History

History

PRE-WAR PERIOD – 1921-1940 The Beginning

Following an advertisement in a Brisbane newspaper in 1921 by Mr. S. Willmott, a hockey meeting, at which six persons attended, was held for the purpose of commencing the game in this State.

After deciding that Mr. Willmott form a team from among his friends, it was also resolved that the Military Authorities be approached for the purpose of forming other teams. This was done and a Mr. Jock Stevens was deputised to approach the Valley 9th Battalion Cadets. Mr. Stevens arrived one night at the Boundary Street Drill Hall when the N.C.Os were receiving instruction and a team was formed on the spot. The Drill Hall was situated in the area which today is occupied by St. James’ Catholic School and the entrance to Barry Parade.

Mr. Stevens knew nothing about hockey, but had played soccer and several of those present had also played soccer. They were told that hockey was played in a similar way.

The Early Years

The original members of the Club lived for Hockey only in the first three years. They trained five nights a week and sometimes all day Sundays. They read everything about Hockey they could lay their hands on and even played in the summer. This may be regarded as being selfish because the same eleven always played and the 12th man did not get a game for three seasons. The team won the Premiership in 1921-22 and 23. Many of the team in that short time visited Sydney and also played against New Zealand.

Unbeaten Record Continues

The Valley team continued unbeaten in 1924-26 and 27. In 1926 every member of the “A” team was selected for the Melbourne Carnival, nine being selected in the first pick, but when two of those originally selected had to withdraw, the other two were chosen to take their place. In 1927 the opposition was getting much better, but the team gained their best goal average of all time – 113 goals for 5 against.

Team Splits Up

In 1928, at the request of the Q.H.A, the top Valley team was split up to make the competition more even. It was reasoned that the fairest way that this could be done was to cut the team down the centre with the centre-forward going in the opposite side to the centre-half and tossing for the goal-keeper, the rest of both teams was filled up from lower grades. Both teams were fielded in “A” Grade. From the Association’s point of view the split did not have the desired effect, as the teams were Premiers and Runners-up in 1928-29 and 30, and were only beaten by each other, making a record of seven years unbeaten by any other club.
The original first team was reformed in 1931 and the Club lost some good senior players in doing so to other clubs, as it could not continue to field two first division teams.

12 Premierships

About this time the Valley lower grades began to make their presence felt and were winning Premierships. The Club membership had grown by leaps and bounds. At this time also the Club had created what was believed then to be a world’s record for any field game – twelve successive “A” Grade Premierships.
In the thirteenth year of existence Valley lost the Premiership to Windsor Club and had to take second place. However, they regained the Shield in the following year and held it through until the War Years.

Junior Club

Club member, Col Cormie, was the founder of Junior and Schoolboy Hockey in Brisbane in 1928 and thanks to his foresight the Club’s growth since that date has always been from below.

During the Pre-War period the Club had fielded as many as seven (7) Junior teams in a year.

Touring Side – The Valley Wanderer

In the Pre-War era of the Club the Valley Wanderers was formed. This Club was formed within the Club and had a membership of 20. It did a tremendous lot to foster Country Hockey. It was simply a touring side which represented the Club in the country. It played in the Northern Rivers of NSW, Warwick, Gympie, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Dalby and elsewhere. The Valley Wanderers Club was disbanded as a result of the war, but its name had been kept alive by nominating the top representative sides in Intercity Carnivals in the Post-War period as Valley Wanderers teams.

 

WORLD WAR II YEARS – 1940-1945

Unofficial Competition

With the onset of hostilities, Premiership Competition in Brisbane was disbanded in 1940. During the years 1941-1945, a modified unofficial competition was held in which Valley played its part by fielding two teams each year.
Army teams took part in this competition and several Valley servicemen on leave played part-time with the Club.

Lest We Forget

We are proud of the fact that some 80 members of the Club served their country during this period. The Club suffered loss and we pay homage to the following members who paid the supreme sacrifice during this period.

Paddy Fitzgerald – RAAF
Jack Reid – AIF
Roy Shiels – AIF
Jim Heers – RAAF
Myles Jefferson – RAAF
Bernie Lee – RAAF

 

THE POST-WAR YEARS – 1946-1971

Fixture Games Recommence

After the cessation of hostilities in 1945 and the demobilisation of members in the services, Premiership Competition in Brisbane recommenced in 1946. The “A” Grade side was successful in winning the top Premiership in the first year of the post-war era.

Playing Highlights

During this Post-War period we have been successful in winning a large share in Premierships in all grades and in having Club Members attain representative honours in International and Interstate Hockey on many occasions, as a reference to the records will show.

Perhaps there were two outstanding occasions however, which are worthy of special mention. The first of these was in 1948 when no fewer than six Club Members were chosen for the Australian team to tour New Zealand. This was the first Australian team to win the Manning Memorial Cup.

The second year worthy of special mention was 1951 when the Club hit an all time high by winning, in Senior and Junior Divisions, no fewer than nine out of a possible twelve Premierships.

 

Present Day

Pre 1997 the Club continued with business as usual with the annual junior break-up taking the form of a fun day either at the home grounds or Kalinga Park. Games and races were organised for the young ones with the trophy presentation time being the highlight of the day. Bi-annual trips to Sydney to play matches against our sister club “Glebe” provided a source of interest within the Club for players and social supporters alike. The senior men’s part of the Club raised funds by chook raffles in hotels (every Friday) and on the occasions when we had home games at Shaw Park. Everyone liked a beer and the goose clubs made good money. This good fortune was shared with the junior boy’s section and the cost to play hockey for them was minimal.

Slowly as time moved onwards things changed. The drinking laws had a profound effect on bar profits as more players went home early, not prepared to risk being caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The artificial turf, an essential part of the modern hockey game, increased costs to players in the top grades, as there is a charge each time the field is used either for playing games or practice. Games and training are scheduled at night and therefore another cost of lighting is added.

Sponsorship has all but dried up with only those people who have a personal tie with the Club helping in a small way.

The cost of running a big club such as ours continued to increase and all fund raising went to paying the overheads such as lights for training, building and field maintenance, rates, lease costs, insurance, mowing, marking, cold rooms, canteen improvements, government costs etc.

In 1997 the Club Executive joined the ranks of “Contemporary Business Activities” with the formulation of it’s Corporate Plan 1997-2001. The mission statement of that plan is “The establishment of a club that lives up to it’s revered Alma Mater (NULLI SECUNDUS- Second to None) through its attainment of individual player success, team excellence, Club unity and prosperity.”

In 1998 Valley Hockey Club Inc. entered into a five year licence agreement with Kedron-Wavell Services Club Inc. whereby Valley Hockey Club Inc. surrendered its unencumbered lease of Shaw Park to enhance the formulation/operations of a multi-sports complex titled Shaw Sportz Limited. The terms of licence provide for the running expenses on the old Shaw Park part of the complex to be met by Shaw Sportz Limited and Valley Hockey Club Inc. to pay an annual licence fee.
The primary benefits of the move to our Club were perceived as being: –

  • Reduced direct maintenance costs (clubhouse, field lease etc)
  • borne by Valley Hockey Club Inc.
  • A closer liaison between Valley Hockey Men and Women
  • Maximisation of the use of Shaw Park
  • Longevity of the occupancy of Shaw Park
  • Minimisation of costs to players/parents
  • Retention of the identity of Valley Hockey Club

Following the collapse of ShawSportz in 2008, the Valley Hockey Club Board of Management negotiated with the Brisbane City Council (BCC) to regain the lease to Shaw Park.

Valley Hockey Club Inc. (VHC) held the lease on Shaw Park from 1958 to 1998. In March 1998, VHC surrendered its then unencumbered five (5) year lease to Kedron Wavell Services Club to enhance the formation of a community oriented multi sports complex which was to be titled ShawSportz Limited.

As we are all aware the venture did not gain the success that was portrayed in 1998 until its final demise early last year. All club members have been impacted since then by the uncertainty of the future of Shaw Park and VHC has been in a degree of limbo.

It is with great pleasure that BCC agreed to reissue the Head Lease to the six (6) playing fields and the clubhouse to VHC. It was then up to VHC to sub lease the facilities to other current and future users of the facilities. For example, VHC negotiated with Brisbane Hockey Association to return Shaw Park to being the central venue for grass hockey (junior and senior) in Brisbane.

A draft lease agreement was drawn up by BCC which was vetted by the Board prior to signature. BCC maintained the complex until 30 June 2010 when VHC then assumed full responsibility for the maintenance. VHC Board negotiated with another group for mutually favourable terms for them to complete the ongoing field maintenance and line marking. When the lease was previously held by VHC these tasks were undertaken by club members.

Since the demise of ShawSportz, BCC have been extremely helpful and understanding of the position VHC have been placed in and they should be congratulated for the assistance and support they have provided in that time.

The successful return of the lease of Shaw Park to VHC was recognition of the strong relationship with BCC established by our immediate Past President Norm Ludwig, as without this relationship and his exemplary management of Shaw Park during the previous leases regaining the lease may not have been as successful as it was.

With this great news come some great opportunities for the future of VHC but also this will mean assistance from our club members, both junior and senior. A great source of revenue for our club will be the canteen and this will not run successfully without the support of you all.

VHC subsequently submitted a grant application to the State Government and that success allowed funds to be provided to refurbish the clubhouse and some much needed items purchased to ensure that the clubhouse returned to being a great place for our members to be.

VHC has now established a very strong relationship with local schools and community groups who utilise the Shaw Park fields extensively during the day. Additionally the fields are widely used at night by Touch Rugby League and Kickit Touch. Both of these organisations respect the fields they play on and an additional factor in Shaw Park being recognised by BCC as a Community Hub.

VHC invest considerable funds into the maintenance of the fields and they are recognised by many groups as being some of the best fields in Brisbane. This is borne out by every year more organisations seek to use our fields.

Valley Hockey Club was formed in 1921 and it continues to thrive when other clubs have faded. We have produced more players who have represented Australia than any other club in the Country. We are proud to belong to such an organisation with such a proud history and a strong future.

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