Formation Date of the Traralgon Harriers

Formation Date of the Traralgon Harriers

following two extracts from 1967 Express and Journal articles contain a small contradiction about the exact date of formation, but are consistent within the month and year, and within a two week period.

The Journal. Thursday, June 29, 1967, page 18:

“Traralgon’s second amateur athletic club was formed at a meeting at Traralgon Technical School last week.”

“The Harriers propose to conduct runs in conjunction with Traralgon Amateur Athletic Club (TAAC) and Traralgon Little Aths.”

Note. “ . . last week .  . ” would have been the week Monday 19 – Friday 23th of June 1967.

* Barry Thompson, The Express, Wed July 5, 1967, page 25:

“    the formation last Wednesday of (sic) Traralgon Harriers.”

The previous Wednesday was June 28, 1967.

Both statements identify a two week period from June 19th to June 30th 1967.  (It is possible the dates were confused between the two articles.)

* Barry Thompson was the instigator, and ‘founder’ of the Harriers, and was a teacher at Traralgon Technical School at that time.

To overcome this issue at the Annual General Meeting on the 24th April 2014 a motion was carried to formally recognise the formation date of the Traralgon Harriers as June 1967.

From Martin Thompson

Regarding the formation of the Harriers club “….I recall the meeting which was held in one of the old shelter sheds at Traralgon Technical School which had been a store-room for some sports equipment and served as BGs (Barry G Thompson’s) office.  A small group attended maybe about 8-10 distance runners.  ….”

“…. It is preposterous to be suggesting that the formation of the Harriers was any other date other than mid-1967.  The Harriers club was formed by and for distance runners in 1967.

In 1966 there was a spread of athletes (male and female of all ages, track and field and cross country) who competed for the Traralgon Women’s Amateur Athletic Club and the Traralgon Amateur Athletic Club (male) in the Latrobe Amateur Track and Field Centre.  In 1965 there were a handful of athletes (including my brother and sister) from Traralgon who were registered and competed for the Morwell Amateur Athletic Club. Relations between Traralgon athletes and the Latrobe Valley Amateur Athletic Centre were less than harmonious during 1967 and 1968.  Traralgon Harriers wanted more distance running events on the race calendar and some autonomy from the Latrobe Amateur Athletic Centre.  To be recognised as an “Athletic Centre” where three clubs and a Centre could organise athletic competition became the catalyst for the formation of Traralgon Harriers.  Many young distance runners mainly from Traralgon Technical School joined the Traralgon Harriers at my invitation along with a few of their counterparts at the Traralgon High School and St Paul’s College.  The Traralgon Harriers had a strong recruitment campaign and it wasn’t long before they became the strongest club in Gippsland (and sometimes country Victoria)…  The Harriers competed in the Victorian Track and Field Championships, Victorian All Schools Cross-Country Championships and conducted the Athletic Club 24 hour where they set a world record (Ron Clark signed the certificates of merit).  I undertook coaching many junior runners who had joined the Harriers … and these junior runners went on to win many major races … Often we met at the junction of Traralgon Creek and Jeeralang Creek out past Traralgon South to run a 21 mile training course up in the Strzelecki Ranges … finished off with a cup of tea/toast and a few long yarns.

The formation of Traralgon Harriers brought together some wonderful people … a couple of years ago we had a small Sydney based reunion … I then realised that the Club provided me with some life-long friendships … and as I listened to John Bermingham describe his attempt to break the 4.00 minutes for the mile on an indoor board track in New York, racing against the Kenyan Mike Boit and the Irish world record holder Eamon Coghlan … it was a great memory re-told by the former St Paul’s secondary school student who joined the Harriers in 1967!!!“




Figure 1 First Pack Run The Journal – Thursday, June 29, 1967, page 18

Figure 2 Traralgon Harriers Formation by Barry Thompson, The Express, Wed July 5, 1967, page 25

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