Harry Basterfield – Life Member (deceased 2006)

In 1954 when Harry and his wife Shirley built their home in Avenel Road Gymea Harry was playing soccer in the Sydney premier division with Metters/Canterbury Marrickville and coaching teams in the Canterbury District. This made him very interested in the development of the Gymea Soccer Club.

As well as being President in 1966 Harry coached many teams and in particular coached his son Jim. Between 1966 and 1971 he coached Gymea A grade teams from Under 8 to Under 13 and in this time they won four premierships and were runners-up twice. During this time he also coached for a few years the Sutherland Association representative team and won the NSW State Championships on two occasions 1968 (Under 10) (pictured left) and 1969 (Under 11) (pictured right)

Shirley Basterfield managed the Canteen for two years around 1966 to 1968. She would spend Friday night preparing and cooking rissoles to turn into very popular rissole sandwiches at Saturday’s canteen. There was definitely no hot chips or cappuccinos in those days.

Anecdotes from the 60s

Harry was a long time committee member and while the club had little facilities at the oval the committee would hold their meetings in the lounge room at the Basterfield home. Thanks to Harry and Shirley’s hospitality including home baked suppers the attendance at these meetings rose dramatically!

Shirley recalls all the excitement in the neighborhood when they moved the old School of Arts building onto the oval. The building was previously situated in Sylvania Road South and is now known as 26 Grey Gum Place. At 26 Grey Gum Place you can still see the concrete slab which supported the stairs to the old hall.

It was also around this time when the club stored the training balls and the keys to the floodlights with the Basterfields. Many former players would recall crossing the road from the oval and knocking on the front door of Number 15 to ask for the training balls or the key to the lights.

Fundraising events in the 60’s were family affairs and social nights in the hall were popular. The nights when a hypnotist entertained were always a sellout and certain club members were talked about for years to come. Mystery car rallies were always highly competitive and thanks to no seat belt laws and many families not having cars it wasn’t unusual to have 8 or more passengers in the family sedans.

The end of season Gala Days on the oval were enjoyed by all the families. This was in the era before female soccer so the Mothers versus Fathers game was always a highlight. One year Laurie Dean dressed as a woman including balloons for a pregnancy. After running out onto the field with the mothers’ team to much laughter he ‘collapsed’ on the ground and was ‘rescued’ by some fathers who threw him into a wheelbarrow and wheeled him off the field. A great joke enjoyed by everyone.
(Andy Watson pictured in the black dress; Arthur Hughes wheeling, 1963)

This may be of interest too:

This picture was taken from the Toyota Cup Program for September 23, 1975. On this day the Champion Schools from South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales were meeting in a knockout. Representing NSW was Kirrawee High School and the majority of the Kirrawee team were Gymea United juniors players. Kirrawee had won the state wide Tasman Cup to be chosen for the Toyota Cup. Unfortunately I don’t know the results of this tournament.