FROM THE ARCHIVES
NELSON STREET BOYS AND ‘NEIGHBOURS’
NEIGHBOURHOOD OF STARS
By GRAHAM GREENWOOD
CONTINUING The Nelson Street Boys story, it also includes some stars who made it big in sport from neighbouring streets.
But first, to finish off Nelson Street, one resident family was the Cutting family who lived there during the 1950s and 60s.
Kevin Cutting was closely aligned with East Gambier and was the manager of East Gambier Sportsmen’s Club during the early 1970s before becoming the publican of the Port MacDonnell Hotel.
Of his children, Anthony was a promising colts footballer with East but died as a result of accident in 1979. Kevin’s daughter Helen married Simon Carey who was instrumental in East’s success during the 1970s and 80s as a runner, selector and recruiter.
Over the years he recruited Paul Lynch from Beaufort, Victoria. Lynch later married Kevin’s other daughter Di. Lynch was a tough, no-nonsense follower from the Ballarat League and made a big impression at East. Carey also recruited top players such as David Wilson (son of Penola goal kicking champion Ernie who won the SEBFL goal kicking in 1959), John Sidebottom, Dennis Finn and Mike Wood. Many of these became premiership players at East.
Carey was a radio announcer with 5SE and moved to Sydney where he worked in radio there.
Surrounding Nelson Street were plenty of other young kids who kicked the footy with the Nelson Street boys. On some nights and weekends there were as many as 20 kids kicking the footy end to end in Nelson Street and it was highly competitive.
Nelson Street ran into Wayne Glynn’s family’s home in Werona Street. Glynn kicked 10 goals at full forward as a teenager in his first A grade game for South Gambier in the early 1980s and later, as a talented batsman, would become a Barber Shield cricket premiership player at South and later president of the footy club until just recently.
The Dempsey family home in Boandik Terrace backed onto the Brooksby home in Nelson Street and Michael Dempsey broke into A grade at 17 and was destined to become a top player until illness cut short his career.
Peter Dempsey played in six grand finals with East during the 1980s, after debuting in the late 1970s. He won flags in 1982, 83 and 88. He was quick around the ground and could hold his own in any key position such as centre half back but played his best footy in the centre. He played centre in East’s 1982 premiership win over South Gambier. He also captained the club. The 1988 premiership broke a “drought” of losing the previous three grand finals in succession.
Patrick Dempsey also played with East and was part of two Reserve grade premierships.
The Graney clan were just a drop kick away around the corner from Nelson Street and the boys followed their father Noel Graney who, with Soapy Heazlewood, were the first two players to receive life membership at East. They tossed a coin to see who would be named first on the honour board. Noel played in the back pocket with East through the 1950s and was highly regarded as a top defender.
Phil Graney broke into East A grade in the late 1960s after starring in colts footy. He played under state full back Tracey Braidwood as coach in 1969 and was a member of Gary Lazarus’ team which lost the 1971 grand final to West Gambier. Blessed with pace and ball skills he played as a half forward on that grand final day. David Graney was another who played at senior level and was talented player, while Steve Graney debuted at 15 years of age in A grade in the mid 1970s and was also an A grade basketballer with Waratah in the early 1970s.
A dashing half back flanker, or utility player, Steve played in East’s losing 1978 grand final while the youngest of the clan - Sean was a member of East’s 1988 premiership side and among their best players on that day.
At the east end of Nelson Street on the corner in Allawah Street, the Lucas family lived and Robert Lucas was a junior tennis star and as a teenager played in St Mary’s A1 grade tennis premiership side in the 1960s. He was also a top junior cricketer and footballer but did not pursue those sports into seniors as he later went into politics and was state Treasurer in the previous Liberal State Government.
What is interesting about Nelson Street and the surrounding streets is that in an area possibly not much bigger than the size of a soccer field, this small area produced so many top sports people during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Acknowledgment is given to Harry Young for jolting my memory and reminding me how many stars came out of Nelson Street (part 1) and Peter Dempsey for assisting with some of the names and details in Part 2 of The Nelson Street story and neighbouring streets.
· PHOTO: Three-time East premiership player, Peter Dempsey
In the Western Border League team at Victoria Park, Collingwoods ground. If you were to play in the VFL you were "zoned" for Collingwood. I'm up the back with my green and white surf shirt under my guernsey. Mark Yeates far right in bottom row, famously tried to destroy Dermott Brereton at the start of the 1989 AFL Grand Final.
My brother Steve, second from left in the second row. A whole team of Under 18 bruisers.
My younger brother Sean and his mates post 1988 WBFL Grand Final which was won by East Gambier.
Post a Comment