WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17
Finish work on my ‘first chapter’ (1960) in Steve Haddan’s book about Brisbane Rugby League, ‘Our Game’. It was a hard slog, but enjoyable. In 1960, champion coach, Bob Bax switched from Brothers to Norths, and got the Devils the title. Today I watch the 2015 Super League grand final (Leeds defeated Wigan 22-20) for the first time. Good standard. A real shame Wigan fullback, Matt Bowen could not enjoy a maiden premiership a week after the Cowboys, the team he served so well for so many years, won the NRL title.
ABC television show a documentary on the Plymouth Brethren, a Protestant religious sect. A friend of mine, Graham Dovan, ‘fled’ Sydney to ‘escape’ the Brethren. He worked at Hayden’s Music Store in Murwillumbah, and put me on to so many good LPs., many of which still play well. For a short time, he and his wife, Nerida (nee Cason) shared a flat with me in Church Lane. I was a groomsman at their wedding in 1974. Graham died in Thailand in 2014, but I did not find out until long after his passing. He had tried to make contact with me when I worked at ‘The Courier-Mail’. It was the early days of email, and, believe it not, I was such a Luddite, I didn’t really know how to reply, and lost his email. So sad, on so many counts. It seems he was highly regarded in Thailand because of his work in the tourism and property sectors. After he left Murwillumbah he promoted bands and concerts, and was co-ordinator for opening day festivities at Expo ’88 in Brisbane.
Marie and I go to the movies to see ‘Spotlight’. Very good. The newsroom scenes brought back memories of my time in journalism.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Coffee with Queensland Rugby League History committee chair, Kevin Brasch at Stafford. He has written a letter to Australian Rugby League Commission chair, John Grant seeking finance for a museum at Suncorp Stadium. Kevin brings with him an old program from a Brisbane v Palm Island match, which features the headline: ‘Abos Can Play. They’re not Dumb’. Wouldn’t get past the sub editors these days, and rightly so. I remember one ‘racist’ headline making it into the Brisbane ‘Telegraph’ back in the 1970s. It concerned a visit by a strong Chinese Table Tennis side. The headline read: ‘No Chinks in Chinese Team’. It lasted only one edition. Kevin Brasch would do fitness work with former Australian rugby league skipper, John Sattler, (back in the 1970s) and, on occasion, they would run through Chermside Forest on Brisbane’s northside. Kevin told an amazing yarn about how ‘Satts’ ‘dealt with a trail bike rider, who was ‘hooning’ in the forest. When Kevin was a goal kicking halfback in Mt Isa, future Broncos’ chief executive, Bruno Cullen would fetch the footballs for him when he practised.
‘Rugby League Week’ features an interesting interview with one of my favorite players, Kevin ‘Horrie’ Hastings, a legend of the Sydney Roosters (Easts) club.
Tonight I attend an extraordinary meeting of our Hermitage Gardens Body Corporate Committee. I speak up about the need for a landscape plan.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19.
Interview former Australian halfback, Ross Strudwick for an article in Men of League magazine. He and his business partner, Paul Neale, take me on a tour of their impressive sports wear ‘factory’ at Loganholme in Logan City. ‘Struddy,’ who turns 66 tomorrow, employs a couple of ‘old blokes’, just to to give them something to do. Heavy rain today and Kedron Brook ‘floods’.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Watch Valleys play Norths Colts at Emerson Park, Grange in a good quality rugby league match. Former Valleys’ prop, Bob Knight’s son, Sam plays for Norths and scores a try against the Diehards, with his proud dad watching from the club house.
My good mate, Greg Grainger’s grandson, Hayden, has been chosen in the Newcastle rep side to play Western Division (New South Wales country region).
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21
A family get-together at Broadbeach today, and the area proves to be ethnically diverse. There is a large Middle Eastern group near us, as a Hare Krishna ‘march’ goes by. Blue bottles in surf, and our youngest lad, Lliam is one of those stung. Our nephew, Jed, a huge Parramatta league fan, has all the Michael Clarke cricket equipment.
Learn of the death of Alan Landrigan, the husband of Marie’s aunt, Nancy (nee Donnelly). Alan, a former manager of Sydney Airport at Mascot, was 84. He had been in a home at Casino in northern New South Wales for two months. Alan, a keen golfer, would welcome VIPS – from Royalty to Hollywood actors – on the tarmac at Mascot, at a time when air travel was free of the dangers of terrorism.
There is a new altar at St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore. Marie and I were married there, as were my parents, John and Lola (nee Kelly), and mum’s parents.