January 19, 2021

Club History

Coburg Harriers Club History

Coburg Harriers Athletic Club History 1896 – present




  • The first Annual General Meeting of the Coburg Harriers is held on 30 March 1896. Coburg Leader news here
  • 13th May 1896: Affiliated with Victorian Amateur Athletic Association (VAAA)
    UNIFORM: All White Royal Blue facings and CapRoyal Blue “C” on breast.
    LOCATION: Shed at rear of “Corner Hotel” (now Browns Corner Hotel) at corner Sydney Rd & Bell St. Showers – either the wash house or the horse trough in Bell Street. The publican Mr. Rollands was at one time, President of the Harriers. 20 September 1896. Coburg Harriers finish 11th in club section of Victorian ten mile Cross Country Championship. Report in the Argus
  • 1897 12 June Coburg Leader reports on a club eight-mile paperchase. Report here
  • 1897: 5 October The club is represented at the Australasian Championships in 100 Yards Handicap Foot Race. Report here
  • 1898: First Coburg athlete to win a Championship of Victoria – F.W. Durham. 10 mile Junior Cross Country
  • 1900: F. Seekamp & D. Wallace went to South African War.The Argus reports on the club’s cross country awards night
  • Two thirds of members, including all office bearers except the Captain, resigned to form the Coburg Lacrosse Club. Harriers continued and moved to Lake Hall, the old bluestone Presbyterian Church, Corner Sydney Road and Rogers Street Coburg. After 3 years the use of outside water tap was augmented by a shower, covered by a corrugated iron screen.
  • 1905: Club Uniform changed to Royal Blue with White “C” on breast.
  • 1907: W.V. Aitken – 1st Coburg Athlete to win a Senior Championship of Victoria. 7 Mile Cross Country 40min 19secs.
  • 1907: 16 September – W.V. Aitken wins Victorian 10 mile championship. Report here
  • 1908: W.V. Aitken represented Australia, Olympic Games, London U.K. Fundraiser was held with report here
  • Female relations formed a ladies Committee.
  • 1909: Coburg Harriers 1st Association Teams Championship. “B” Grade 10 Mile Cross Country.
  • 1910: J.H. Slater wins Track & Field Championship of Victoria. 220 Yards – 23 secs. Detachment of several members left Coburg to form the Brunswick Harriers. Large numbers of members left Coburg to form the Moreland Harriers. Team photo of Coburg Harriers
  • 1912: VAAA request club colours be changed to Cardinal Red with White “C”.
  • 1914/18: WW1 – 74 Members enlisted. 19 Members fell in action.
  • 1919: About this time Club moved to Old Bluestone Hall at the rear of Church of England, Sydney Road, Coburg. A few years later then moved to City Oval which was located in Bell Street (now McDonald Reserve)
    J Bates – First Life Member of the Club Dr. L. F. Edmunds – later President of the Club, first Harrier to win Australian Championship – 440 yards Hurdles. G. S. Cook – 5th place in the first Cross Country Championship of Australia W. V. Aitken – 6th place in the first Cross Country Championship of Australia
  • 1920: A. V. Schrober – Coburg Delegate to VAAA Council continuously until July 1947.
  • 1922/23: Coburg Harriers win first VAAA Interclub Premiership – “B” Grade.
  • 1923: A. V. Schrober – Commenced a period of 10 years as the Hon. Sec. of Interclub Sports Committee.
  • 1924: Training from the Yarra Yarra Boat Sheds, Princes Bridge, City.
  • 1924/25/26 SEASONS: Coburg Harriers were the outright winners of the Shackle Shield given for a Boxing and Wrestling development within the affliated athletic clubs.
  • 1927/28: A number of members left to form the Collingwood Harriers. Training moved to the City Oval (where Coburg Football and Cricket clubs still play).
  • 1928: J. X. O’Driscoll commenced a period of 30 years as Hon. Chairman of VAAA Council.
  • 1929: Coburg Womens Amateur Athletic Club formed in December with assistance of Harriers. Gordon Harper – First Coburg Harrier to win Australian Track & Field Championship. Pole Vault – 10ft. 9 3/8 inches.
  • 1932: Coburg to Ballarat Relay – 7 hours 30 mins. 32 secs. Gordon Harper wins the Cullen Cup. First reference here
  • 1933: Coburg Harriers win Interclub Challenge Meeting at Oakleigh
  • 1934: Members in the Australian Team for the International Centenary Carnivals: G. Harper – Pole Vault. R. Harper – Pole Vault. A. W. Ayres – Javelin. C. Willis – 3000 Metres.
  • 1936: J Rennison wins Cullen Cup for best track & field athlete
  • 1939/40: Coburg Womens Athletic Club in recess.
  • 1939/45: WW2 – 51 Members enlisted. 9 Members fell in action. 1942 – at our lowest ebb. Our average attendance at runs during the winter season being 4 members.
  • 1945: Coburg Womens Amateur Athletic Club re-formed with the help of Harriers.
  • 1945/46: Coburg Harriers win first “A” Grade Interclub Track & Field Championship. Coburg 43 points defeated St Stephen Harriers 42 points.
  • Scarlet Runner Journal commenced.
  • Letter to Coburg City Council requesting R.A.A.F. remove the Tiger Moth Aircraft from the Clubrooms area at McDonald Reserve as this was now the Harriers Home.
  • 1946: At McDonald Reserve. Coburg Harriers Gymnastic Club formed. Letters to Coburg City Council for independent athletic ground.
  • 1946/47: Second “A” Grade Interclub Track & Field Premiership.
  • 1947: Coburg Womens AAC represented for the first time at the Victorian Women’s Track & Field Championships in Royal Park with five athletes competing -J Thompson, Joan Morrison, L Giband, Lyn Parry and J Parry
  • 1947/48: Circular Cinder Track constructed at McDonald Reserve at Harriers expense.
  • 1948: Coburg Womens AAC athlete Joan Morrison become women’s clubs first Victorian champion (Shot Put). Picture of her here courtesy of the Argus. Coburg Harriers Table Tennis Club formed.
  • 1949/50: Coburg Harriers Membership with VAAA – 259.
  • 1950: Fourth Empire Games, Auckland, New Zealand. Ross Price – 440 yards – 2nd in Heat 49.3 secs. 2nd in Semi-Final 49.4 secs. 5th in Final Time not known. 1st in Final with 4 X 440 yards Relay Team. John Marks – One Mile – 2nd in Heat 4:19.4. 4th in Final 4:14.8. Robert Prentice – Marathon – 9th 2:48:53
  • 1952: Olympic Games Helsinki, Finland. Robert Prentice – Marathon – 37th 2:43:13
  • Alterations and extensions to Club Rooms. To Sam Wilson this was a labour of love in the memory of his two sons, Jack and Stan, members who were killed during the 1939/45 War.
  • 1954: Coburg Harriers “Under Age” Athletic Club Formed. Approximately 100 – 150 members.
    Coburg Harriers raced Sydney Road Tram from Elizabeth Street Post Office to Bell Street. (Lost by 12 seconds because Tram Driver did not stop to let passengers off for the last 1/2 Mile.). News Report  
  • 16th to 17th October 24 Hour Relay Run at McDonald Reserve. All Competitors ran 1 Mile legs. 53 competitors covered 255 Miles, 1424 yards.
  • 1956: Olympic Games Melbourne, Australia R. C. (Ray) Smith – 50 Kilometre Walk 6th 4 hrs. 56 mins. 08 secs. Neville Sayers – Modern Pentathlon 19th 3717 Points. 10 Coburg Harriers carried the torch in the Olympic Torch Relay. 16 Coburg Harriers acted as officials during the Olympic Games.
  • 1958: Sixth Empire Commonwealth Games Cardiff, Wales
    Herb Elliott – 880 Yards. 1st 1:49.3. 1 Mile 1st 3:59.0
  • 1959: 18th to 19th April 24 Hour Relay Run at McDonald Reserve. 39 Competitors covered 258 Miles, 686 yards.
  • 1960: Olympic Games Rome, Italy
    Herb Elliott – 1500 Metres Heat 1 1st 3:41.4. Final 1st 3:35.6
  • 1962: 3rd & 10th November – Fires destroyed 25% of the Club Rooms including Cross Country Championship Board, Life Members’ Board and many photographs and pennants.
  • 1965/68: P. McKenna to Vietnam War.
  • 1966: Eighth Empire Commonwealth Games Kingston, Jamacia Noel Clough – 440 Yards Heat 1st 47.8 secs. Semi-Final 3rd 47.2 secs. Final 8th 47.4 secs. Noel Clough – 880 Yards Heat 3rd 1:54.4. Semi-Final 2nd 1:47.9. Final 1st 1:46.9. 4 X 440 Yards Relay Team Final 5th.
    August – Coburg Harriers apply to Coburg City Council to use McDonald Reserve on Saturday mornings for Little Athletic Competition. Coburg Little Athletic Centre formed and competition commenced.
  • 1967: 4th July – Coburg Harriers put a proposal to Coburg City Council regarding an overall development of Jackson Reserve as a comprehensive sporting centre to include an Athletic Centre. 31 July – Coburg City Council agreed in principle to the project.
  • 1970: Patricia (Trish) Gavin of the Cobueg Womens AAC wins the Australian Cross Country title. A humanities student at La Trobe University, becomes first women to be awarded a Full Blue for her achievements in athletics
  • 1971: State Titles at Olympic Park Coburg Harriers Australian Record 4 X 800 Metres Relay Damian Quirk – 1 min. 55.5 secs. Neil McKern – 1 min. 55.5 secs. Noel Clough – 1 min. 52.0 secs. Keith Wheeler – 1 min. 48.0 secs. Total Race Time – 7 mins. 31 secs.
  • 21st March 1971, Official Opening of Harold Stevens Athletic Field, Jackson Reserve, Outlook Road, East Coburg This then became the location for Little Athletics, Coburg Women, and Coburg Harriers.
  • 1975: Change of Club Uniform. Red with White COBURG on breast and three White vertical stripes under “C”
  • 1982: Victorian Amateur Athletic Association (VAAA) merges with the Victorian Womens Amateur Athletic Club (VWAAA) to form the Victorian Athletic Association (VAA)
  • 1984: September – Building Extensions Commenced. Summer Interclub Competition held at Harold Stevens Athletic Field.
  • 1985: Alternative Club Uniform. White Tee Shirt with Red Raglan Sleeves, Red COBURG across chest and three Red vertical stripes under “C”. 2nd May – Official Opening of Building Extensions.
  • 1986: 7th August – Coburg Harriers Veterans Club formed. Coburg Women’s A.A.C. Disbanded in August.
1991 Onwards
  • 1992: Paralympic Games Barcelona, Spain Jodie Willis – Discus 2nd 32.30 Metres Javelin 5th 23.02 Metres Shotput 1st 11.16 Metres (World Record)
  • 1993: 14th June – Queens Birthday Honours OAM – Medal of the Order of Australia Jodie Willis – For service to sport as a Gold Medalist at the Paralympic Games Barcelona. Harold Stevens – For services to Athletics.
  • 1996: 30th March – Coburg Harriers Centenary Dinner – Coburg Town Hall
    Paralympic Games Atlanta, U.S.A. Jodie Willis Shot Put 2nd 11.46 Metres Lachlan Jones 100 Metres 19.90 secs. (World Record)
  • 1998: April – New Polyurethane Track. Officially Opened During Coburg 24 Hour Carnival 1998
  • 1999: Athletics Victoria Life Membership 21st July Athletics Victoria A.G.M. Two of our own Life Members become Athletics Victoria Life Members. Harold Stevens & Ray Smith.
  • 2004: Coburg Harriers win three Athletics Victoria Winter Cross Country pennants : Men’s Division 5 and 6, Women’s Division 3
  • 2006 : February. Coburg Harriers win Athletics Victoria Shield North West Region Division 4 pennant. March. Several Coburg Harriers are selected to act as officials at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. October. Stacey Van Dueren places third in Melbourne Marathon in new Coburg Harriers open age record time
  • 2007: 8th September – World 100 km Road World Cup in Holland. Deanne Nobbs finishes 43rd. 23rd September. Coburg Harriers first women’s team win promotion to Division 1 of winter cross country competition ending a 15 year (?) hiatus from the top level of Victorian disrtance running
  • 2008 : 2nd February – Coburg Harriers win AV North West Region Women’s Division 2 pennant, thereby earning promotion to Division 1 for the 2008/09 summer track & field season. 7 March – Deanne Nobbs breaks Australian record in 24 Hour Treadmill Run with 188.07 km. 12 October 2008. Coburg Harrier Stacey van Dueren is selected to compete for Victoria in the Australian Half Marathon Championships, which would taste victory
  • 2009 : 7th February. Men’s 40+ team win North West Region track & field pennant. 20 March. Bola Lawal and Ellie Thoms are selected in the Victorian team to contest the Australian Championships. 2 May. Deanne Nobbs competes in her second World 24 Hour Championships
  • 2010 : February. Bola Lawal wins Victorian 100 yard Championships. March. Two members at Australian Junior T&F Championships. Shane Wilson 6th in U16 Steeplechase, Leah Polycarpou Gold in U14 Steeplechase and 3000 m. April. Club member Barry Loveday wins Coburg 24 Carnival with 232 km. July. Two representatives Leigh Roux and Kayne Davies compete for Victoria at Australian Cross Country Championships. August. Barry Loveday wins Tan Ultra 100 km event. September. AV XCR10 Cross Country & Road Season. Men’s Division 3 win pennant (three race victories along the way including Warragul 8 km and Bundoora 12 km XC events and Burnley Half Marathon). Leigh Roux wins overall U14 female age group section