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KARRAGULLEN SPORTS CLUB
Research by Gordon Freegard
Impromptu sports meetings were held at Illawarra on Boxing Days. Children were catered for in the main but events for adults also created much interest. These included an Old Buffer's Race, Men's Tug-of-Warm, Stepping 100 yards and a Ladies Race. In latter years Eric Price made a major contribution in organising and improving these Sports Days. There are memories of an Obstacle Race in which Eric made certain that every boy would trip over a rope hidden in the scrub. The course included crawling under a large tarpaulin sheet pegged very tightly to the ground.
Cricket was always a favourite sport, even when only four persons could be mustered - two playing on each side and playing "single wicket" with the opposing side supplying the wicketkeeper. Subsequently additional players of all ages from 6 to 50 odd, or thereabouts, were prevailed upon to play.
SPORTS DAY EGG ON SPOON RACE ILLAWARRA c1918 #1
SPORTS DAY RUNNING RACE ILLAWARRA c1918 #2
PRICE PACTISING VAULTING AT ILLAWARRA #3
The Karragullen Sports Club was formed in 1921 with Harold Stinton as President, Edgar Prosser as Secretary for a short period then succeeded by Hector Price and Wilfred Bettenay as Treasurer. Other active members were Albie Saunders, Laurie Mason, Rod McCaskill and with a good measure of support from the older girls of the district. A sports ground was cleared and drained adjacent to the new hall. The location was between J. O'Meagher's and F. Macri's orchards.
Two successful sports meetings were conducted in 1922 and 1923. The first Athletic Meeting was held late in 1922. Arthur Bettenay was very prominent by winning the High Jump, and Hector Price, the 100 yards Sprint Championship, for which the member for Swan, Hon. R. S. Sampson, M.L.A., provided a gold medal.
Another and larger meeting was held the next year when the ever popular Log Chops were included. The latter one included a Log Chop, one of the main events in all gatherings of this kind in the timber districts of Western Australia, including Canning Mills, Pickering Brook and Kalamunda. Orchard folk were not usually expert axemen but there were excellent axemen in the timber industry.
The logs were supplied by the Club and four members (obviously not experienced axemen) selected with confidence a fine looking jarrah tree in the bush. After this tree was felled and barked prior to sawing into the required lengths, the girth measurement revealed that it was just undersize, to their utmost dismay. This was just before the strict enforcement of Forestry Department regulations whereby every tree utilised had to be marked by an officer.
These log chops were always a main feature and spectacular. Sam Hunter was a prominent axeman and athlete at his peak - also Murd McKenzie. Other events were:- 100 yards Foot Race - Male and Female, Triple Jump, High Jump, Sack Races and Three Legged Races. Reasonable cash prizes were paid for the Log Chop winners. Successful fund raising campaigns included "Popular Girl" and "Ugly Man" Competitions. The latter term was just a figure of speech and was borrowed from a World War 1 fund-raising appeal.
KARRAGULLEN SPORTS DAY LOG CHOP c1924-25 #4
Sports Meetings were held at other venues on odd occasions, There were two at Canning Mills with Log Chops as the main feature, one at Pickering Brook and another at Barton's Mill between 1920 and 1925.
The Club's prosperity did not last for many years on account of several factors, including the dreath of young people, the resumption of some properties by the Water Supply Department, and the advent of motor transport. With the advent of better forms of travel to other areas, larger groups of young people joined together for sporting and social activities. The Karragullen Sports Club became defunct about 1925 and the funds were handed over to the Hall Committee. Most lads by then possessed ponies and some had motorbikes. Motor vehicles, both cars and trucks started to become the mode of transport around about 1924 and thereafter bicycles were not used as the tracks were too rough and "rutty". Many who had previously supported the Karragullen Sports Club, met regularly at Pickering Brook, for Tennis on two courts situated on the property of Harry Weston, situated below Mooney's Cool Store. Weston's shed cum hall, was used for social gatherings prior to the construction of the Carilla Hall.
KARRAGULLEN CRICKET TEAM 1929c #5
Back Row L-R: ? , HECTOR PRICE, MAX PARKIN, WILFRED PRICE, ROY PARKIN, ALF DAVIES, KEITH PARKIN.
Cricket was played on a concrete pitch about 1922. The pitch was probably constructed by, or for, the Pioneer's Sports Club, by that time defunct or nearly so. With people from the Carmel and Roleystone areas joining in, there was barely enough to make up two teams for social games. There were very few from Carilla, then known as Number One Mill, an area which then was mainly in the development stage. Bobby Selk, a slow bowler for the West Australian State Team in the 1905 - 1910 era, was often present and played occasionally. On at least two occasions they played a team from Barton's Mill, which was then a timber mill, not a Prison.
There was some interest in Australian Rules Football but lack of numbers precluded this sport developing to any extent. A tennis court was erected on the Pickering Sports Ground about 1922-24 and this was probably the nucleus of, or the beginning of, the Pickering Brook Sports Club, although it was not organizes as such at that time. There were also a few private tennis courts built in the mid 1920's.
References: Article: Eric Price
Image: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Tom Price
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