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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1424

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (12:27): This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Central Australian Football League. Like many organisations in Alice Springs, the league began in the years immediately after World War II, as the community settled down after the excitement and sacrifice of those war years.

The league has flourished over those many years. It is now a vibrant competition with several grades, catering to thousands of keen footy followers in remote communities, some who travel up to 500 kilometres to get a game, from Kintore or Docker River.

Late last year the league lost one of its stalwarts, Cal Dean, who passed away in Mildura. He was not a player, but over 30 years, until his retirement about five years ago, he was the backbone of the league. Not as a CEO, not as a president, but as an outstanding jack-of-all-trades. He started his journey with football in Alice Springs in 1963 and was tireless in his efforts. His name is now synonymous with football in the Red Centre.

Cal started with Pioneer Football Club, serving many years on the committee, and at various times held roles of secretary, delegate, team manager and—as he should be—a life member of the Pioneer Football Club. His remarkable professionalism, passion and commitment to the game did not go unnoticed; he was five times awarded the AFL Central Australia Harrison Trophy for services to football, in 1975, 1987, 1994, 1996 and 2004.

In 1997 Cal received the National Australian Football Council Merit Award and in 2000 was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to football.

In 2005 Cal was named a member of 8HA's Central Australia Outback Team of Champions, which acknowledged the contributions of players, umpires and administrators in Alice Springs since 1948. In 2005 Cal was inducted into the CAFL Hall of Fame and was also a CAFL Life Member. The development and progression of local juniors was one of Cal's greatest pleasures, and the players from Alice Springs who have made it to national or state levels all hold great respect for Cal and his efforts. It is fitting that the 'best on ground medal' in the CAFL Under 17 Grand Final is named in his honour.

Many locals say that footy in Alice Springs would not be where it is today without the efforts of Cal. Even when Cal retired, he remained a major supporter of football in Alice Springs. As could be expected, he was a fixture at Traeger Park Football Ground, working all weekend during footy season. If he wasn't chasing footballs that had gone over the fence down Gap Road, which often happens in some places, he was calling the game for the community radio station, CAAMA—the Aboriginal radio station. His knowledge of the game, the players and their communities meant he gathered an audience from Tennant Creek to the Pit lands of South Australia.

Many AFL players have been mentored by Cal, such as Darryl White, a triple premiership player for the Brisbane Lions; the Bowden brothers of Richmond; and the McAdam brothers, Gilbert and Adrian. All paid tribute to Cal on his passing. When Cal retired to Mildura several years ago, many ex-players made the journey to visit him while he was ill. He shared with them many stories of games and characters.

Mr Deputy Speaker Irons, you know what it is like living in a community where people stand out because of their activities and contributions to your community, often in ways that are unseen or not properly recognised. You see this person—the shirt, the hair, the shorts or whatever the clothing might be—in the community, doing things for the community. When you see this person working 24/7 for so many years for the love of a game—in this case Aussie rules—then the community is the better for it. We need to recognise the contributions of Cal and other champions like him a little more often in this place.

Question agreed to.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 12 : 33