Thursday, June 20, 2013

First football club at Elizabeth

Extracted from an oral history interview with Bren Gillen in 1996.

The first club was the football club, which the main chairman and organiser was a chap called Tom Croxton, and Charlie Pyatt, our local league footballer he was the coach and they got a team going. I became a player and also the second secretary – Jim McCulloch was the first secretary, and Bob Downie was the Treasurer – we recruited a number of players from the RAAF boys that came over when Edinburgh Airport had stared. They came over and played in Elizabeth and played competition against Salisbury, Salisbury North and Virginia, and Gawler Central and Gawler South. There was great rivalry in those days.  
 
Our first oval was down here on Ridley Road Oval, and it was just vacant paddock and we had a lot of assistance from the Housing Trust from Vic Barrell and Alec Ramsey, who helped out with the materials and equipment to develop the oval. We also raised funds to build our own club rooms. During those days there was lack of entertainment in the town, and the committee of the Elizabeth Football Club got together and we hired the hall, which was the Methodist Hall, which is now the Uniting Church Hall, and we ran movie nights there. We hired 16 mm film and an operator and normally packed the place in with probably a shilling a head. That went on for a number of years and we raised funds to build our club rooms down at Elizabeth on Ridley Road, which is still standing now but is used by the hockey club and the Elizabeth South Soccer Club.
 
First premiership we beat Virginia if I recall, and we had a party down in the hall with no roof on, no flooring, just the walls up and tarpaulins across the place.  We had the fortune of having the voluntary labour and donated materials from various organisations, like the builders around the place, Kennet Brothers and Coombe and Cramer are two that come to mind. Mr Alec Harrison spent a lot of time in helping, Rick Bolton, who was general foreman for one of the building companies used to come and help us with the building of the club rooms. One night we’d gone home, we had all the walls up, ready to put the trussed on the roof, and the east wind came along and blew the eastern side wall down. So that was a set back at which a few words were said. Then we eventually got going with our own club rooms there. And we went on to have social functions here and all the rest of it.

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