The New Generation 1960 - 1969

Peter Bruce was the Club’s number one distance man both on the track and during the winter at the start of this decade as well as the end. Any distance records he did not have at the start of the decade he certainly had by the end. From 880 to Marathon, Peter was the Ron Clark of the Old Xaverians.

By the mid sixties, Peter had taken over from Jim Hunt as the man to beat in the A.P.S.O.B. programme. In 1964 he ran his first marathon with fellow members Gerry Burke and Rene Dupuche. His time on that occasion was 2-58:57. In 1969, Peter had reduced that time to 2-25:32 to win the Victorian Marathon title and thus become the first Club member to win a State Title during the Winter Season.

And this was not the only first for the Club during this decade. Ken Roche became our first Club member to represent Australia in an Empire Games (1962 Perth) and an Olympic Games (1964 Rome).

It is not hard to understand how with these two athletes and others such as Wayne Athorne, Peter Raffaele, Peter O’Brien and Bill Seabrook the Club had great success in the early sixties.

Team

1964-65

Back Row: Peter Raffaele, Paul O’Brien, Ken Roche, Peter Hamilton, Jim Higgins, Mat McCelelland.
Middle Row: Gerry Burke, Julian Collins, Peter Bruce, Murray McInerney, Bruce Johnston, Paul Henderson.
Front Row: Geoff Lockwood, Peter O’Brien, Bas Thomson, John Tayloe, Tony Nolan, Jack Tutton.

Although it was disappointing to be relegated from A Grade at the end of the 63/64 season, there were signs of renewed strength in the junior ranks. Peter Billings that season won a sub-junior state pole vaulting championship and Peter Hamilton had managed a second and third place in the state sub-junior high jump and triple jump championships respectively. What with Peter Bruce, Russell Barrett, Bert Dupuche, Gerry Burke, Rene Dupuche and Gavin James winning the Cooke-McClelland and the fifteen mile cross-country championship things looked very promising for the Track & Field season and that is how it turned out with the B Grade premiership which we won being the first flag for some eighteen years.

It was during this season that the Club fielded an under 15 team for the first time. Although the team did not win a final it was well supported by young members such as Mick Plunkett, Chris Collins, Peter O’Connor, Mick Bolger and Peter Thomson.

The 65/66 season provided a very interesting finish for the aggregate award. Only 6½ points separated the first four competitors. Peter Bruce on 79 took out the Stuart Methven Award from Simon Biddlecombe on 78, Peter Hamilton, 73 and Peter O’Brien, 72½. In winning this award, Peter became the first solely distance runner to do so.

By 1966 Joe Lukaitis had already completed three seasons of cross-country running and was still eligible for the under fifteen team. Joe was the youngest member to compete with the Club. After a short period, he was elected to the Committee to look after the interests of the junior members.

During 1966 Peter Bruce was still dominating cross-country events but it was Gerry Burke who due to consistency and number of performances was able to take out the cross-country trophy for the third successive year. A memorable personality took out the aggregate trophy for the 66/67 season in that of Bruce Johnston. He captained the Club and his policy was “if we can’t find anyone, I’ll do it”. Johno’s competitive spirit was an encouragement to all and could perhaps be responsible for the Secretary’s remark in his annual report when he said “Danny McGlade who scored the highest points in under fifteen B grade was typical of many youngsters in junior teams who display great enthusiasm and versatility.”

But when it comes to trophy winning there was one who outclassed all. The Club’s engraver knew him as Doug as do many of our members. Doug Petroff joined the Club in the late fifties and was still going strong in the seventies. However it was in the late sixties that Doug’s performances enabled him to dominate the meritorious performances other grades and the Club Championship trophies.

On that particular subject the writer is not clear of when the practice of holding a nine event Decathlon to decide the Club Championship was started. But the writer can vividly remember the numerous times he contested the nine events on a Sunday in December. The weather was never kind; rain or boil seemed to be our fate.

It was perhaps in consideration of our twelve year old members that the Committee decided to discontinue with this means of determining the Club Champions. Twelve year olds started running with the Club in 1968-69. The Committee felt it was forced to have an under 13 team to cater for boys when they became too old for ‘Little Athletics’. This age group had many problems, one of which was to make the boys tire of athletics before reaching senior ranks and for this and other reasons the under 13 team was discontinued with.

1968-1969 Team

1968-69

Back: Denis Chandler, Paul Misso, Joe Lukaitis, Don Collins, Adrian Ryan, Andrew Ryan, Tom Morrissy.
3rd Row: David Pitt, Rob Gardini, Rob Hetherington, Roger Serong, Bruce Johnston, Peter Shillito, Steve McCauley, Ian McKenzie, Adrian O’Brien, Leigh O’Brien, Chris Jackman.
2nd Row: John Kelly, Paul Ryan, Gerry Burke, Michael Coglin, Bas Thompson, Doug Petroff, Peter Bruce, Julian Ryan, Jim Plunkett.
Front Row: John Connellan, David Keaney, David Seal, Mark Coglin, Graeme Quin.

1969-1970 Team

1969-70

Back: Joe Lukaitis, Anthony Triado, Frank Brosnan, Peter Shillito, Chris Jackman, John Connellan, Johann Elsmann.
5th Row: Graham Bruce, Paul Zachariah, Jasper Coghlan, Peter Mills, Hugh McKechnie, Don Collins, Paul Oswald, John Oswald, Mick Plunkett, Dan McGlade, Paul Henderson.
4th Row: Adrian Ryan, Paul Prowse, Rob Billings, Roger Skehill, Bernard Crosbie, Brian McCoy, Tim Ryan, George Patton, Pat Tighe, David Warming, Paul Misso, David Midgley, Jim Plunlett.
3rd Row: Julian Ryan, Gerry Bourke, Bas Thomson, Bruce Johnston (Capt), Mick van Assche (President), Peter Bruce (V-Capt), Jack Tutton (Secretary), Peter O’Connor, Paul Ryan.
2nd Row: Mark Butler, Martin Butler, Stephen Charlesworth, Michael Healy, David Seal, Richard O’Sullivan, Michael O’Sullivan, Vince Lukaitis.
Front : Robert de Castella, Michael Collins, Anthony Ryan, Mick Patton, Doug Schneider, Hugh Tighe, David Sneddon, Rob Hulls.