Photo: Ron Hamence with Ernie Toshack on the 1948 trip to England
Top of the field naturally has to be Ron Hamence who toured England in 1948 with the Australian Cricket Team commonly referred to as “The Invincibles”.
We also had several other players represent South Australia in cricket, Len Michael and Rex Blundell both kept wicket and were useful batsmen whilst Alan Hitchcox was a useful enough State bowler for the Poms to brand him “Pitchcox.”
In Australian Rules Football, I believe the most significant employee was Bernie Smith (photo above) who played for Geelong after commencing with West Adelaide whilst Fred Hardwicke played for North Adelaide.
I seem to recall that Brian James may have played for Glenelg but am not certain of this.
Greg Novice and John Elsdon represented Norwood and Glenelg respectively in the Reserves whilst I believe Reg Handke played Colts football for Norwood.
Several GPD employees made their mark as umpires at SANFL level. Dean “Eagle Eye” Groves was a league goal umpire for an eternity as well as cricket umpire.
Alan Lethbridge, John McInerney and David Barber were all boundary umpires for many seasons. David Barber was also a very useful runner.
Many others showed talent in other sports, Paul Cowie, back in the 1960s, was an excellent table tennis player as were Jack Taylor, Paul Korff and Frank Nelson.
The GPD used to field table tennis teams at the Railways Institute during the week with much success.
It was a very entertaining lunch room in the 1960-1970s watching these guys go head to head.
We have all heard about the escapades of Graeme “Yank” Hall who played Pennant Tennis and supposedly beat Frank Sedgman with one hand and using a frying pan.
Many of our staff participated in shooting down at the Dean Rifle Range. I do not know what standard any of these people reached but I do recall that Jack Findlay and Max Gill competed regularly in these events.
The most all round talented sportsman that worked at the Government Printing Office was probably John “Mooster” Bryant.
He could play all sports. He played Reserves football for North Adelaide and would have played league if not for a liking for the “amber fluid”.
He played a match for Thompson Football Club, kicked 16 goals, but in the Sunday Mail it was recorded as 4 goals, so he would not be selected next week for the North Adelaide Reserves.
John was an excellent 8-ball player and can claim to have beaten Eddie Charlton.
I know it is true, I was there. He beat him twice and Eddie got the sh**s.
He now plays pennant bowls for Lockleys and believe me he can more than hold his own with most bowlers.