The Glenhuntly Athletic Club is saddened by the passing of one of its esteemed Life Members; aged 90.
Peter was a strong supporter of our club and was instrumental in its rise to prominence following the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956; particularly in Cross Country and road racing.
Peter joined the Glenhuntly Athletic Club following his return from WW11 service in Papua New Guinea in 1946. In the late 1940’s and 1950’s. along with Keith Lyons and George Nevitt, Peter formed our Cross Country teams and enjoyed team success in 1951 when the club won the D Grade teams race over 10 mile. He was also an integral part of our summer competition teams, competing in distance races, including steeplechases.
Peter showed promise as a cross country runner prior to the Olympics with a best placed 5th in the Victorian 10 mile (16km) cross country championship in 1955 and a 4th place in the 3000m Steeplechase in 1957. He had numerous top 10 finishes in the 10 miles and steeplechases during the 1950s.
As the club began its meteoric rise as a cross country power following the Melbourne Olympic Games, Peter became its Captain and chief organizer. His own running had improved significantly as he joined the training squad for the steeplechase and represented Victoria in the Australian Marathon Championship in Sydney in 1958.
Peter soon became club secretary in 1959 and served in this role magnificently for 13 years; the club’s longest serving secretary. During his time as secretary, Peter established a reputation as an extremely dedicated clubman who was active in all aspects of the club. His inspiration saw the development of many young athletes and he was a keen recruiter and vocal supporter at all events. Peter’s love for the club was ever evident as he enthusiastically, and with great energy, sought to recruit and grow the club to become the best. He consumed himself in this role and the club soon became a dominant winter force and a very competitive summer track and field A Grade club. All this time, Peter still took part in races, both running and walking, encouraging many juniors to strive to improve and he set the standard; the goal was to beat him. Peter did what was required to gain points for the club and urged others to follow his lead. For every competition, Peter’s vanguard station wagon car was full of athletes seeking a lift to Dolamore oval in summer or to the many winter venues; including trips to Adelaide for the annual AA Theobald shield with South Australia’s Western Districts club.
In 1964, Peter was awarded Life Membership of the club.
Many club athletes will recall his energetic and vocal encouragement from the side lines at summer interclub as he would yell for all the hear; GO HUNTERS, GO, GO, GO. He could be heard around the whole track. Peter was excited by success, and loved the club and had many many friends in it.
Peter had a talent in other sports as well; he was a fine table tennis player and 10 pin bowler, winning a range of titles in these sports too.
Peter’s family was part of this involvement and his love of the sport. His wife Marg, sons Peter Junior and Gary, and grandson Luke, have all competed for the club. Daughter Lorraine was always a keen supporter.
A measure of someone’s success in a position can be determined by asking “ is the club in a stronger position than when he took over?”. This can certainly be seen in Peter’s case. The club had become a dominant force in Victorian athletics. During Peter’s tenure, the club supported the introduction of the Little Athletics movement in Caulfield, the Victorian Veteran’s movement and formation in the early 1970’s and the establishment of a new training base at Duncan Mackinnon Reserve in Murrumbeena. Peter had a huge role in all of these initiatives. In 1972, Peter became President of the club; a position he held for three years.
In his unique way, Peter was one of the clubs mainstays during the period of growth to a top A Grade club. His terms as secretary and president were greatly beneficial to the club and he retired from his positions in 1975 to move on to become the secretary of the new but rapidly growing veteran movement. He held this position for over 15 years as the movement grew and retired when it was in an enormously successful state. Peter’s work in this area was also tireless and enthusiastic and the state of the veterans today has much to do with his enthusiasm. In veteran athletics, he was an active participant and the winner of many championships and awards. Peter travelled to five world veterans championships and organized many others to attend also.
It is fitting that he should be recognised as a life member of that association in 1984; the first awarded by the Victorian Master’s Association.
A well deserved honour was also bestowed on Peter in 1994 when he was awarded an Order of Australia medal (O.A.M.) for his distinguished service to athletics; primarily the veteran movement.
Peter’s role in making the Glenhuntly Athletic Club the success it is today is immeasurable; he certainly will be remembered as the architect of much of its growth and development.
Peter was a dedicated and devoted family man, a talented athlete, and a man of commitment and energy to the tasks he undertook.
Rest in Peace, Peter.