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History & Honours

With over seventy years of history, the Camberwell Hockey Club has some serious stories under the belt. The following page provides a unique insight into the ins and outs of our club, written by Peter Ridland.

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Team of the Century

Announced 29th July, 2000

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International Reps

For Australia & Other Countries

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First Grade Premierships

MA-1, WMLO, MSL1, WSL1, MPL

Jesse Foster Cup

So We Never Forget

A written summary of Camberwell Hockey Club’s History

Men’s Club

In 1931 two Surrey Hills based hockey players decided to set up a club in Camberwell. These players were Harry Box who was then playing University and Jack Wright who was playing with Elsternwick. 

A meeting of prospective players was called and they met at the Highfield Road Methodist Church Hall. The attendees were mostly cricketers from the Surrey Hills Presbyterian Cricket Club and the Highfield Road Methodist Cricket Club. The Reverend Howard Knuckey from the Methodist Church chaired the meeting and he subsequently became the first President of the Camberwell Hockey Club. From the minutes of that meeting:

Mr Wright moved that a hockey club be formed.

Seconded by Mr Dunn. Carried Unanimously.

Camberwell Hockey Club Minutes

31st March 1932

Two teams were entered into the Victorian Amateur Hockey Association competition that year. The firsts were captained by Jack Wright and in their first year were Premiers in the B1 Grade. They were promoted to A2 in 1933 and were runners-up earning promotion to the top grade A1 for the 1934 season. In 1938 the Camberwell Hockey Club won its first A1 Grade Premiership. The senior men were to win another 21 first grade premierships over the next 79 years to 2017.

Junior Section

1937 saw the first junior team established at the Club. Although well supported by the senior players it took some years before the juniors really took off – the Club still only had 3 junior teams in 1970. But that was all to change very quickly and the strength today of the Camberwell Hockey Club junior section owes much to the work of many particularly Ken Phillips. 

Women’s Section

By Sue Howard

(Camberwell Women’s Hockey Club was established in 1950 and was a different legal entity to the Camberwell Hockey Club. The two merged in 2005.)

The history of the women’s club has not been recorded (a great piece of work to do) but I have cobbled together a bit of information based on some old newspaper clippings, some stories from Karen Russ and my own experience of the Club from 1983 onwards.  

The newspaper clippings about the Camberwell Women’s Hockey Club from the early seventies include a lot of stories about Noel Payze.  She represented Australia and Victoria and was the Captain/Coach of the Camberwell women’s team in the late sixties and early seventies.  During this time the club had a number of women who played for Australia, and the State team was filled with Camberwell players.  It was the club that many young women from the country were directed to when they came to Melbourne, and so were girls from schools around Melbourne.

Karen Russ joined the club in 1971 and she recalls there were 2 or 3 teams at the time. The club trained at a variety of venues including Frog Hollow Reserve.  Women did not start using the Matlock facility until sometime later.  During the seventies and early eighties the Melbourne A Grade competition was dominated by Yarra Valley and Camberwell.  Between 75 and 83 the teams played in 8 grand finals and Camberwell won 4.

It was classic kitchen table club administration and that partly explains why the history is hard to piece together.  From year to year a box of papers needed to run the club would be passed from one hapless secretary to another.  The club struggled on that front for a while, but the club got a bit more organised in the mid 80’s.  The junior girls started in 1984 and lots of senior players, particularly from the 1sts and 2nds, took on jobs as coaches, on the committee and as umpires.  A junior section of the administration was also established and it was really successful.  By 1990 there were 6 junior girls’ teams and 6 senior women’s teams.   

In 1990 the club had five of its 6 senior women’s team in Grand Finals and won 3 and 2 of its 6 junior girls teams also won their first finals.  There is so much more to say really… another time perhaps.

Our Grounds

The Club has had two homes – originally Wattle Park and then in 1939 Matlock Reserve. Matlock was the first non-grass ground in Victoria. It was originally made of cinder ash from the Colonial Gas Works at Box Hill and the Power House at Newport, but this proved to be very difficult when it became wet and a better way of binding the surface was applied. The surface was replaced with a scoria surface in 1971, and the first synthetic carpet was laid in ­1986. The problem of finding another ground has haunted the club from it very earliest days with Highfield Park and Frog Hollow figuring in committee minutes over many years. The first lights were installed in 1955 and upgraded in 1971, 1986 and 2016.

Our Colours

On his way to the meeting that established the club, Jack Wright was wondering what uniform would be appropriate for the club. His sister-in-law was wearing a bright tangerine pullover and that caught his eye. He took it to the meeting and the colour was accepted along with Royal Blue. Mike Craig’s book tells the story that two players who were tailors, Russell and Gordon Ince obtained some tangerine dye and issued a packet to each member. According to Jack: “They all came out different colours!”

Source: “A History of the Camberwell Hockey Club 1932-1982” – Mike Craig