Historical Overview of Mount Colah Cricket Club
Mount Colah Cricket Club formed in the 1933-34 season, entering the Hornsby District Cricket Association’s (HDCA) budding senior competition. Cricket in the area had only been formalised by the HDCA seven years prior upon their foundation in 1926.
The first Mount Colah Cricket Club was formed when a group of friends and family members from the area assembled into one team, which would only play under the Mount Colah banner for one season. This original team entered the C Grade competition in 1933, ending up in second place overall. At the season’s conclusion, the majority of the team’s players would continue to play as an Asquith team entering the B Grade competition in 1934-35. Although Mount Colah Cricket Club dissolved at the conclusion of its inaugural season, its players would go on to achieve great things for local cricket.
Local cricket was suspended entirely a few years into WWII, after several seasons of dwindling numbers as more players enlisted. The Mount Colah Oval on Ku-ring-gai Chase Road was transformed into a military base and airfield to contribute to the war effort and would never again be used as a cricket ground.
After the war, Mount Colah registered for the HDCA for the first time since its original season in 1933. Despite its lengthy hiatus from the competition, Mount Colah delivered two premiership teams in the 1946-47 season. The following period in the 1940s would see the formation of Mount Colah’s first-ever junior team and the increased involvement of the club in the then-called “Schoolboys’ Competition” on Saturday mornings.
Mount Colah dissolved once more in 1949 and would lie dormant throughout the 1950s. The 1950s was a sleepy period for cricket across the district more generally, defined by a declining interest in the game while other sports gained popularity.
Mount Colah rose from the ashes one last time in 1962-63, and this time was here to stay. And yet, the club would briefly take on a different form to facilitate this return, initially entering as the Mount Colah Rugby Union Football Club. The club gathered momentum throughout the 1960s, building up its junior and senior ranks in preparation for what would become its most memorable period.
The 1970s and 1980s constituted a definite golden era for the club as Mount Colah formed its first A Grade team, which then proceeded to win ten premiership titles over the twenty-year period. This winning streak included six trophies in seven years, with the one loss incurred only when the final was washed out. This impressive display was executed by a team crowded with talent, including Graham Bender, Bruce Kimberley, John Jessup, and Graeme Kurtz.
This strong A Grade team was supported by several women from the local area, such as Mrs Lyla Rae and Mrs Joyce Edmunds. Their individual contributions by scoring for the team, providing countless afternoon teas, and spectating each game helped to cultivate a community spirit for the club beyond what was being played out on the field.
Emerging from this period in the 1990s, Mount Colah maintained a prominent place in the association. Kanga cricket came to Mount Colah in 1993, only a year after it was first trialed by the HK&HDCA. Bruce Kimberley would take on a key role in shaping Kanga cricket for Mount Colah even while continuing to play A Grade.
The values of junior cricket championed at this time would be carried through into the twenty-first century, giving shape to the club through times of stressful circumstances or financial hardship.
My philosophy of our club is to give kids the opportunity to achieve, to create a fun environment of social interaction, to be accepting of everyone’s ability; good or not so and to support those within your team. You have your good days and bad days – the sun will rise and set no matter … such is life.
My aim is to “grow” good young people because they then become good adults. After all, cricket is only a small part of life… for most!
Bruce Kimberley, October 2021
The history of Mount Colah Cricket Club has produced the community-oriented organisation that stands today. The club is upheld by a dedicated group of parents, past players, and community-minded people who volunteer their time to provide a local space to enjoy cricket. This space tackles the dual purpose of supporting and featuring talented players while encouraging people of all ages and skillsets to pick up a bat and have a go.
To see competition results for each grade and age group between 1933-34 and 1999-2000, consult the attached table below.
In its history, Mount Colah Cricket Club has produced some incredibly talented players. Many of these players made their mark in the association’s competitions. Each year since its foundation, across its many forms, the HK&HDCA has listed in its annual report the top batting and bowling averages of each grade level and age division. Attached below are tables listing the achievements of each Mount Colah player who has featured on this list between 1933-34 and 1999-2000.
Given the tough competitions hosted by the association each year, the listed achievements are well-earned and worthy of documentation. These tables read chronologically from Mount Colah’s first team until the end of the twentieth century, with each year divided by grade (in seniors) or age group (in juniors).
The above historical overview of Mount Colah Cricket Club summarises the periodised pages hosted in the ‘History’ section of this website.
Writing this section has been informed by conversations with Bruce Kimberley and Bruce Parker in 2021. Bruce Kimberley is quoted several times throughout.
The first source set used for this history outside of these conversations was a complete collection of hard-copy HK&HDCA annual reports (through the association’s two name-changes). Hard copies of these reports since 1926 were generously lent by Nathan Tilbury for the club’s use. The reports since 2007-08 can be digitally accessed on the HK&HDCA website.
Alf James’ compiled history, Summer Saturdays was another valuable source of information on local cricket in the area.
The information provided concerning Ted Beattie and the Beattie family has been assembled from several sources unconnected to local cricket, including the Australasian Record of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and an article published on the Stewardship Ministries website.
Seventh Day Adventist Church, Australasian Record, volume 49, no. 14, April 2, 1945. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/AAR/AAR19450402-V49-14.pdf.
Seventh Day Adventist Church, Australasian Record, volume 50, no. 15, April 15, 1946. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/AAR/AAR19460415-V50-15.pdf.
Bruce Price, “A soul-winning legend,” Stewardship Ministries, https://stewardship.adventist.org/reading-54.
Many of the photos included were found in the Hornsby Shire Recollects collection. The section on women’s cricket in the 1930s was informed by the following article by Greg Ryan and the sources on the National Museum of Australia website.
Greg Ryan, “‘They Came to Sneer, and Remained to Cheer’: Interpreting the 1934-35 England Women’s Cricket Tour to Australia and New Zealand,” International Journal of the History of Sport 33, no. 17 (2016): 2123–2138.
“Australian batswoman, Miss R Monaghan, steps out to a ball, cracks it to the boundary, at the Sydney Cricket Ground,” National Museum of Australia, 1934, photograph, retrieved from https://collectionsearch.nma.gov.au/icons/images/kaui2/index.html#/home?usr=CE.