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PROTRACK » GENERAL » St George Athletic Club - 90 successful years

St George Athletic Club - 90 successful years

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1 St George Athletic Club - 90 successful years on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:14 pm



Decades of fine feats bring fame to the red-and-white
St George & Sutherland Leader
29 Sep, 2011

ST GEORGE District Athletic Club, one of the most famous in the country, celebrates its 90th year next Saturday with an anniversary dinner.

Since the formation of the club on March 7, 1921 when a run of 2? miles was staged down Forest Road, Hurstville, the club has gone on to produce many world class athletes who have represented Australia in Olympic, Commonwealth and world athletic competitions.

In addition many St George athletes have won gold medals at national and state championships during the club's 90 years.

Track and field competition was first held at Hurstville Oval on May 13, 1921, and the club has used the red-and-white vertical-striped singlets since inception.

Many international athletics carnivals have been held at this oval, with world champion athletes Fanny Blankers-Koen (Holland), Herb McKenley (Jamaica) and Lloyd La Beach (US) competing along with our own Marjorie Jackson.

"At times, these carnivals attracted up to 10,000 people," said Albie Thomas, the St George club's most famous athlete and club president.

Thomas set world record times for the two-mile and three-mile distances and represented Australia at three Olympics (Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964) and two Commonwealth Games, Cardiff 1958 and Perth 1962.

Winter-season distance running has for the past 60 years been successfully conducted at Scarborough Park, Ramsgate. The St George club has conducted the State Novice Cross Country Championships there since 1940.

Apart from Thomas, many other distance running champions began their sporting career at these championships, including Jim Bailey, Dave Power, Lawrie Whitty, (the late) Kerryn McCann and Eloise Poppett (nee Wellings).

These championships reach a milestone next year when the 100th running of the event will take place.

Almost 50 years since Albie Thomas' last Olympics, St George's best middle distance runner of modern times, Commonwealth Games runner Ben St Lawrence, is expected to represent Australia at the London Olympics next year.

Club officials who have served the club with distinction include Alleyn Gainsford, president for 55 years and Dennis Jolliffe, treasurer for 47 successive years.

Longstanding life members Albie Thomas, Dennis Jolliffe and Ron Gribble will complete a total of 175 years with the club this year.

The club invites past and present members and friends to attend the 90th anniversary dinner at St George Leagues Club on Saturday night, October 8. The $45 a person ticket includes a three-course meal.

Albie & Nola Thomas.

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