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Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Page: 9272

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services) (9:39 AM) —With Australia’s soccer game against Qatar this evening, it is worth while remembering the central role of the Auburn-Granville district in the history of Australian soccer, a vestige of Scottish and British migration to the metalworks in the 19th century. I recently spoke to a local, Bobby Simpson, the former Australian cricket captain, who said in passing that his father, having played for Falkirk and Stenhousemuir in Scotland, came and played professionally for Granville. This is typical. The Cottam Cup in the Granville Association has been contested for over 100 years. The Granville Kewpies Club, which plays on Colquhuon Park, behind my home, is the oldest soccer club in Sydney. There are five or six clubs in Newcastle, which again is a result of Welsh migration to the coalfields of Newcastle, but in Sydney it is the oldest club.

I want to pay tribute to the club president, Bill Staines; the secretary, Maurice Campbell, who happens to work in my electorate office; and other members of the club for the way in which they have in more recent times reached out to immigrant communities. Typical of this is the effort of the under-16 team, which emerged from work by Murray Kanneh of Sierra Unite. He has worked to encourage youth into sport and to assist them with homework. That under-16 team, predominantly Sierra Leoneans but also Sudanese, Afghan and members of other recently arrived communities, has reached the grand final of what we call in New South Wales ‘the Champion of Champions’, which is a state knockout tournament from all the various associations. Brian Forbes, the coach of this team, who has been involved in this sphere for 15 years, commented recently that the team is the most polite and responsive group of kids that he has ever witnessed—that is, on and off the field. The club has also been involved in giving more support to the kids beyond soccer.

Typical of the history of the area is that in the next few weeks a small road that leads into Colquhuon Park will be renamed after the Henderson family, who have given much to Australian soccer in the Granville area. Bill Henderson was the Australian goalkeeper at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. His father had played for Australia and, from my recollection, was the coach of that team. This history of continuity with regard to this sport is very typical of Sydney. Auburn and Granville were both professional teams and before that soccer in the Sydney district had essentially been, based around business enterprises—companies like Goodyear had professional teams.

I want to signal the massive efforts that this club, particularly the Kewpies and, more broadly, the association, are making to engage modern communities. I recall a Sudanese person of about 35 years of age, who had been a refugee, telling me at one of the award nights a year or two ago that being involved with the Granville Kewpies club was the best thing that happened to him in his entire life.