Chapter 1 - In the Beginning
The Thompson Estate Harrier's Amateur Athletic Club was founded by interested men of the district of Thompson Estate, Junction Park, Annerley, Stones Corner, Coorparoo and Woolloongabba.
Messrs F. W. Nissen (Vice-President of the Queensland Amateur Athletic Association), James A. Donnan and John Innes Brown called a meeting of young men at the residence of Frederick William Nissen on 6th October, 1900.
At this meeting, the members of the committee and officials were elected, with Mr. Joseph Allen being the inaugural President, Mr. W. C. Anderson the inaugural Secretary, andMr. J. A. Donnan the inaugural Treasurer, while the first Club Captain was Michael Waterman. Other members of the first Committee were Frederick William Nissen, Walter C. Pritchard, F. Higginbotham, F.G. Jutsam, W. Stringfellow, J. Brown Sen., Allan Innes, J. Hourigan and James McHugh.
There was some discussion at this meeting regarding the name the club should adopt. Options considered included Thompson Estate Harriers and Stones Corner Amateur Athletic Club. As a result of a vote of those present, the Thompson Estate Harriers Amateur Athletic Club came into being. In the first year, 23 members were registered.
From 1900 until 1909, the club members met at the Junction Park State School, Annerley. Club performances and results during that time are not known, as all records have been lost. However, it is known that the club team of J.1. Brown (Captain), Dennis J. Corrigan, Sydney Philp and C. Stock represented Queensland at the first inter-state Cross Country Championships in Sydney in 1905.
The Club became the first Athletics club in Australia to own its own club rooms when the Thompson Estate Harriers Hall was opened in Junction Street, Stones Corner, in 1909.
The years between 1910 and 1915 proved to be an exciting period in the club's development. During these years, the Club was twice Champion Club of Queensland, the club hall became fully functional, a ladies club was formed, and the club performed creditably in boxing and table tennis tournaments, as well as conducting its own athletic competitions.
Athletic competitions were conducted at three different levels: an intra-club program (club run season), open and invitational carnivals, and State Championships. This three-tiered system continued, largely unaltered, until the 1950's when a regular inter-club program was introduced.
The Club run season was for members of Thompson Estate Harriers Amateur Athletic Club only, with the Club also supplying all officials to run the program. A number of events were run each night, usually two or three track events and one or two field events being held. Trophies were allocated for various events during the season. The season was normally run from April through to August/September, with a typical season consisting of between 20 and 26 meets during the season.
THE HARRIERS' HALL
Thompson Estate Harriers' Amateur Athletic Club became the first club in Australia to own its own premises when in 1909 a wooden hall was constructed on a block of land in Junction Street, Stones Corner.
The hall was a structure built on stumps, and was designed to cater for the interests and activities of a growing group of men who saw the necessity for such a venue. A bank loan was necessary to enable the construction of the hall, along with a deposit from existing club funds.
The hall debt was eliminated some years later when athletes and officials combined to raise funds to eliminate the debt, along with funds donated by J.1. Brown, the Club's Life Member.
The Harriers' Hall was used for club activities, both social and athletic. Social activities included regular dances which were for many years a source of funds to the Club, and were organised by several faithful members over the years. Other occasional activities such as presentation Nights, Smoko nights to celebrate the winning of Premierships, and farewells to Club Members, were held in the Hall.
The Hall also was used for athletic pursuits, including some training with gym equipment, boxing, table tennis and indoor games. The holding of boxing in the hall enabled the Harriers to develop into one of the main boxing clubs in Queensland. The Harriers' Hall also was used for Table Tennis, with the Harriers in 1916 being the Premier Table Tennis Club of Queensland.
When, in 1922, the QAA.A. introduced an Indoor Games competition for the Wallace Bishop Cup, the Hall was used for this competition, along with other venues, and Thompson Estate Harriers were successful in winning this competition in 1923 and 1924.
The Hall was also used by Community Groups, and the Hall was let on a regular basis to various Lodges for meetings, to individuals for functions such as weddings and dinners, and to other organisations, including the Ladies Club.
In the 1930's, when the Hall required substantial improvements and repairs. the Club was unable to meet the costs of such repairs, and the Hall was sold in 1939. The Depression and prevailing economic conditions were the prime reasons for the sale of the Hall.
The History of the hall since 1939 is not the subject of this book, but in 2000, it is still standing , and is the Centre for the Order of the Eastern Star.
The 1915-1920 time span saw the Club develop in a number of ways, particularly the introduction of a junior division. At the same time, the impact of World War One meant a decline in the senior ranks.
The first life memberships of Thompson Estate Harriers were awarded in 1915 to W.J. Sparks, J.J. Dempsey and J.1. Brown.
Despite the war, Thompson Etate Harriers remained competitive, winning the Crawford Cup in 1916, the Crawford Shield in 1919 and the Nissen Cup in 1920, as well as being runners-up in 1917, all the competitions being forthe Champion Club of Queensland.
Other notable athletic achievements during the war years were the winning of the first Queensland Relay Championships (a medley relay) in 1916 by S. Philp, A. Acworth, J.A. Prout and W. Ehlers, and several state titles by various athletes.
The introduction of junior members to the Club in 1916 helped to stabilise membership during the war years, for the number of seniors was markedly down, due to enlistments in the armed forces. The minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Club on March 29th, 1916 records this formation as follows:"moved J.I. Brown seconded J. Prout that a Junior Club be formed and called the Thompson Estate Junior Harrier Club, the age to be 18 years and under on December 31 st each year, the entrance fee to be 2/6."
The junior section quickly became established, with F. Beard, second in the Under 16 One Mile Championship being the first junior athlete to be placed in a state championship event in 1917. By the following year, the juniors had developed further, winning many State Championships in the under 16, Under 17 and Under 18 age groups. By 1919, Thompson Estate Harriers Juniors were to the forefront in junior competition, winning many events.
During the same time period, the Cross Country strength of the club was slowly rebuilding too, gaining second place in the teams event at the 1918 championships with a team led by Vic Lucas.
Thompson Estate Harriers was also a foundation club of the Table Tennis Association, being runners-up in both A-Grade and B-Grade in the first year of competition. In 1916, Thompson Estate Harriers was the Premier Table Tennis Club of Queensland, being undefeated in A-Grade competition, the team being A. Sailer, C. Bracewell, E. Jobst, J. Walsh, W. Collins, and B. West.
The ladies club continued its development during the war years, though club and association records do not reveal the record of the ladies section.
At this time, a rival athletic club, the East Brisbane Harriers, based in East Brisbane, existed. Records regarding this club are not available, but it seems likely that the East Brisbane Harriers joined with the Thompson Estate Harriers during this time.
The War ended in 1918, and many athletes who had enlisted in the armed forces returned to Australia and their homes. Three members, Private J.F. Sexton, A. Orton, and C. Ewart made the supreme sacrifice for their country and did not return.
Members who enlisted or were called up for military service were E.S. Hobson, A.V. Acworth, W. Cotterell, A. Watson, S. Philp, W. Duncan, L. Lucas, F. Johnson, J. Sexton, W. Guttormsen, A. Orton, G. Woodcroft, N. McPherson, P. Kennedy, R. Donovan, H. Hart, W. Kane, R. Williams, C. Coupland, C. Palmer, S. Granville, H. Reynolds, C. Ruff, H. Morris, A. Annatt, A. McPherson, C. Ewart, H.L. Duncan, J. F. Taylor, R. Silver, P. Minogue, P. Clausen, H. Henderson, C. Penwarn, C. Keith, T. Waldron, J. Robertson, W. Baird, W. Ferguson, P. Mumford, J. Hamlyn, T. Blake, W.J. Millner, A. Kenderson, D. Lang, and F. Haseman.
The uniform of the club in its early years was a white T-shirt with red and blue trim, with white shorts, the colours having been chosen by the first committee. After a number of years wearing
this uniform, the club voted to change the uniform (exact date unknown) to red, white and blue horizontal stripes with white shorts. This remained the uniform until changed by member opinion in the 1930's.
The end of the war was celebrated with a club sports day and carnival, held in conjunction with the Tramway Red Cross Society.
In 1919, a change of competition venue meant that events were no longer conducted on the road, as had been the practice. Electricity was connected to the club hall, where the Annual Trophy Night was held to welcome home the enlisted men from the club.
The Annual Report of 1918 reveals a typical season for the Thompson Estate Harriers at this time.
Another aspect of club life at this time was the social activities which included indoor games, weekly social dances, moonlight steam-boat trips, as well as special activities to celebrate certain achievements e.g. Champion Club, and Anniversary of the Club Hall.
A Ladies Club was formed on the 1 st July 1913, to organise competition and games for interested ladies in the area. This club became fairly strong, and often organised activities such as dances in conjunction with the men's club. Early history of the ladies club is, however, very sketchy, as all records have been lost.