[Article 49]Who Are the Pratten Park Magpies?

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“Think where mans’ glory most begins and ends
And say my glory was I had such friends” - Yeats

Western Suburbs Rugby League Club was a foundation club in 1908. The History of its home ground, Pratten Park, in Arthur Street, Ashfield, began in 1912. Due to the introduction of Sunday football in the mid 1960’s, Pratten Park became unavailable for the club. The Magpies were forced to find an alternate home ground

In 1967, games were shared between two home grounds, Pratten Park and Lidcombe Oval. The last Pratten Park game was on August 5th 1967 against Newtown, although a few matches for special occasions have been played since

Pratten Park to Liddy Oval 1967 last game at pratten

Wests and Newtown played a 12 all draw

Only 2,560 fans turned up on the last day at Pratten Park

                         Wests first game at its new headquarters, Lidcombe Oval, was played on ANZAC Day 1967 against Cronulla

Pratten Park & Liddy Oval 1967

Wests 19 beat Cronulla-Sutherland 7

Crowd was 5,037

It was also becoming increasingly clear that further expansion would be necessary. This eventually led to the relocation to Campbelltown where on March 7th, 1987, Wests played their first game against Parramatta

In 1986, former players Bill Owens and Jack Thompson, together with Ben Fisher, formally established an ‘Old Boys’ network and named it the Pratten Park Magpies, after their old home ground in Arthur St, Ashfield.

Its purpose was to restore friendships, organise reunions and support mates who had fallen on hard times and significantly, research and preserve the Magpie brand in any way it could.

All these years later, Bill, Jack and Ben would be extremely pleased that their vision is still being played out today.

From a humble beginning of mostly close Mates, the Pratten Park Magpies quickly grew and boasts a current membership of well over 400 former players, coaches, officials and others who have contributed to Western Suburbs Magpies.

We have our own Charter and organisation structure and are Incorporated. Our Committee consists entirely of former players, all of whom have represented the Magpies in Reserve Grade and above. Indeed, we have former Origin great and Australian representative, Jim Leis and our most capped player and greatest try scorer, Trevor Cogger as valued Members of our leadership group.

Our current membership base reads like a who’s who of Rugby League with names like, Harry Wells and Don Parish who are our Club Patrons, Col Ratcliff, Dick Poole, Tony Ford (highest point scorer in all grades), John Dorahy, Les Boyd, John Elford, Stephen Knight, David Waite, Ted Goodwin, Gary Jack, Ross Conlon, Graeme Wynn, Terry Lamb OAM, Jim Leis, Jim Murphy, Peter Rowles (highest ever season points scorer in 1978), Ian Schubert, Trevor Cogger (most games, most tries in all grades), Gavin Miller, Andrew Farrar, Andrew Leeds, David Gillespie, Paul Langmack, John Ribot, Bob Lindner and Stephen Kearney.

 Sadly, we have lost many other notable Members such as Keith Holman MBE, Kel O’Shea, Peter Dimond, Arthur Summons, John ‘Dallas’ Donnelly, Alan Davidson AM MBE, Noel Kelly OAM, Ken Stonestreet, Timmy Pickup OAM, Tommy Raudonikis OAM, John Hayes and Bobby Cooper.

As kids, many of our Members played in our junior league and went to watch our heroes play each week at Pratten Park, Lidcombe Oval and Campbelltown Stadium with the dream of emulating these guys and one day representing our District Club at the highest level.

Over the years, we warmly welcomed players from Country NSW, Brisbane and regional Queensland, all of whom became part of the rich tapestry that is Western Suburbs and the Pratten Park Magpies and became or still are current Members.

We have a strong financial and structural position due largely to the significant and generous support of Wests Ashfield, to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

We have well-developed relationships with Wests Magpies Football Club and Wests Archives and significantly, a wonderfully developing partnership with Wests Tigers that continues to evolve year on year.

The Website you are on has seen an incredible rise in the number of ‘hits’ in recent years due largely to our presence on Facebook. Initially averaging 100 visits per week, we have increased exponentially averaging nearly 1000 ‘hits’ per week. Suffice to say we are extremely proud of our website and the benefits it brings to our Members.

The Pratten Park Magpies has a very active social Agenda headlined by our Annual Reunion held at Wests Ashfield generally in July. We continue to increase our activities and in recent years have added a Queensland Reunion to our Calendar.

We continue to remember and celebrate our past Members Widows with a highly regarded and well supported Music, Munch and Memories at Wests Ashfield.

We look out for our Mates!

There are several examples of Mates looking out for their Mates who have dementia, and chaperoning them to functions.

There are other examples of Mates looking out for Mates in relation to housing and social needs.

Our northern beaches guys catch up once a month for coffee and talk about all things black & white deep in the heart of Silvertail territory.

 

PRATTEN  PARK  MAGPIES  ORGANISATION  CHART 

as at January 2024

 PATRONS

Harry Wells and Don Parish

PRESIDENT

Mick Liubinskas

VICE PRESIDENT

Brian Cook

SECRETARY

Nathan Cole

TREASURER/PUBLIC OFFICER

Michael Duke

COMMITTEE

Stephen Broughton

Garry Clarke

Trevor Cogger

Alan Fallah

Geoff Henry

Jim Leis

Pat O’Doherty QLD

Geoff Squires

LIAISON

 

Wests Archives – Rick Wayde

Wests Ashfield – Dennis Burgess

Wests DRLFC – Alan Fallah

History –  Carl Ross

PublicationsJohn Wiles

*

              LIFELONG & SPECIAL MEMBERS          

 

Ben FISHER

Peter HARGREAVES

John HAYES

Bob IVISON

Dick POOLE

Col RATCLIFF

Darcy RUSSELL

Joe RYAN

Pat THOMAS

Jack THOMPSON

Eric TWEEDALE

Harry WELLS

John WILES

*

    HONORARY MEMBERS  

     Michael CLARKE AO    

John COATES AC

Peter FENTON OAM

Roy MASTERS AM

 

The Great Noel Kelly

The Great Harry Wells



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