Club History

GLADESVILLE RAVENS SPORTS

CLUB HISTORY & ARCHIVE COLLECTION

The history of the Gladesville Ravens Sports Club is represented on this website as it has been documented in different media by many different people. Please enjoy.

We believe that the history, records and archives of the club are an important part of the current club activity. The recorded history and collected archive allows for;

  • Due recognition and enjoyment of past sporting performances, achievements and club contributions
  • Older, or former members, of the clubs to stay connected
  • Younger, or new members, of the club to know where the club came from
  • All members, and visitors, to understand the events and actions that have built the current Gladesville Ravens
  • Everyone to know, and be proud of, the club’s activity across its entire existence

The Ravens history and archives are dynamic and active. Future history is been made all the time, information and archives of former years can turn up any time. You are invited to contribute to the Ravens archives.

Any donations of club memorabilia, photos, documents or other significant items will be welcomed, treasured and preserved for all club members.

Any comments or feedback on any of the information in the items on this page are also welcome.

Please contact either Lee Owens (leecowens@gmail.com) or Jeff Saul (jsaul@bigpond.net.au) in regard to any matters concerning Ravens Club History or Archive Collection.

Gladesville Ravens Sports Club: 50 Years Young (2010)

The Gladesville Ravens has a very proud history of service to the Gladesville community. ( Click here to see Our Story in Pictures )   Or read on ………..

Our 50 Years Young Story

The following summary of the history of the Gladesville Ravens Sports Club was written by Lee Owens as part of the clubs 50 year celebrations.

Gladesville Ravens Sports Club turned 50 in June 2010, and the major celebrations occurred with a Golf Day at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club on 30 July, A “Back to Peel Park” event for the premier League (Men’s) match on Saturday 31 July followed by a “Black and White with a Touch of Gold” party at the Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club on the same evening. The following is a summarised history of what led us to those celebration in 2010.

From the ground up… 
Ravens has been a predominant force in community sport in the Gladesville-Hunters Hill-Ryde area for all of its existence. In 1960 the Founders created a Social Club to support soccer activities managed by Christ Church Gladesville. Within a few months they had negotiated with the Pastor for total control of the sport, and in 1961 entered the Gladesville-Hornsby Association competitions. There was immediate success and membership grew. A home ground was required – they approached Ryde Council for a lease to develop land adjoining Stanbury Street.

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It took many working bees to transform gullies full of blackberries into a level playing field, named eventually Peel Park after Peel’s Dairy. It was ready for play in the 1964 season.

The foundation sports, soccer and cricket, were all-male activities at this time, as were the additional sports of table tennis and golf in which members participated. In 1962 basketball (now netball) was added to the program for women and girls, thus broadening the appeal of the club to families. It is this emphasis on family involvement that still characterises the club today and which produces the corps of energetic volunteers to manage its programs.

And we all played on…..

Consolidation

In 1964 teams were formed for entry into the Sydney Suburban Amateur Division, a competition for senior players which drew clubs from across the metropolitan area. This level of involvement eventually, during the 1970’s, became the Ravens successful sides in the NSW State League of the Soccer Federation. They progressed to Division 1 before the Committee, faced with more equipment, hire of coaches, and ground development expense than could be afforded from family contributions and local sponsorship, sought amalgamation with the Gladesville-Hornsby Federation club.

Fund-raising took much of the time of the Committee and its helpers – cabarets, dances, raffles, the “Chook Board”. The Bottle Drives were legendary, both as financial assistance and as vigourous social events. The women organised Beetle and Housie afternoons, Factory Inspections, Cookery Demonstrations, but principally, The Silver Circle. As a result, youngsters from many local families got a start in organised sport.

And we all played on…..

New Ventures

What had begun as a social gathering of families in the organised sporting development of their children was so successful that a new designation was now required. The 1980’s began with a change of name to match this gradual change in the nature of the club, and so Gladesville Ravens Sports Club was announced. The emphasis was now on broadening the range of sports offered in the community and managing these competently, rather than focussing on family social relationships built within and around sport. Not totally, however. The annual Car Rally was a much-anticipated picnic day that drew families together quite outside the games in which their children participated.

In 1981 soccer for women and girls was announced, and Ravens was a foundation club in the new Gladesville-Hornsby Women’s Soccer Association (now NorthWest Sydney Women’s Football). It was an instant success (despite some comments at the time: “girls want to do WHAT?”). In 1988 numbers and proficiency had grown to such a degree that entry into Women’s State League was sought, where participation continues to the present. The first international tour took a women’s soccer side to New Caledonia for games in a very different cultural environment.

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The original lease on the Peel Park ground was relinquished to Ryde Council. A new canteen block appeared, and park maintenance working bees disappeared. In 1988 baseball and T-ball were added to the program, and suddenly Peel Park became three small baseball diamonds for the summer.

And we all played on…..

Years of Maturity

In 1990 the Club celebrated 30 years in style with a festive dinner dance in Ryde Civic Centre, where Life Members and Founders were honoured. The Club had now grown well beyond the vision of the Founders, and incorporation was deemed necessary to cope with new complexities in the financial and legal requirements of youth sport.

Netball emulated the soccer women and created an international tour of their own to the Cook Islands. There was an attempt to involve men in “mixed netball”. Touch football and volleyball were included in the sports program for several years. A sign of the times: one of the original sports in the Ravens program, cricket, no longer drew enough youngsters to merit the effort of organising, and with some regret it was no longer offered. The Women’s State League side celebrated a championship; the men’s over-35 team, with a number of the (ahem, elderly) Federation players from the 70’s and 80’s, were NSW Champion of Champions in 2000.

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Five major prizes in the names of significant members were created for sporting teams within the club. These are awarded annually on Presentation Day.

The Bob Clark Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding team in the Club. The Joe Kendal and Lee Owens Trophies are awarded to the most outstanding men’s and women’s soccer teams. The Lyn Macdonald Trophy goes to the most outstanding netball team, and the Nick Liotta Trophy goes to the most outstanding T-ball/baseball team.

And we all played on…..

The Millenium and Beyond

The Club celebrated 40 years with a gathering of young and old for a meal and much much talking at the Concord RSL. A few years later, women’s soccer achieved 25 years with a similar social occasion at Gladesville Bowling and Sports Club. The management of Club activities now required a board structure, with each sport and major administrative responsibility assigned a Director reporting to the President.

Baseball and T-ball found a new home with more appropriate facilities. There were years when the number of soccer, now football, teams for women and girls exceeded the number for men and boys. In fact, the Club would now be one of the largest in Australia with numbers of female teams. Women’s football took another overseas tour, this time to New Zealand. Female players grew in confidence and experience with extended time in the game, and in 2009, similar to the men a decade earlier, the over-30 team were NSW Champion of Champions.

Current President John (Jock) Cunningham is typical of so many “Ravens”. Having started at the club as a 10-year-old in 1961, Jock has played, coached and administered at the club with several stints as President, including this year which he describes as a “cameo return” for the privilege of leading the 50 Years Celebration Committee.

While helping prepare for this year’s celebrations, Jock said recently, “ It is a great honour to be involved over such a long time with a club that has provided such sporting activities in the local community. I have formed many long term friendships with memories that will never be forgotten” .

kids playing in ravens gear

And we are still playing….

From 2011 Ravens enter their second 50 years full of energy and enthusiasm under newly elected President David Clark and the new Club Directors.

(Click here for details )

In one of those great ‘historical links’ David, President in 2011 is the grandson of Bob Clark who was Ravens founding President back in 1960.

Click here to see Our Story in Pictures )

( Click here to watch the History of the Ravens – 50 Not Out DVD)

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