The journey of the Brimbank Little Athletics Centre is long and complex one beginning way back in 1967 with the Sunshine Little athletics centre. It incorporates the history of 3 Centres: Sunshine, St Albans and Deer Park. As we rapidly approach the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the first Little Athletics Centre in the Western Suburbs, we take a moment here to reflect on how it all began............
"LITTLE ATHLETICS CENTRE HERE!"
That’s how the local newspapers headlined its feature of the day. “The most exciting thing to happen for primary school children” was initiated on Thursday the 14th September 1967 at the Sunshine Town Hall.
The meeting was convened by the Sunshine Jaycees and included some well known sports stars as guest speakers:
Gary Holdsworth - Australian sprinter who unofficially equaled the world 100m record at Landy Field, Geelong in March 1967
Ted Whitten - VFL/AFL Legend and Bulldogs Captain at the time
Ron Clark - Australian Athletics Superstar and World Record holder over middle and long distance events
Pam Kilborn - Australian Athletics Superstar and World Record Hurdler.
The meeting was attended by several hundred parents, teachers and youth leaders.
The initial structure of the centre comprised of 9 teams: -
Braybrook, Deer Park, Maidstone, North Sunshine, Our Lady’s, St. Albans, Sunshine, Sunshine East and Sunvale.
On the 7th October 1967 the Sunshine Little Athletics Centre (11) commenced competition. Girls competed in the 70m, 80m, 100m and 60m hurdles on the track while the boys competed in the 100m, 200m 400m 800m and 60m hurdles. Both boys and girls were able to compete in the High Jump, Long Jump, Discus and Shot Put. Registration costs at the time were 65 cents to join and a weekly 10 cents fee to compete. There were 4 club coaches.
In 1968-69 an estimated number of 600 children were registered with the centre.
In 1968 the Albion Athletics Club commenced at the Centre.
The Deer Park Club and St. Albans Club left to establish the St. Albans Little Athletics Centre in 1974.
By 1986/87 there were only 3 clubs remaining - Albion, North Sunshine and West Sunshine.
During the 1988/1989 season North Sunshine Little Athletics Club celebrated it’s 21st Anniversary as a club.
The beginning of the 1992/1993 season the centre celebrated its 25th Season of competition.
In 1998 the Albion Little Athletic Club celebrated its 30th Anniversary as a club in the Centre. Later that year the final 3 clubs amalgamated to run under the banner of the Sunshine Little Athletics Centre.
Deer Park Little Athletics Club was formed on February 1974 under the guidance of Peter Bailey and was a founding club with the St Albans Little Athletics Centre. The programme was held at Errington Reserve, St Albans. In 1977 Peter Bailey led the formation of the Deer Park Little Athletics Centre (No. 110) with 3 clubs - St. Peter Chanel, Deer Park Central and Deer Park North - competing at Deer Park West Primary School, with 230 registrations. in 1978 the competition moved to Sassella Park, with 250 registrations where competition has remained to the is very day.
In 1979 the Centre welcomed the Falcons from the Albanvale area. The Centre successfully continued with registrations of up to 350 athletes per season. In 1990 the Centre welcomed Deer Park West. This meant that there were now five clubs in the Centre. Sadly the Deer Park North Club folded at the end of 1992/1993 season. The Centre continued with 4 Clubs for the next 6 seasons. Unfortunately the Falcons Club folded at the end of the 1998/1999 season. The Centre continued with 3 Clubs for the next season.
Some of the Deer Park athletes went on to win state title and represent Victoria. These athletes were: Warren Bentley, Tania Fallon, Christian Ellis, Simon Azzopardi, Drew Saynor, Alisha Saynor and Katie Williams. Christian Ellis captained the Victorian team during this time.
We are currently acquiring details regarding this Centre’s History
In 2000 the 3 Western Metro Region centres - Sunshine (11), St Albans (101) and Deer Park (110) - amalgamated, with the help of the City of Brimbank Council and the Victorian Little Athletics Association (now Little Athletics Victoria), to form the new Brimbank Little Athletic Centre (151). In the early 2000’s the St Albans club unfortunately folded and the Deer Park and Sunshine Clubs continued until 2005 when they merged to become the Brimbank Little Athletics Centre. The Committee, Parents and Athletes continue to work hard to forge forwards into the future.