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Tuesday, 18 October 1983
Page: 1883

Mr MILDREN(10.55) —In recent weeks the House has heard of the exploits of quite a large number of Australian sporting individuals and people related to them, from the America's Cup victory through to the achievements of Robert de Castella, the victory of the Davis Cup team and football champions, et cetera. I want to draw the attention of the House to the record of another of Australia's remarkable sportsmen. Perhaps not everyone has heard of Stan Nicholls of Ballarat, but Stan's achievements are remarkable on several counts. Stan, who is now aged 72, has been engaged in athletics since 1928 when he joined the Ballarat Harriers and the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association at the age of 17. Remarkably he has maintained unbroken service to athletics since that time. He won his first race in 1930 and has had a remarkable history of success since then. In June 1983 he won the Australian Veterans Marathon Championship in the 70 to 75 years age group at Hobart in the astonishing time of 3 hours and 13 minutes.

I might say, Mr Deputy Speaker, that it is quite impossible to detail the record of Stan Nicholls in the short time allowed in the adjournment debate. Therefore I must point to just a sample of this fine athlete's accomplishments. He has been a life member of the Ballarat Harriers for 32 years and has been Club president, captain, trustee, coach and committee man and is still the Club' s delegate to the Victorian Athletic Association. Having also been a time-keeper for many years for the Ballarat Harriers, he was appointed track athletics time- keeper at the Melbourne Olympic Games at the stadium for the marathon and the road walks. He was also appointed an official at the athletics stadium at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982. Over the past 50 years he has also been most active as an official at many Australian and Victorian athletic championships. Even during the Second World War, when he served for four years, he was a physical training instructor during part of this time. He has been an example for all young and older athletes and potential athletes. He has been a member of the Victorian Amateur Walkers Club and Marathon Club for a number of years. In recent years he has been active in fostering veteran athletics and race walking in Ballarat and is a grade one walk judge of the Victorian Athletic Association. Remarkable as these achievements have been, I wish to list some of his own running achievements.

In his competitive achievements in athletics he first won a race in 1930, as I indicated, in the Ballarat Harriers 2 1/2 miles event. He was the Ballarat track and cross country champion for many years in the 1930s and he held most distance running records in those years. He was also Victorian three-miles track champion , as well as Victorian five-miles cross country champion. In latter years he has been prominent in veteran athletics. In 1981, aged 69, he won two gold medals and one silver medal at the World Veteran Games Championships at Christchurch, where he won the 3,000 metres steeplechase in his age group and broke the world age record in that race. In 1982 he won five events at the Pacific Games in Suva . He has been veteran athletics champion of Australia 37 times and has won 42 Victorian veterans championships in running, race walking, steeplechase and marathon events. In all, Stan Nicholls now officially holds 28 veterans world age records, according to the recently published World Age Record Book.

I could detail more and more of these, Mr Deputy Speaker, because the record just goes on and on. Stan was recently awarded the remarkable accolade rarely awarded to Victorian athletes when he was awarded the Award of Merit by the Victorian Athletics Association in recognition of his service to athletics and his remarkable personal achievements over a period of 55 years. I must say that Stan's wife, Arley, is also a wonderful athlete, beginning athletics only a few years ago, and now over 70 she holds world records in her own right.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! It being 11 p.m., the debate is interrupted.

Mr Duffy —Mr Deputy Speaker, I require the debate to be extended.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —The debate may continue until 11.10 p.m.