Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (20:00):Every Saturday through the winter months the parks in my electorate of Hornsby are filled with kids playing and enjoying soccer. We have a number of wonderful local soccer clubs that I am proud to represent, none more so than Hills Hawks Football Club. The club, based in Galston, has over 500 registered players and is celebrating 50 years of football this year. It is an impressive milestone and I am pleased to be able to take this opportunity to congratulate them in this Chamber. The club started in 1969 following a conversation between some mums at Galston shops about how they wanted a place for their kids to play sport. One of those mums was Lee Kars. Her husband, John, had played soccer for many years. They went to the Hills District Memorial Club, which had recently set up a sports and social club to foster activities in the local area. With growing support from local families who did not want their boys playing rugby league, the first Galston soccer team was established.
They decided to join the local soccer competition—the Gladesville Hornsby Football Association—which is the same association the club still plays intoday. The first committee was made up of Hans Mattura, John Kars and Don Johnson. They put a call out to local kids as well as knocked on doors in the neighbourhood to sign kids up to the team. They managed to put together four teams that first year. Many of the teams did not know much about soccer—most just did it for fitness or fun. Jeff Willemsen, who played in the first under 10 team, said the team did not do too well at first but it did not take long to get the hang of it.
In true Galston style, his team had a pony, Penny, as their mascot who would wear the club's strip of green and gold and lead the team out for the coin toss. And while they did not have the greatest start, all four teams ended up doing pretty well—finishing runners-up in their respective premierships. The club was then up and running, and in the second year the club saw 60 registered players sign up. Local duck farmer Harry Willemsen took over as president in 1972. He would hold four trainings a week and if something had to be cancelled his wife, Leny, would ring each and every player to let them know. How she would have enjoyed the ease of text messages and WhatsApp groups like we have today!
By the 1980s, the club was fielding 1st grade sides and had produced many representative players. The club also had a number of coaches who earnt their accreditation through the Australian Soccer Federation. In 1984 we saw the first ever Gala Day, which realised over $1,000 to purchase new gear for the teams. It was also the first year it fielded a Premier League team. A sense of community is something I love about the area of Galston, and it shows through the dedicated group of volunteers at Hills Hawks. From the start, they have had the backing of the community and the support of hardworking volunteers. In the1990s they decided to invest in their volunteers by paying for coaches to be accredited. This idea saw over 20 coaches go through the training. And boy did it pay off, with five premiers and five champions in the 1995 season.
Currently the hardworking volunteer committee is headed up by President Ian Robertson, and is supported by Peter Grocott, Robert Annabel, Richard Breatnach, Jodi Fraser, Ben Dickson, James Cotrona, Michael Coffey, Melissa Thomson, Karen Robertson, Carolyn Dawson, Georgina Hillman, Tracy Salmon, Chris Childs, Adam Smith, Marc Hickson, Ana Carolina and Lucas Periera. The club also has a number of life memberships awarded to those volunteers who have gone above and beyond: Geoff Bartlett, Harry Willemsen, Beryl Peebles, Jim Jupp, Ian Marriott, Ian Kerr, Ken Darcy, Mike Donohoe, Paul Thomas, Sue Chizzoniti, Kelvin Riordan, Gary Callaghan, Colin Munn, Steve Howlett, Greg Peebles, Julie Peebles, Joe Basha, Jeff Willemsen, John Ross, Greg Freeman, Michael Rosier, Deborah McCranor, Michael Coffey, Debbie Freeman, Monty Edwards, Stephen May, Barrie Pike, Alf Galeano, Tullio Forestieri, Ray Seguna, Peter Thomson and Louise Seguna.
I congratulate the Hills Hawks Football Club on an amazing 50 years. To every volunteer who has helped coach a team, work on the committee or referee a game, thank you sincerely. To each and every player, I hope you have worn the green and gold with pride. The club has a wonderful 50‑year history and I have no doubt that another 50 great years are ahead in the future. Go the Hawks!