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North Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club celebrates 70 years of history

North Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club celebrated its 70th anniversary last weekend to honour the club’s history and acknowledge notable players and club members.

A reunion event took place last Saturday with former players, club members, officials, family and friends in attendance.

The club had its first reunion event in 2012 to celebrate its 60th anniversary, with four club members awarded life membership — Bernie McKenzie, Darren Birch, Jim Lavery and Tony Chisholm.

Last weekend’s celebrations also saw another four club members receive life membership — Daniel Lavery, Julie Graham, Aaron Doab and Brent Kail.

The evening also acknowledged past club members and players who have passed away.

Mr Chisholm compiled a book of the club’s history, releasing the second edition on the evening entitled A Decade of Dominance and Development.

In the book, Mr Chisholm explains field hockey was originally introduced in the Goldfields in 1930 before World War II stopped the sport in its tracks.

Hockey later re-emerged in 1952 when the Eastern Goldfields Hockey Association was formed in March that year.

The Wesley Men’s Society, associated with the Kalgoorlie Methodist Church, later formed the original Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club in 1952, with that year’s season beginning in May on a gravel pitch on Federal Road.

The first win for the Wesley men’s team came on September 25, 1954, when it won its first premiership against Mines on Boulder Oval after being top of the table for the entire season.

The Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club men’s team in 1953.
Camera IconThe Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club men’s team in 1953. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

In 1956, Wesley men achieved their second premiership against Australs at the trotting ground, now Cruickshank Sports Arena.

1966 saw the Wesley men’s team take their third premiership after a 10-year drought by defeating School of Mines.

It would be 43 years before they won another premiership.

Although the club did not win any A1 grade premierships for 40 years, they did win A2 and junior premierships.

1974 saw the Wesley Hockey Club introduce North Kalgoorlie to their name, resulting from the club’s strong relationship with the North Kalgoorlie school.

The “lion rampant” emblem was chosen because the Wesley Church had associations with Great Britain and was considered because of attributes such as strength, power, courage, loyalty, teamwork and family.

Another significant move for Norths was a colour change to their uniform. The traditional colours of green and gold worn until 1989 were enhanced with the addition of black to provide a more formal attire.

Hockey was played at Wallace Park in 1989 before moving to the new synthetic turf at the Lionel Street stadium.

In 2008, the club saw the return of the Norths Wesley women’s team for the first time since in 1962.

Norths’ men’s A-grade team broke their premiership drought of more than 40 years in 2009, and completed the hat-trick in 2010 and 2011.

The team went on to win 10 A1 men’s premierships in 13 years, between 2009 and 2021, missing a grand final appearance in only one year.

North’s A1 Men premiers 2013 – Daniel Lavery, Harry Howstan, Sam Wood, Brady Smith, Tim Holmes, Michael Scruth, Peter Cottle, Matt Ujdar (GK), Tony Chisholm, Nick Lavery, Elija Himes, Dylan McCrea, Nick Haglich, David Segui, Brent Kail, Aaron Doab (coach).
Camera IconNorth’s A1 Men premiers 2013 – Daniel Lavery, Harry Howstan, Sam Wood, Brady Smith, Tim Holmes, Michael Scruth, Peter Cottle, Matt Ujdar (GK), Tony Chisholm, Nick Lavery, Elija Himes, Dylan McCrea, Nick Haglich, David Segui, Brent Kail, Aaron Doab (coach). Credit: Unknown/Supplied

The past decade has seen the club focus on growing its women and junior teams.

The 2014 season saw the saw the re-emergence of Norths’ under-17 boys as premiers, defeating favourites CBC.

The season also marked the first time the Norths Wesley under-17 girls team was introduced to the competition and made the preliminary final.

The 2016 season saw the under-13 boys collect their first flag in 10 years, since the 2006 combined Norths and Mines premiership team.

The following season proved successful with both men’s premierships, and the A2 women claiming their first premiership win.

The 2017 season also marked the inaugural grand final for the J3-8 (U13) girls with J3-8 (U13) boys making it through to the preliminary final.

That year’s association awards saw Norths Wesley awarded champion senior club for the first time since 2011.

In recognition of the A1 men’s efforts in winning seven of the last nine premierships, Norths Wesley were awarded Team of the Year in 2017 at the prestigious Goldfields Sports Star of the Year awards.

In 2019, the club was awarded both senior and junior champion club, the latter being first time since 2006.

The A1 men’s team went on to win the premiership later that season, while the A2 men’s team won its third consecutive flag.

Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, the A1 men’s team took both the 2020 and 2021 premierships, while the A2 men’s team took the premiership in 2021.

Last year’s season also saw the J9-12 (U17) boys achieve their first back-to-back premierships.

Chisholm’s book, A decade of Dominance and Development, also mentions the local families that have been involved with the club for many generations, including the Hays, Hahnels, Chisholms, Laverys, Souchons and Kails.

It also highlights past members who have passed away since the last reunion, including Jack Hays, Leon Bussell, Enid Kittler and Eileen Hays.

Sam and Hope Wood, Becky Clarke and Jayke Bennett during North Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Camera IconSam and Hope Wood, Becky Clarke and Jayke Bennett during North Kalgoorlie Wesley Hockey Club’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Credit: Abbie Normington/Supplied

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