand in Williamstown since 1940 and before that in Ferguson Street.
In 1945 he joined the Navy for a couple of years being mainly based in Darwin. He played football and cricket there for the Navy team in the local competition and was captain of each team. At the completion of World War II, John joined the Williamstown Cricket Club and had his first full season in the premiership season of 1946-47.
In 1949 he joined the Williamstown Football Club and played in that seasons premiership win against Oakleigh at the Junction Oval in St.Kilda in front of 40,000 spectators.
Williamstown was unbeaten at home in 1949. Molyneux played in the forward pocket alongside the great full-forward Ron Todd and would go on and play a total of 77 games with a tally of 77 goals between the 1949 and 1953 seasons. Season 1950 was his best as he received 24 votes in the J.J.Liston Medal for the VFA Best and Fairest award finishing in equal 5th position.
He well remembers that training back then took place on the local Morris Street ground 2 nights per week.
“It was mainly circle work, running around the ground in circles kicking stab kicks. There were no lights at the ground and the showers at the ground were lukewarm if anything. Players in the senior team received 3 pounds per game but you had to pay one pound yourself for the football boots. Footballs were terribly heavy, very much like old medicine balls and very hard on the hands.”
Williamstown was called “The Seagulls” but there was no club song with which to celebrate victories,
“After the game you just had a shower and went home.”
All games were played on a Saturday afternoon and the Reserves played on the opposition ground at the same time. The Reserves operated as a separate club with their own President, Treasurer, Secretary and committee. The Reserves ran a Sunday morning drink with barrels of beer at the back of the grandstand.
Molyneux recalls that competition was always very keen for senior spots.
“Players were informed if they were selected in the senior side when they read the Friday morning daily newspapers. Players were given no individual knowledge or indication that they might get dropped from the senior side. During the season the club always looked to League (VFL) clubs for players. Essendon 2nds were very fruitful for Williamstown with the recruitment of John Ramsay, Jack Simpson, Reid and Carmichael. Also Footscray was a great recruitment ground with players such as Alby Linton who was a star. You were always under pressure to keep your spot in the team because League footballers could be recruited.”
Coach of the Williamstown Football Club in 1949 was Gordon Ogden and the captain was Ron Todd. At that time, quarter time was a straight change of ends, so the players’ first break came at half time when they went into the clubrooms and sat down Molyneux recollected.
“The three quarter time break was on the ground when players were given oranges and a bottle of sherry was regularly passed around. I think the trainers had a sip during the game. There were half a dozen trainers. The Head Trainer was Fred Sutton, with Bob Major taking over after Sutton retired. Major had been trained in the Navy and St. Johns. Such was the confidence we had in these great head trainers; there was no need for a club doctor.”
There were not many social functions held. The Annual Ball was held at the Williamstown Town Hall. The president of the club was A.J.(Alf) Urban who was a chemist in Douglas Parade. The secretary was Larry Floyd who was a proof-reader by trade but later became full time secretary of the Carlton Football Club and later on a member for parliament. The end of season trip in 1949 was held in Wollongong in a guesthouse on the water’s edge. Molyneux reminisced,
“It was very pleasant. Most players drank alcohol but in different proportions from heavy drinkers to a few glasses only.”
Players got paid every Thursday night by the treasurer A.J.(Jim) Mc Conville who was a local teacher in the state school system. Payment of 3 pounds was in cash and not in an envelope.
“Initially I did not take payment and the treasurer held it in trust. There was always the thought that I could return to play in the Amateurs. When my tally got to about 75 pounds I eventually agreed to take the money.”
“In 1949 I wore the number 28 jumper and later on the number 10 with season 1953 being my last year. I played under the coaching of Gordon Ogden, Adrian “Spud” Dullard and Billy Williams. The best players that I played with included Ron Todd who was outstanding, a champion; Johnny Walker, Colin Wilcox, Harry Simpson, Johnny Martin and Ray Smith.”
He described Gerry “Monster” Callahan who started at Williamstown in 1951 as
“A good and strong player, an inspirational speaker and an impressive and intelligent person who got the best out of people.”
(This is an extract from an extended interview with local sporting legend John Molyneux, complied and written by Geoff van Wynggarden. Club 1864 acknowledges and appreciates this contribution.)