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FHC’s facilities at McIvor Reserve, Yarraville are regarded as the best club level hockey facilities in Australia. Featuring two synthetic turf fields (both wet/dry hybrids, one with a water cannon irrigation system), the Club also has an outdoor artificial grass specialist training area that is the size of, and marked as, an ‘indoor’ court. The club also has a new car park and a magnificent clubhouse, now featuring its own substantial pro-shop HOCKEY HQ. Whilst primarily the base of the FHC, the McIvor Reserve facility hosts a variety of activities including Lacrosse, Gridiron and Soccer.
The broad usage is possible because of the multi-use nature of the artificial grass installed on both pitches, and also because the western pitch (‘Alby Speed Field’) is built to lacrosse dimensions. It is also possible because of the flexible / shared-use philosophy adopted by successive FHC administrations. FHC are responsible for operating the facility all year round and, in addition to satisfying hockey demands, seek to achieve significant usage targets for non-hockey activities. The Club provides over 100 hours per week of volunteer input to operate the complex.
Each of our playing fields has been named after a Club legend that has dedicated their lives to making FHC the Club that it is today.
Our F1 and F2 grounds are named after stalwarts of our club Alby Speed and Brendan Sheehan. See below a summary of the input that each of these fine men have contributed to FHC
F1 – Alby Speed Field (pictured left)
Board Member 37 years
President 20 years
1st XI Premierships 1955, 1977
F2 – Brendan Sheehan Field (pictured right)
Board Member 35 years (continuing)
Junior Coach 35 years
1st XI Premierships 1977
At the end of the 2018 winter season, Maribyrnong Council will be commencing a 10 month re-development of the FHC pavilion. The building project was last costed at $1, 354, 000, the project involves the complete tearing down of all walls and structures, then, within the empty building shell, construction of the attached design will take place.
The design of the pavilion is attached below.
Melways Ref 41 G:10
Bus Route 432
Closest Train Station: Spotswood Station
West Gate Freeway: Williamstown Road Exit
PO Box 6050
West Footscray 3012
A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR CLUB THE FOOTSCRAY HOCKEY CLUB
The Footscray Hockey Club has operated continuously for eighty four years, being established in late 1934, and first taking the field for the 1935 winter season. The Club has had a number of homes through this extended period, playing its early years at the bottom of the Footscray Gardens / Lynches Bridge area, followed by a short period at the back of the Yarraville Gardens. In 1965 the Club began its thirty year tenure of Johnson Reserve in Essex St West Footscray, following which it moved back to Yarraville (to McIvor Reserve) in 1994.
Some Interesting Aspects From Our History
1934 – (February) Meetings held to form a hockey club in Footscray
Mid to late 1930’s:
– Social functions held at ‘Greens Palace’ (above the current furniture shop on the corner of Geelong Rd and Barkley St).
– Roy ‘Monkey’ Campbell lost his dentures in the mud (Lynches Bridge ground).
– During the 30’s and 40’s two ladies clubs operated locally – Footscray Centrals were our affiliated unit, so named because a separate Footscray Ladies club competed between 1936 -1946. The ‘Centrals’ tag was dropped in the late 1940’s after the other ladies hockey club disbanded.
– J O’Brien removed as president (failure to attend meetings).
1940 – Pioneer Hotel change-rooms mentioned (Lynch’s Bridge).
1942 – Committee decides against disbanding FHC after having only eight players throughout the entire 1942 season (war duties).
1945 – Food, clothing rations and War Savings Certificates given as trophies.
1947 – FHC played Victoria (National Champions) to raise money for the Miss Footscray Quest (FHC lost 0-1).
– Old camouflage nets were purchased to use as goal nets.
1949 – FHC endows bed at Footscray Hospital (₤120).
– FHC donated ₤45 to the Foots / Yarraville Spastic Children’s Society.
1950 – Ben Acton picked for Australia in both Field Hockey and Ice Hockey (Australain Captain). A great all-rounder, Ben also trained with Footscray Football Club as a young man.
1948-51 – FHC U16 squad produced eight State / State Schoolboy reps. In 1952 FHC’s U16 team beat Strathmore 30-0 and Kew 37-0.
1955 – As well as the Footscray Gardens (Lynch’s Bridge end) ground (called ‘Acton Reserve’), an extra ground was used near the lily ponds.
1956 – Bill Rowbury played the entire A1 game with a fractured skull (scoring FHC’s only goal!).
– FHC lost to the USA 1-2 in a pre-Olympics practice match.
1957 – 6th July: Alby Speed scored 6 goals (A2’s 7-0 win over Kew).
1958 – Ladies team wear Red, White and Blue for the first time.
1965 – FHC shift to Johnson Reserve in West Footscray.
– A2 (SL2) men play GF three times (vs St. Kilda) before a result is achieved.
1967 – Later a Fed Parliamentarian, Gary Johns selected in Vic U16 team.
1972 – FHC v Australia at the Albury Carnival.
1974 – Indoor hockey started at the Footscray YMCA.
– Administrative disagreements caused split in Club. Large number of players left to join Werribee and new club Sunshine.
1979 – Men’s ‘Senior Club Champion’ award won by U16 captain Greg Hopkins.
1980 – Revised constitution cuts committee size from 15 to 8.
1983 – Footscray Hockey Club incorporated.
– $100,000 upgrade carried out to Johnson Reserve pavilion.
1985 – FHC win premierships in all five Mens grades – an Australian record!
1994 – FHC shift to magnificent McIvor Reserve complex at Yarraville (sand based syn. turf ground and large pavilion).
1999 – Men’s 1st XI contest one year of State League Division 1 for the first time since 1966.
2000 – Wet pitch (F1) added to Club complex.
2006 – FHC fields a record 36 teams (including a record 18 junior teams).
2008 – FHC junior teams compete in a club record 8 grand finals. Awarded ‘Best Junior Hockey Club in Victoria’.
2009 – FHC compete in both the mens and womens SL3 grand finals. Eastern ground re-carpeted, $200,000 specialist junior training area built.
2010 – Mens team play off in the SL2 grand final, 13 of a record 41 teams contested grand finals, FHC junior division again ranked #2 in the State, western ground recarpeted.
2011 – FHC compete in both mens and women’s SL2 grand finals (men won, women runners-up). Both promoted to SL1 for 2012. Most successful junior division in Vic again. Best girls program for 4th consecutive year.
2012 – FHC men’s and women’s first elevens return to SL1 (‘Premier League’)!!!
2016 – FHC enter a record 53 teams, including a 12 team intra-club U8 league and a 6 team intra-club U10 league.
2017 – $1,400,000 pavilion re–development project announced
– Both of the mens and womens top two teams (Premier League and Premier League Reserves) make it to the finals in their grades.
– Our first ever Senior Female Australian player selected! Lily Brazel breaks clubs 63 year Senior Australian representation drought
2019 – $1.3m pavilion re–development project completed. $1.7m F2 re-development project announced.
– Premier League men and women making it through to their grand finals, a first in our Club’s 85 year history. Both teams finished runner-up in their grade
2020 – The winter and summer hockey season cancelled for juniors, seniors and masters due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
– F2 (Brendan Sheehan Field) re-development completed at a cost of $1.7 million.
FHC’s proud history of contributing to our local community! The major donations to the Footscray Hospital and the Footscray and Yarraville Spastic Children’s Society in the 1940’s started a commitment by FHC to, whenever possible; contribute back to our local communities. Later causes supported by FHC include Red Cross Calling, The Spastic Society (again), Cancer cure organisations, Beyond Blue and an orphanage in Vietnam.
Please see facilities section on this page to view the 2019 Pavilion design.
Premier League All Star Teams
2012 – Amy Turnbull, Samantha Ellis
2013 – Samantha Ellis, Megan Berriman, Andrew Monte, Justin Ellis
2014 – Leah Merrett, Andrew Monte
2015 – Andrew Monte
2016 – Lily Brazel
2017 – Lily Brazel
2018 – Sarah Breen, Carly James, Olivia Colasurdo
2019 – Carly James, Olivia Colasurdo, Jordy Polding
1996 – Mark Whinney (U16A – Mike Craig Medal)
2011 – Amy Turnbull (Women’s Premier League – Don Vincent Award)
2013 – Carly James (U16A Girls – Fiona Hodges Medal)
2013 & 2014 – Andrew Monte (Men’s Premier League – Fin McNab Award)
As a 15 year old Yarraville Iron Foundry apprentice in 1947, Alby Speed was ‘ready to go’ when two colleagues challenged him to come and watch a game of hockey in his local area. Alby not only went to watch, he played that day and was hooked ever more. Little did Alby know that that day’s involvement was the beginning of a 75 year connection to his beloved Footscray Hockey Club. And with it, the following: 37 years on the FHC Board of Directors, Men’s Senior Coach for 13 years, two first XI premierships, Men’s Club Champion twice and he was the Men’s section record games holder for nearly two decades finishing on 946 games. Alby was awarded Life Membership of FHC in 1962, and received Hockey Victoria’s Award of Merit in 1990. The Women’s Club Champion (first XI Best and Fairest perpetual award trophy) is named after Alby and more recently the F1 ground was also named in his honour.
To read the full memoriam filled with wonderful photos and memories shared by his team mates, members and friends please click on the link below.
Forever in our hearts, rest in peace our beautiful friend.
Club Patron – Rationale:
A Patron is defined as: …one who encourages or helps a person, or cause, or a work;
a furtherer, and a promoter; …a person who protects, supports, or countenances;
…a defender, advocate, …a person of distinction under whom a person [or club] places himself / itself …
Therefore the role of the Club Patron is part promoter and supporter (as in No1. supporter) and partly in recognition of the respect the Club has for the individual. The Club Patron is elected annually at the Annual General Meeting by the Membership. The following club patrons have served the club well during their tenure.
Alby Speed 2012 – 2020
Stevie Carew 2010 & 2011
Ron Govan 2006 – 2009
Ben was born in 1927 at Footscray Hospital and named after his grandfather. He was educated at ex-Geelong Rd State School and Footscray Technical College. Acton lived at 11 Droop Street in Footscray and then Main Road, St Albans after he married. Ben took up his grandfather and father’s trade of plumbing. He trained in the Victorian Football Association (VFL) as a young man with the Footscray Football Club (now AFL Western Bulldogs). Acton’s sister Joyce (later Joyce Wilms) encouraged him to take up both skating and hockey.
He won Best and fairest award for 10 years straight from 1947 to 1956 whilst playing for Footscray Hockey Club. Humbled by the decade of honors, he requested not to be included in the best and fairest voting after 1956, though he remained in the team, to allow his team mates to shine. Acton coached from 1949 – 1958 at FHC, a reign that delivered two State League Premierships.
The only Australian and possibly the only man in the world, to represent his country in both ice hockey and field hockey. He captned the Australian ice hockey team at the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley, California, in the United States.
He was invited to the 1964 Olympics but declined because of business commitments.
Ben was vice captain of the Australian Men’s field hockey team in 1950, 1952 and 1954 and carried the torch at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
He was chief ice hockey umpire at the 1956 Olympics and played field hockey for Victoria for 15 years.
Ben has kindly donated his jumper he proudly wore when representing Australia on the 1950’s to Footscray Hockey Club. It is on display in the FHC’s clubrooms in the memorabilia cabinet.
Ben last visited FHC in 2009 at the 75th Commemorative Reunion. Acton Reserve in the Footscray Gardens is named in his honour.
Ben was born in 1927 passed away at the age of 92 in 2020 in his Queensland nursing home.
Ben Acton (1948, 49, 51, 53-56)
Paul McKinnon (2011)
Kyle Gildea (2015-2016)
Nigel Tussaint (2011, 12, 13)
Damien Toussaint (2012)
Tung Le (2012, 13)
Matt Whitbread (2013)
Stuart McLean (2013)
Greg Robertson (2013, 16)
Maz Stonehouse (2018)
Andrew Crowley (2003, 06)
Neil Coster (2006 – 2011) TM, Emerg GK
Nigel Toussaint (2015 – 2018)
Stuart McLean (2017, 2018)
Greg Robertson (2018)
Andrew Crowley (200)
Phil Frost (2012)
Nigel Toussaing (2019)
Alby Speed (1986)
Peter Byrne (2005 – 2008)
Geoff Lewis (2008)
Phil Frost (2013 – 2017)
Craig McBride (2018)
Neil Coster (2005)
Geoff Lewis (2009, 10)
Peter Byrne (2010)
Phil Frost (2018, 19)
Peter Byrne (2012)
Bob Banks (2018)
Geoff Lewis (2013, 16, 17, 18)
Neil Coster (2005)
Alby Speed (Coach – 2002, 03)
Neil Coster (2013)
Geoff Lewis (2019)
Neil Coster (2019)
Chris Henderson (World Masters Cup 2002, 2005)
Neil Coster (Masters Committee 1998 – Current, Life Member 2009)