One local trip, Bob Parker volunteered to play his piano accordion. Poor bloke got booed off both buses and never volunteered his services again.
Wayne Vitnell on his first and only cricket trip, got on the bus bragging how he could outdrink everyone. He was pissed by Bordertown and spent the whole trip, sick as a dog.
The plane trip when a young playing member took his own bat with him on the plane. Whilst distracted his cherished bat was borrowed and passed around the whole plane, only returning when signed by most of the passengers on the flight. Never touch his bat!
The show in the canteen when Bob Allen coerced Rod Parham to perform on stage with that delightful blonde entertainer. Who cared whether she could sing or not.
I recall the contribution made by Fred Godson. Fred was a cricket umpire who had officiated in many State games. He was befriended by Ron Hamence and was asked to officiate in our home matches. He enjoyed the weekends so much he and his wife became a member of the club for decades.
For many years the cricket club ran “The Golden Circle” draws. There was a weekly draw during the year with a final big draw. This was well supported by all GPD members and the proceeds were used to offset the cost of the cricket weekends, which were not paltry.
Unfortunately, with the division of the Melbourne Printing Office into smaller units the quality of cricketers and number of members steadily declined.
Our own Cricket club began to face similar problems.
To try to keep the weekends going it was decided to amalgamate the two clubs and we visited Mildura and played as a composite side in 1995 and 1996 against Mildura West Cricket Club.
Bruce Lockier provided the off field entertainment.
Unfortunately in 1997 the decision was made to “declare our innings closed” and an “Auld Langsyne” was held in Melbourne.
A great finale was held with the cost to all participating members being subsidised from the remaining club funds. We stayed at the Travel Inn Motel where we held a Welcome Dinner on Saturday night and a Farewell Luncheon at the Cuckoo Restaurant.
Thanks to all those who helped create the Institution.
The Memories will last “For Ever and Ever”.
The main organisers over the years were Jack Findlay, Ron Hamence, Les Hawes, Ted Burkert, Bob Allen and Bruce Brown.
The Victorian GPO first visited us in January 1951. A picnic was organised at Balhannah which included a tug of war and the first annual cricket match.
Our first cricket side had such notables as Merv Clark, Eric Swinstead, Ron Hamence, Len Michael, Howard Nilsson, Alec McDougall and Dean Groves. The Victorian team included Bill Purves, Doug Stewart, Albert Willcox and Bill Duckworth.
South Australia won the match 183 to 156 runs.
The next year South Australia visited Melbourne and this tradition continued with each team travelling to the other State in alternate years.
The home teams won the matches up until 1964 which coincidentally was my very first trip, at age 16. The bus left on Friday with a stop at Tailem Bend and tea break at Bordertown.
Those days there was no booze on the bus. We drove through the night with most people trying to catch some shuteye or singing “Forever and Ever.
We arrived in Melbourne around 6 am and had to stop opposite Flemington race track. We were not able get into our hotel, until 9 or 10 am. So we watched the horses doing their track gallops for several hours. It was freezing!
After checking in a group of us decided we would go to the Young and Jackson Hotel, to see the famous nude painting of Chloe. We got lost!
That evening we had a Cabaret at the Brunswick Hall and the next morning we went to the Kew Mental Institution to play cricket.
We had twelve players including Barry O’Donnell and myself. We were put through our paces by Ron Hamence and Laurie Blackwell to see who would make the final cut.
The final team was announced in batting order, Blackwell, Walker, Blundell, Buckby, Wight, Lind, Evans, Groves, Fisher, Crawford and Ron Hamence.
Victoria batted and we restricted them to 5/125. Laurie Blackwell and John Walker had an opening stand of 84 and our first success in Victoria was a possibility. Several quick wickets fell and with the overs dwinding Malcolm Lind and Dean Groves were promoted up the order. We won by 13 runs.
That night when I returned to the room there was Mort and Grubby drinking in the room. I went off to bed.
Later, I felt this hand coming up from under the bed. I grabbed my beloved cricket bat and whacked this guy with it. I thought I had killed hm. I ran from the room screaming with Mort and Grubby chasing me, saying it was a joke.
The cricket club was much more than just about cricket. Most members joined to experience a unique weekend.
On the Saturday, many members went to the local races and at night entertainment was usually a Cabaret at the Tube Mills, and later the Show Boat on the Port River.
The atmosphere at the cricket was hilarious, who can forget the “Arfa Dunga” show at the Unley Oval put on by Colin Rawlings and David Barber.
The Monday was a men’s only day until the late 1970s when the women became involved. Bus trips were organised to places like Hardy’s winery.
The Les Hawes trophy would be presented along with the handover of the Perpetual Shield.
After a night at North Melbourne Football Club listening to a pissed S.A. captain saying “excuse me” all night, “Chalky” Marks created the “Excuse Me” club.
You were given a leather strip with a number on it. If you did not present it upon request, you were fined 20 cents, The fines were used by Chalky to buy prizes drawn on the Monday.
Bob Allen would arrange with the GP to borrow the delivery van over the weekend. It was used to carry the cricket equipment, “odd” keg of beer and tressles. Ron Garland normally drove.
Once we stopped for a piss break outside of Bordertown. We all got back on the bus and ten minutes up the road, “Nobby” began muttering “Where’s Artie?”
We turned the bus around and went back about 15 kms. There was Artie trying to negotiate the wire fence alongside the highway. (see part 2)
In the front on the Left we have Geoff Morey with beard (who was a loud mouthed Victorian or was it New South Welshman and great bloke).
I think Geoff was a sort of honorary member of the South Australian Cricket Club.
Sadly, Geoff died quite young. The Morey Family kindly donated a Pewter Mug in Geoff’s memory to be given to a South Australian who made an outstanding non sporting contribution to the successs of each Annual Trip.
Moving along we have a lady unknown and then the late Bob Allen. Middle Row: Reg Handke and Ian Grunert (looking more like a woman each passing day).
Back Row: The late Adrian Chennell (seated), Darryl “Chook” Preece, Bulldog, The late John Elsdon, Parham, Big Den and on the extreme right is that Rob Powell or Sleepy?
Photo courtesy Tony Fitzsimmons
Left to Right: Todd Roberts, Lew Murray, Richard Searle, Darryl O’Keefe, David Wynes, Russell Wight, Neville Riddle, David Lee, Chris Smith, Phil Pocock, Alan Davis, Tim Roberts and Craig Roberts.
The umpire was Bruce McColl.
The Match was held in 1992 at the Strathmore Reserve in Victoria.
South Australia 95 Runs defeated Victoria 94 Runs. A Close One.
Photo: It’s a great picture of some members of the Cricket Club on a Government Printing Office Cricket Club Weekend in 1975.
South AustralIa would play the Victorian GPO each year either in Adelaide or Melbourne.
From Left to Right: Graham Braybrook (Seated), the late Ron Hamence (member of the 1948 Australian Test side) and the late Tommy McDermott (Honorary South Australian).
At the Back: the late Paul Korff and Alan Maynard.
Photo Courtesy of the Korff Family.
Photo: (from left to Right) Bob Allen, Keith Oxley and Coralie Hills.
Sadly our little Aussie battler Bob passed away quietly on 1 February, 2017, aged 83.
Bob was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland and emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s. Within two days of his arrival he was working at the Old Guv in King William Road as a Binder.
Some Highlights of our Bob’s time at the Guv.
1. Arranged the controversial Casino Night at the Netley Canteen which was raided by the Police Vice Squad, resulting in headline news, arrests, broken property and the theft of Anatoli Onishko’s cash register.
2. Entered Australia as a Ten Pound tourist and was employed at the Guv after telling Merv “Nobby” Clark that he had played cricket for the Northern Ireland Test team.
3. He was duly appointed to the GPO Cricket Club as Head Coach and senior adviser to our Captain for Life, Mr. Russell Wight.