History of hockey in Geelong

In the Beginning

Jim Urqhuart was a keen hockey enthusiast. When he first settled in Geelong the only way Jim could get a game was to travel to Melbourne, where he played with the Brunswick Hockey Club.

In 1954, the Geelong Men’s Hockey Club was formed by Jim Urqhuart and Roland Oliveiro. Together with students from the Gordon Technical College – primarily from Sri Lanka in Australia under the “Colombo Plan” – they entered a team in the Victorian Hockey Association (VHA).

In 1966 nine of the Geelong Men’s Hockey Club members left to form the Geelong and District Men’s Hockey Association. Jim Urqhuart became the inaugural President.

I believe (from Jim Kirk) that initially the team travelled to Melbourne and played under the Brunswick banner. They then broke away and formed the Geelong Men’s Club. It is understood that the Geelong Club competed as high as A2.

The meeting room at Stead Park was named the “Urqhuart Room” in September 2004.

Margaret and Keith Murray

The Murray family has been involved with and instrumental over many years in the development of hockey in Geelong. Their contribution was acknowledged with the naming of the spectator stand at Stead Park.

The stand, constructed by the Geelong Hockey Association, was completed just prior to the 2009 Masters Games. It complements the recently refurbished playing facility that was completed with the assistance of the City of Greater Geelong in 2008.

In 1980, the then Geelong Women’s Hockey Association, the Geelong and District Men’s Hockey Association, and the Geelong Hockey Club, in conjunction with the Shire of Corio constructed two flood lit Granitic Sand Hockey Fields. These fields gave hockey the ability to play and train in all weather conditions without the risk or fear of damage to the playing surface. Something the modern players would have little experience of, let alone consider that a season may be postponed or cancelled because it is too wet.

These grounds were opened in 1981 and named the “Keith Murray Hockey Complex”. Keith at the time of his death was Vice President of the Geelong Hockey Club and was deeply involved in the initial negotiations for these pitches. However, his interests were not limited to the Geelong Hockey Club as he was dedicated to furthering hockey in the region. He recognised the need to provide meaningful and fulfilling activities for young people.

Keith was also involved in Surf Lifesaving and Swimming. Margaret Murray was well known to many people here in Geelong and Victoria, as well as Australia and overseas. Margaret had been involved in hockey for most of her life, starting at Geelong High School. Her application and dedication saw her achieve great things in our sport.

This dedication as a player, umpire, coach, tutor, mentor and administrator brought many rewards. However, it is as an umpire that she is remembered most, her efforts and ability saw her climb to the top of the umpiring tree. The pinnacle of her career was being placed on the Victorian and Australian Umpire’s roster at international level. This is a goal that some of our younger Geelong umpires are now setting their sights on.

Margaret has not only officiated at this level but has also worked very hard to encourage others to take up the whistle and enjoy a different aspect of our game. Margaret’s dedication to our sport has seen her awarded life membership of the Geelong Hockey Club, and the Geelong Hockey Association. Margaret was instrumental in forming the Geelong Women’s Hockey Association, the forerunner to the Geelong Hockey Association. She is also a life member of the Victorian Hockey Association and a life member of the Australian Hockey Association.

Margaret was a regular at Stead Park and continued to instruct, coach and beguile trainee umpires. Her assistance in this task has been a huge benefit and greatly appreciated. We thank her so much for her time and effort. Her absence is sorely missed. The Geelong hockey community perpetuates Margaret and Keith’s contribution to our sport with the naming of the Margaret and Keith Murray Stand.


Author: Graeme Dent

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