Melbourne Australia

The Game

Box lacrosse was played at the Wattle Park Palais, St. Kilda in 1932 and Malvern’s senior team of Messrs R. Brierley, W.J. Edwards, H. Wood, C. Foster, G. Knowles, H. Beattie and R. Lamont was successful in winning the premierships covering the series of matches that were played. Box lacrosse continued for a further few seasons but was abandoned because of the injuries to players as a result of playing on wooden floors with no protective equipment. An interesting item here is that in season 1932 relations between Malvern and Williamstown clubs were far from friendly and a complaint was made to the Association by Malvern regarding a match at Williamstown on 2nd July, 1932, when six members of the Malvern A Team were alleged to have received serious injuries because of the roughness of the game.

Mr. Ord Glenn, who had served as Secretary of Malvern for several seasons commenced lacrosse at Ballarat in 1932, and annual visits were made to that city by members of Malvern to play against Ballarat. Malvern is credited with having assisted in the formation of lacrosse in that city. The game became very popular in Ballarat but unfortunately World War II led to its demise. A team from Ballarat played in the Melbourne B Section competition in 1932 and performed very well. This must have been very difficult for the players as Ballarat would have been at least a half-day trip by train during this period.

Many happy times were enjoyed by club members who made the club visits to Ballarat at the end of the various seasons and many strong friendships were cemented between the players of both bodies.

A gala dinner was held by the club in the Malvern Town Hall on 3rd October, 1932, and the souvenir programme (see Appendix 2) produced for this occasion forms the basis for the listing of the names of members of winning teams over the years. It is also interesting to note that although formed in 1903, it was 1917 before the club was successful in winning a premiership and certainly at that time there was no indication of the fantastic successes that were to follow the winning of this first A Grade premiership. The cost of this celebration dinner, by the way, was 2 shillings and sixpence (about 25¢) and no alcohol was allowed.

It should be also noted that the honour board hanging in the club rooms, which contains details of the premierships won from 1918 onwards, was made and donated to the club by Mr. P. J. (Mick) Remeeus, an ex-player and strong supporter of the club at that time (1932).

The “Joel Fox” shield donated to the Association by a supporter and administrator of the Malvern Club was won on three consecutive occasions and became our permanent property. It was donated back to the Association by the club for perpetual competition in A Grade and has been known as the Joel Fox Memorial Shield since that time.

Several players from Malvern (including Mr. Alf Evans) sought and were granted transfers to the Camberwell Club (at the time Glen Iris and Camberwell were separate clubs) in 1933 mainly because of residence in the area. It should be remembered that cars were not the normal mode of transport at the time and playing for a team close to home could have been advantageous.

In 1935 steps were taken to again introduce the game to local state schools and a Mr. Frank Baxter, a prominent player with the club at that time, took over coaching of Spring Road, Gardiner and Tooronga Schools. At the time he was lessee of a milk bar at the then new picture theatre in Glenferrie Road (Embassy). A substantial number of players were recruited to the club in 1936 following the successful introduction of the game into the schools and included such notables as Noel Jeffrey, Gordon Anderson, Jack and Herb Addison, Don Drummond, Jock Liddell, Bob Leslie, etc.

In 1937 an invitation was received from the East Torrens team in South Australia to send a Malvern team to play a social match in Adelaide at the end of season 1937. This invitation was the first of the Malvern -East Torrens visits that continued except for World War II until the mid 1980’s, a period in excess of forty years.

Also in 1937 the club was perturbed about playing of a final against Williamstown at Williamstown and sought to have the game played on neutral ground. Following several special meetings, it was finally left to the members of the team to decide whether to take the field or not and the match was eventually played and won at Williamstown. It is regarded as one of the roughest matches ever played in Victorian lacrosse and resulted in many spiteful incidents, including an attack on players and supporters after the game had concluded. Police were called in to break up the melee that followed.

World War II, which broke out in 1939, made deep inroads into the ranks of lacrosse players and there were a number of clubs that did not resume at the end of the War. Senior lacrosse was suspended in 1941 and 1942 and only junior age teams functioned during those years. The Malvern Club, with the help of players from other clubs that were not able to field teams, continued to function during the war period when games were played on friendly or limited competition basis. Perhaps it was fortunate that several of the more interested people were still about to see the club did not disappear out of existence. At the end of the war many of our good players returned to the game and continued as players for some years after.