Club History

1939 to 1950
Parks Hockey Club was established in 1939 when a boys' team from Hermit Park State School joined the Association's competition. The Association provided the team with full-sized hockey sticks, and the initial coach was Mick Roper. Key members of the original team included W. Ritchie, D. Milne, J. Paul, A. Sinnot, G. Bradburn, R. Baxter, A. Anderson, T. Heatley, H. Heath, L. Heath, E. Cox, and A. Willet.

The following year, a Parks Senior team was formed and Arthur Skau acted as the coach. Training sessions took place at Hermit Park State School and the salt pan flats behind Hannock and Gores (later known as Brown & Broad, then Foxwood, and currently the Lakes).

In 1941, a disagreement amongst the senior players led to the juniors playing under the name Ayrville Hockey Club, named after the Ayrville Tennis Courts on Windsor Street, Hermit Park, which were owned by a dedicated supporter named Mr Ralph Baxter. He assisted in setting up the team with playing equipment. At that time, hockey sticks cost 8 shillings and sixpence (85c), and hockey balls cost 2 shillings and sixpence (25c). The juniors and seniors reunited under the Parks name the following year. In 1946, Parks achieved its first Senior Men's premiership under the leadership of Keith Cruickshank, and they were also successful in 1947. The Parks Sports Club was established in 1947, with Jim Bow serving as President and Ern Cox as Secretary. In addition to hockey, the club provided opportunities for players interested in participating in summer sports such as cricket, vigoro, and basketball. In 1947, the membership fee for the club was 1 shilling 16 pence (15c).

The Club's ladies’ teams made their debut in 1947, with some of the original members being Dori Whalley, Mona Jones, Gerti Anderson, Maree Ferguson, Daphne Chalillon, and Grace Mills.
1950 and 1960’s
During the 1950s, Parks Club experienced significant growth and success, establishing itself as a formidable club. They achieved Senior Men premierships in 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959, showcasing their dominance in the league. Furthermore, in 1952, Ms O. Petrofski captained the Senior Ladies team, securing the club's first major ladies' premiership.

In order to cultivate young talent and support the future of the club, notable hockey enthusiasts such as the late Bert Bailee, his brother Len, Ern Cox, and Eric Timmins, along with other supporters, established a Junior Hockey Association in the 1950s. Parks Club took responsibility for nurturing a total of seven teams within this association. This initiative proved fruitful, as it produced exceptional players like Fred Edwards, Bill Seib, Barry Malcolm, and Merv Crossman, who formed the core of the Senior Premiership-winning teams from 1962 to 1969.

Recognizing the importance of cultivating a strong junior base, the club adopted a strategic approach in the 1960s. Understanding this need, esteemed hockey figure Dick Young, then Principal of Currajong State School, relocated to Townsville. With the assistance of teacher Noel Chandler, they successfully attracted a substantial number of new junior players to the club.

A significant milestone for the club was reached in 1960 when Parks gained their first Australian players, Barry Malcolm and Merv Crossman, who were selected for the Rome Olympic team. This paved the way for future achievements, as a trend emerged with Club members representing at the subsequent three Olympics. Merv represented in Tokyo (1964), and Jim Mason represented in Mexico (1968) and Munich (1972).
1970’s and 1980’s
During the 1970s, the Club achieved several premierships with the Senior Men winning in 1973, 1974, 1977, and 1978, and the Senior Ladies finding success in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, and 1979.

In the following decade, the Club continued its success with the Senior Men winning premierships in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1988. The Senior Ladies also secured victories in 1987 and 1988.

It is worth noting that the Men’s / Ladies double triumph in 1987 and 1988 was an unprecedented achievement in the Association's history. John Young's significant contributions in administration and coaching played a pivotal role in the Club's modern development.

Also in 1987 saw one of our club’s talented players Ashley Grummitt attend the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). This also occurred again in 1989 when another talented club junior Glen Deuble was also selected to attended the AIS.
1990’s and 2000’s
In 1993, the hockey landscape was transformed with the introduction of the inaugural North Queensland League, which featured club teams from Cairns and Townsville. In that year, Parks emerged triumphant in both the men's and ladies' grades, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey. Over the years, Parks continued to dominate the league, winning the trophy again in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2004. The Parks Men held the most finals appearances during this competition and the distinction of being the first team to win this Grand Final away from home in 2004. Parks firmly established itself as a formidable force in North Queensland hockey.

Not only has Parks excelled within the local league, but it has also made its mark on the national stage with Peter Walker, Glen Deuble and Nathan Pardon gaining selection for the Queensland Blades Men’s team. In 1993 with the inclusion of the North Queensland Barras in the Men's National Hockey League. Guided by the leadership of chairman John Young and coach Jim Mason, the Barras had consistently represented the club with distinction. Parks takes great pride in having contributed more members to this team than any other club, showcasing the calibre of talent within its ranks. These being Glen Deuble, Michael Warren, Steven Knight, Nathan Burgers, Peter Walker, Darren Fowler, Steven Hand, Daniel Millar, Darren Yates, Blair Brown, Matthew Zonta and Chris Bourke.

The dedication and efforts of Parks' older club members help to yield exceptional results, as evidenced by the emergence of a number of Australian representatives in the 1990s. Among these remarkable individuals such as Janita Ogilvie, having played for the Australian U18 and U21 Australian teams and a total of 11 games for the Australian Senior Ladies team, also known as the Hockeyroos. Included among them were also Michael Warren, Steven Knight, Craig Robertson, and Holly Savage, all of whom were selected to participate in the esteemed Australian Country Teams. Additionally, in 1994, the club had the honour of Kerrie Schmidt being named captain of the U18 Australian Team with Kerrie also representing Australia at the U21 level.

In the 2000’s more club representatives gained selection in the Australian Country team, those being Nathan Burgers, Adam Williamson, Adam Catalano and Stacey Dearness. Our Club also was lucky enough to have more senior members gain selection in Australian Masters teams such as Bill Osborn, Karen McElligot, Jan Ogilvie and Helen Walls. One of our talented juniors Matthew Zonta also became our first junior in 1999 to be selected in the Australian Schoolboys Team.

Parks' senior men's team has enjoyed major success throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, securing premierships in 1990, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, and 2004. The year 1996 stands as a particularly memorable one for Parks, as the club achieved an unprecedented feat by winning six out of eight senior grade premierships. This level of success was consistently maintained, with Parks winning the Club Championship every year from 1990 to 2002.

In 2002, under the leadership of our first female president, Annette Elliss, Parks reached new heights of excellence. The club's outstanding performances saw every senior team and all but two teams from four grades of junior boys and girls participate in the Grand Finals. This achievement exemplified the club's commitment to developing talent at all levels.

Building on their legacy of success, Parks continued to shine in 2004, with both the Division 1 Men and Ladies' teams emerging as champions and again wining the club double Division 1 titles. Furthermore, the club regained the coveted Club Championship, affirming its position as a powerhouse within the Townsville Hockey Association.

2007 saw another Parks Hockey junior Nathan Burgers gain selection in the Australian Men’s Squad (The Kookaburras) to play in a series against the Netherlands in Canberra.
2010 to 2019
In 2010, the Club experienced a resurgence in Townsville Hockey, successfully regaining the Club Championship title. This triumph was repeated in subsequent years of 2011, 2012 and 2014. Although the Senior Men and Ladies teams were unable to secure a premiership during this period, our junior teams and lower grade teams, achieved numerous premierships, signalling a promising future for the club. Through our dedicated focus on junior development, we are confident that it is only a matter of time before the Senior Men and Ladies reclaim titles in each of their divisions.

In 2012 our club was fortunate to see another club junior become our 5th Olympian in Nathan Burgers who gained further selection in the Kookaburra Team for the London Olympics, where he won a bronze medal.

This decade also produced more talented Parks Hockey juniors who gained higher representative levels such as Kazzia Lammon gaining selection into the QLD Women's Scorchers team until the end of the 2017 season. Harrison Farrell gained selection in the Australian Schoolboys team and continued playing representative hockey through into the Queensland U21 Teams and Liam Mackay selected in the Queensland Country Men’s team and gain further selection into the Australian U21 Country Men’s team.

More senior players also gained selection into Australian Master Teams, with Matthew Ferns, Charlie Rasmussen, Peter Walker, Gary Wicks, Cheryl Phillips and Kathryn Richardson.

Also in this period of time Parks Hockey club moved from its traditional training fields of Cranbrook Park to the Townsville Hockey Complex. The club was able to secure funding and with the help of club members were able to erect what is now known as the Parks Shed to store all of the club’s equipment.
2020 to Present
June 2020 saw the club continue to upgrade its training facilities with the installation of light poles and lights. This was again achieved through hard work and dedication from our club members.

2021 saw our club gain its 6th Olympian with Parks Hockey junior Anthony Potter attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a Men’s Assistant Coach to the Kookaburras wining a silver medal.

In 2022 again through the work of our dedicated members, further funding was obtained and a new club BBQ Shelter was completed next to the Parks Shed which is regularly used to host club BBQs and social functions.

In the past 5 years, Parks has experienced significant growth in player numbers, becoming the largest player base in Townsville Hockey. In 2022, we achieved a 20% increase in numbers, particularly in our U13 Junior age group and 17-21 female age group, which provides great encouragement for the future success of our club.

During the 2021 and 2022 seasons, we competed in the Grand Finals in several of our lower Senior grades and emerged as champions in the Division 4 Men, Division 2 and 3 ladies grades. Our Division 1 Men’s Team reached the 2021 Grand Final, narrowly losing in a highly competitive match. Our Division 1 Ladies Team, last played in the Grand Final in 2011, although lacking recent success is currently in the process of rebuilding with a number of highly talented young players making their debuts along with new and highly talented players joining our club and is expected to become a formidable force in their division in the near future.

2023 was another successful year for our club with all our junior and senior team competing in the preliminary finals to gain advancement to the Grand Finals. Our two junior J3 teams advanced to the grand final along with our Masters Men’s team, Division 5 and 4 Ladies team and in the men, our Division 1, 2 and 4 team also made the grand final. The Division 1 Men’s Team was engaged in a close competition throughout the year, consistently delivering strong performances each week. This can be attributed to the exceptional talents of our junior players, some of who made their debuts and showcased their impressive skills. Additionally, we have been lucky enough to welcome a number of new highly talented and experienced players to our club after moving to Townsville. At the end of the regular season the Division 1 Men’s team narrowly finished second and through the final’s series were able to play a high level of skilful hockey which enabled them to reach the Grand Final. In a highly anticipated match, our Division 1 Men were able to put together a complete performance to win the Division 1 Men’s title, the first in 19 years.

Another notable achievement for Parks Hockey was Natalie Williams gaining selection again in Australian Masters team and the appointment of our Life Member, Bill Osborn, as the captain of the Over 75’s Australian Master’s Men’s Team.

We are proud to have a number of Junior Queensland Representative players and squad members, including Kyle Bullen, Chloe Bourke, Chloe Logan and Will West, who have consistently excelled in their respective competitions. Additionally, Hayley Buchanan was also selected for Queensland Country Women’s and Australian U21 Country Women’s Teams. Our club also have several Townsville Senior Men’s and Ladies Representatives, such as Liam Mackay, Patrick Forster, Jack Perry, Baden Buchanan, Brodie Warming, Matthew Robertson, Hayley Buchanan, Kyla Buchanan, Jayane Williams, Paige Vickers and Drew Vickers.

The continued success of Parks can be attributed to our rich club history, which has fostered a unique Club Spirit (known as Parks Power) that distinguishes us from the other clubs within the Townsville Hockey Association.