The following article is about one of the legends of our club.

He has been a member for over 30 years, president, secretary, carnival convenor, bottle washer and can normally be found behind the bbq on a Friday night. What Leigh Matthews is to the AFL, Ron is to us, and he has a matching moustache to boot. We are proud to have him as a life member.

Ron Hall in a class of his own in junior cricket, Australian football and swimming

  • November 06, 2010
ron hall

LIFE MEMBER: After 40 years of teaching, Ron Hall holds seven life memberships in sporting and scholastic groups. Picture: Mark Cranitch Source: The Courier-Mail

RON Hall is one of an endangered species a male primary school teacher.

Just about everybody remembers a special teacher or two who motivated, inspired and even had a profound influence on their lives.

After more than 40 years in classrooms, on playgrounds and sporting fields, Hall is one of those people.

He is the only person I've met who is a life-member of seven sporting and school-related organisations. It is no exaggeration to say tens of thousands of children have benefited from his selfless dedication as a prime mover in having junior cricket, Australian football and swimming competitions established in the greater Brisbane area.

At 63, Hall is still going strong. Maybe not quite as strong as 10 years ago, but still teaching on a relief basis and quietly working around the sporting traps.

"These days it's mainly helping out on the barbecue," he joked.

As a seven-year-old, he started playing Aussie rules with Coorparoo under-12s. It was the beginning of a lifelong involvement. By the time he was 17 and at Teachers College, Hall was coaching juniors and playing footy with the club's senior teams.

"I was never a champion, but we had a good year in 1968 and won the flag. I played right through the year but they had to drop two players from the squad for the grand final and I was one of them," he said.

Hall's first posting as a teacher was to Wynnum North Primary School, but two years later he was sent to the one-teacher school at Birdsville.

"It was a bit of a shock initially. But it's a special place and I was lucky to go there," he said.

Lucky all right. He met his future wife Gwenda – who was a daughter of the publican of the famous Birdsville Hotel.

"I was only in Birdsville for a year. I went back to Wynnum North but re-applied to return to Birdsville. They reckon I'm the only teacher who ever applied to go there," he said.

So Hall returned for another one-year stint in Birdsville, before eventually returning to Brisbane for good.

With his playing career over at Coorparoo, Hall focused on coaching juniors at the club for the next 30 years. He was asked to become club president, agreed and remained for 15 years.

"I mainly coached the under-7s and 8s and saw a lot of good players introduced to the game," he said.

"One year the under-7s didn't have enough players, so we got some very young boys down from the Camp Hill kindergarten."

The youngsters included Jason Dunstall, who became an AFL superstar with Hawthorn, and Brendan McMullen who won two Grogan Medals with Coorparoo. Another team member was Murray Bird, who played senior football before becoming an AFL umpire.

"Jason could have been anything in sport. He was an outstanding cricketer, a leg-spinner, and a great goalkeeper in soccer," Hall said.

A long-serving secretary of the Wynnum Districts Primary Schools Sports Association, Hall was convenor of athletics and swimming carnivals in the region.

"I was also heavily involved in cricket at the time and recall going to a meeting in 1973 to discuss the formation of junior cricket competitions in Brisbane," he said. For the next 25 years, Hall held just about every position in Zone 4 cricket, founded Chatsworth Cricket Club and was statistician for all age groups.

The Ron Hall Oval at Whites Hill is testimony to his work in establishing club competition in junior cricket.

"At Coorparoo, and also with the cricket, we introduced father and son nights, which were a great success," he said. "The fathers and sons would sit together for a meal and then enjoy specials guests like Kevin Sheedy, Viv Richards, Greg Chappell and Jim Higgs. They were great nights and very inspirational for the kids."

For the past 30 years, Hall has taught at Wishart State Primary School and remains involved with the Wishart Sharks Swim Club.

"My son was in Grade 3 when I got involved there and I became carnival convenor and chief selector," he said.

"When someone is silly enough to take that on, nobody ever wants to take over, so you're inevitably there for a while. But all I do now is open the pool on Friday nights and work on the barbecue. Swimming is very good and a healthy pursuit for a lot of kids, especially those with asthma and the like. They don't have to be champions to be involved."

The list of Hall's contribution to junior sport is endless. He umpired junior Aussie rules for many years and was a member of the committee that formulated modified rules for the code.

Not surprisingly, he is disappointed at the demise of sport in most state schools.

"There's a lot of reasons. The cost of hiring transport, timing and changes in society," he said. "Kids can't just walk home after their sporting events any more. It's not as simple as it used to be.

"But with modified rules, there's an opportunity now for kids to try so many sports while they're young. That's a real positive."

A member of the Gabba Trust, Hall never misses a Brisbane Lions match and enjoys a day at the cricket.

"I've enjoyed it all and sport has always been part of my life," he said.


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