Melville Junior Football Club Brief History
Melville Junior Football Club was established in 1952 and is a very proud and well supported club with a history spanning over 60 years . The spirit that is seen around the club is tremendous and this is a place where we forge friendships and great memories.
In the beginning players trained and played at Melville Recreation Park, corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway. When the decision was made to create a district competition four teams came out of the district being Mosman Park, North Fremantle, Fremantle and the Legendary Hawks making us one of the oldest teams in the East Fremantle district.
TIME LINE OF KEY EVENTS
The original change rooms, toilets were built to allow for the players to have an area at to change rather than hiding behind the old Holden FB, Valiant or Ford Fairlane 500. This was half the size of the existing club we see today.
Oval lights were installed near the club rooms which consisted of four lights mounted on poles which 2 are still in service today. Eventually the team moved to Tompkins Park until they settled at Marmion Reserve a few years later.
There was no club house, no scoreboard or any other facilities to begin with. Marmion Reserve became the current home ground of the “Mighty Melville Hawks”. Heading up the club as the first President was Mr. Chris Jenkins, who later on was made a life member still has other family members playing in the club.
In the club’s first year we fielded only 3 teams - Under 15’s, Under 16’s and the under 18’s. In the early days, there were no primary school age groups (under 10,11,12’s etc.) as there are today so many kids would play across all age groups and sometimes up to 3 games in a weekend for their club.
The Melville Junior Football Club first Premiership was won in its inaugural year, 1952, by the 15’s and under age group.
This first win then continued on for many years after with consecutives premierships.
Melville Hawks have since won 40 premiership titles and fielded strongly in every year with all age groups. The current teams are certainly looking the part and the club is hoping to take a few wins this year being the 60th Anniversary.
Credit must be given to the early development of the club facilities which has laid the pathway for the status we hold in the East Fremantle District and other junior football clubs. Thanks, are given to a very committed group of volunteers undertaking tasks after their normal working hours over the past 60 years.
Approval was given by the Shire of Melville to extend the building or almost doubling the size which was valued at the time to cost $7,000. The committee of the day set about the costly and time consuming task with parents working through the night to undertake the tasks rather than employing a building team. Stories of some player's dads working in the roof cavities until 1.00am in the morning was not uncommon which forged the bond and the Legends which we see today on the Life Members board.
The frame work and roof construction of the pavilion extends from the canteen to the end of the clubrooms and out to cover the existing car bays towards the oval. A fantastic addition to the clubs facilities thanks to Peter Johnson which was officially opened by the City of Melville Mayor - Mr. Russell Aubrey on July 3rd 2009. The Pavilion and Scoreboard were erected and the club finally had an area which was undercover and greatly appreciated by all.
Alignment of the entire oval lights was undertaken with the next stage of upgrades taking place during a very wet and wild winter’s day with Steve & Graham hanging on between squalls.
First Auskick night game undertaken on Friday 6th August with years 5-8’s and Forrestdale Junior Football Club coming over for the special event, it is believe we numbered 300 plus players that night.
Canteen upgrades involved moving the door away from the entry of the club, entire new kitchen facility, stove and all walls plastered ready for the next 30 years of service. The President at the time Ashley Thomas and a willing helper Chris Fells undertook this project as can be seen by the old kitchen photographs before it was overdue for a renovation.
Over the years the club has managed to retain teams in all grades from Under 12- 17’s when other clubs have struggled to keep fielding a full squad year after year.
To date, we have had to combine four teams with the surrounding clubs to keep the players on the field being:
1987 Melville/St Patrick’s League (Premiership Team)
1995 Melville/Palmyra Under 14’s (Premiership Team)
2006 Melville/Applecross Under 16’s
2012 Melville/East Fremantle Under 17’s
One of the key fund raising events this year was the bottle drive collection which raised $558.00. This was a significant amount for the time frame and probably all the bottles were taken down to Letchfords on Hampton Road Fremantle to be recycled.
During these extensions, the canteen renovations also were undertaken by the President, Merv McCoy who led the way constructing the cupboards (if you look above the kitchen door his plaque is boldly displayed). Ian Adkins, Peter Amaranti, Max Freeman, Vern Dann and many other helped with fixtures and fitting where and whenever they could. Their generous contributions are acknowledged and their handy work is still operational today.
Melville Hawks finally erected the “Hawks” club sign to the end of the clubroom on Marmion Street. This remained proudly on the wall until January 2012 when the club committed voted to design a new logo to moving on with a one design emblem.
Willagee Junior Football Club pushed for a merger with the Hawks but the committees on the day were adamant the club remains the way it was. Today the club is known as the “Winnacott Cats”.
The upgraded lights were installed around the entire oval; replacing the original lights set up in the 1970’s as they would only illuminate an area less than a quarter of the oval. This task fell on to the shoulders of Steve Stedman, Steve Miguel, Lionel Poole & John Forrest which all these members were actively involved in running the club. Official switching of the lights was undertaken by one of the Melville players Daniel Kerr (currently player in the AFL for West Coast Eagles).
Existing change rooms had a major renovation undertaken with walls removed in the change rooms and with players and parents chipping in to supply much-needed labour. The finished project sees the change rooms and toilets separated and incorporated some much needed storage. The colours today are still very striking which holds true to what our club is about.