OUR CLUB'S HISTORY
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS
1921 - 2021
Since 1921, many club heroes have emerged. Yet, as much as it is about the champions, an athletics club is also about the athletes and competitors who love athletics and give up their time selflessly for committee and volunteer work . 'Go Hunters' is about a large, outward looking, community-based club in Victoria that has touched the lives of thousands of Melburnians over the last 100 years.
Phil Hutton, Club Legend, has done a superb job in meticulously researching and compiling the history of our club, a great addition to the history of athletics in Australia.
The Glenhuntly Athletic Club history book and companion Photo Book are for sale at $50 each .
A Brief History of Glenhuntly Athletic Club
The Glenhuntly Athletic Club has served the men and women of the community of Glen Eira (formerly Caulfield) outstandingly for almost 100 years. Not the earliest athletics club in the district (Caulfield Tally Ho existed for 5 years 1911–1916), the club was formed in the aftermath of World War I (1921), mainly by footballers in the local amateur football club.
As men and boys took advantage of a more settled life in the 1920s, the club enjoyed instant success, with five premierships (three in the A Grade) and a tie in its first decade. Its members took out State titles, set new records, and the club’s executive were active in many innovations to promote the sport of athletics to the local community. Carnivals and activities for junior boys were part of the day.
The club's executive was also prominent in the push for women to be able to enjoy the sport of athletics, too. This proved successful in 1929 when seven women's athletic clubs formed their own organisation. The Glenhuntly Women’s Amateur Athletic Club was one of the seven clubs.
The men’s club, known as the Glenhuntly Amateur Athletic Club (GAAC) was fortunate in 1926 to obtain clubrooms, (which were the old jockey changing rooms) in the grounds of Glenhuntly Park on Neerim Road, adjoining the racecourse. The club remained there until 1975 when a new athletics facility was provided by the council at Duncan Mackinnon Reserve on North Road in Murrumbeena. The women’s club also acquired a small club room next to the tennis club.
Glenhuntly Athletic Club was represented in the first Empire Games (1930) held in Vancouver, Canada, when Australia had a team of just six athletes. The 30’s depression and the onset of WWII saw both clubs struggle for survival. However, the holding of the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956 enabled new enthusiasm, and a stunning
revival of athletics occurred during the mid to late 50s. The men began to dominate the Winter Cross Country season, winning premierships regularly, while the women’s club had enormous success in the Summer Track & Field season, winning five A Grade pennants in succession.
Since 1956, the Club have been represented in every Australian Olympics and Commonwealth Games teams , and can now proudly claim 31 Olympians, 33 Commonwealth Games representatives, 16 World Championship representatives, and 16 World Cross Country representatives.
Since 1960, both the men's and women's clubs have supported and influenced the athletic community, and our members have assisted in the development of many facets of the sport: Little Athletics, fun runs, women’s cross country, and Masters (40+) athletics. Our club membership has grown to over 250 athletes, one of the largest in the Athletics Victoria association. We have a large number of coaches and officials, and many of our members are active on various committees to provide ongoing commitment to the growth of athletics in the local community.
In 1995, the men’s and women’s clubs amalgamated to form one club, and became known as the Glenhuntly Athletic Club. We have had significant success over the past 25 years. In summer Track & Field, we have been State Premiers and runners up on a number of occasions, and our men and women have been a strong force in the winter Cross Country & Road Racing series for a number of decades. Our juniors have been highly active with some super results over this period and our Masters teams feature highly in all competitions.
With a state-of-the-art track now our home base at Duncan Mackinnon Reserve, Murrumbeena, the Club proudly continues to provide top class coaching and competition to athletes of all ages and abilities.
Author: Phil Hutton, 2021.