THE 50'S AND EARLY 60'S

From the beginning Towns proved unbeatable with Don Gibbs. Games had been played with teams limited to 12 or 14 only. Games were played on Sunday afternoons at the Civic Centre oval which had a poor reputation due to the many clumps of buffalo grass, double gees and dust. Never-the - less games were taken very seriously and it was not unusual to wager 200 pounds, a large amount in those days, on the Grand Final which ensured that some went for the "man" and definitely played for keeps.

 

This photo is a combined side which played Derby in 1959 or 1960.

(State school teacher's house on right, goal posts on site of Horrie Millar exhibit in later times, the house behind is still there today and attached to a modern extension.  It was built in 1911)

BACK ROW:  Keith Murray, Ernie Rahman, Don McKenzie, Fred Cox, Don Gibbs, Jimmy Howard, Don (Billy Bunter) Entwhistle, Eric Cox and Frank McKenzie (brother of Don)

FRONT ROW:  Arthur Shackleton (first Captain of Meatworks), (?) Phillip Matsomoto, Les Crispin (came to Broome 1958 as a carpenter to construct the new Post Office - played for Towns), Peter (Nugget) Matsumoto, Simon Bernard.

Don McKenzie (photo taken Nov 1998). Don played for Towns and later as first Captain of Saints. He rates Phil Grantham as the best footballer he saw in Broome. Simon Bernard was mentioned by him as an outstanding footballer as well.  (Simon Bernard was also a jockey and won races on his horse 'Red Sol'.  He was know for his Boxing reputation and at one time challenged a race horse to a 100 yard dash.  He was only overtaken by the horse just before the finishing line.  Later Simon was imprisoned for a long period of time).

Don McKenzie watched some of these epic battles on the hill above the goals at the Anglican Church end, which was a natural grandstand, and he longed for the day when he too could play. He was 15 at the time and didn't have long to wait as he was noticed shortly after with the juniors by his idol, Don Gibbs, captain of Towns, who asked him if he would like to try out with the Seniors. "Can you imagine my reaction - of course I wanted to". In a recent conversation (Nov. 1998) Don Gibbs laughed about teaching Don Mc Kenzie how to hold a football. He told him it was not held on the ends like a basketball but on the sides.

Don learnt his skill quickly with the likes of Simon Bernard and the Clements brothers, who had played in Perth. When lining up for his 3rd successive Premiership, he was given the honour of being appointed acting captain because Don Gibbs was to have an appendix operation. As a motivation one of the team members called out "Let's do it for Gibbsy" which they subsequently did and kept the cup for another year. But change was in the air. Since Commonwealth had dropped out of the competition, Father Kevin McKelson, 6 years after becoming Parish Priest of Broome, approached young Don and discussed the ideas of forming a team of local boys based on the model of St. Mary's Football Club in Darwin whose colours were gold and green. Don agreed and a very formidable squad was put together consisting of Eric and Fred Cox (later played for Meaties), Gordon Lee, Billy Lawford (later played for Beagle Bay), Dicky Roe, Stephen Victor, Pius Gregory, Dicki Chi and other very speedy players. Success was immediate as they stormed to the Premiership only to see Towns reverse the result the following season.

Father Mc Kelson left Broome in 1961 and for the next three years Father Brian Murray, described as a 'football fanatic' (even though he came from N.S.W.) continued the association by helping out with the organisation of the Club after which footy in general went into decline except for the odd scratch match of social games out at Beagle Bay and La Grange. This was a matter for regret as players such as Don saw some of their best years being wasted.

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