Allora sporting identities Keith Masters, Ken Telford & Heather Slatter recalling days of past glories as they take in the Heritage Week display in Allora.
Allora sporting identities Keith Masters, Ken Telford & Heather Slatter recalling days of past glories as they take in the Heritage Week display in Allora. Glyn Rees

History catches Allora's attention

FEW things in life can hold one’s attention like aging sporting memorabilia, and currently the display in the Allora Pharmacy window is a popular conversation point in the “Best Little Town on the Downs”.

The display is in support of the annual Heritage Week, arranged by Allora Historical Society members Lyn Wright & Bev O’Halloran. The Allora Pharmacy window is filled with photographs, dressed mannequins, sporting shoes, cricket bats, golf clubs and trophies, just a taste of what’s on show.

“A historical display has occurred in support of Heritage Week over the past couple of years, this year with a sport theme” said Historical Society member Lyn Wright. “The display is also a demonstration to the community that the Historical Society is an active working organisation, while creating an awareness for the public of local history”.

The display has created a lot of interest with community members offering additional items to add to the display. People passing through Allora have also been intrigued, contacting the Society about the particular items.

Ken Telford, Keith Masters & Heather Slatter are three Allora identities who contributed to the display, all having strong links with Allora’s sporting heritage. Ken Telford has been one of Australia’s foremost polo players, also achieving at International level.

Cricket was Keith Masters game, a great supporter of the sport within the district and a long serving President of the Easter Downs Cricket Association, a man noted for his ability with the bat himself.

Heather Slatter supported her late husband Geoff across a lifetime of sporting involvement including rugby league, cricket & hockey, both Heather & Geoff devoted supporters of school & junior sport in later life.

The window display would provide an education for our current sporting generation, the mere sight of a vigaro bat resulting in some head scratching. Nancy May’s wooden tennis racquets in frames are a far cry from space age metal models wielded today, while the photo of the Allora Croquet Club from the early part of the 1900’s, provides evidence of a once proud club that has passed into Allora’s memories.

Allora’s reputation as a football (rugby) stronghold is enhanced when we catch a glance at the confident stares of the premiership winning 1912 & 1913 Boomerang Senior Football Club, the aged Clifton & District Rugby League Shield adorns the wall as a back drop of the photographs, which include a group from Allora’s 1950’s “B” Grade Premiers side with youngsters Max Phelan, Jim Bennett, Don Weier, Con Paterson, George Ellis, Nev Teske, Geoff Smith & Ron Gwynne, names well known today.

While Allora community members are more familiar with names such as Crawford, Murdoch, Harrison, Strange & May along with many others in local golf news, few would be aware a former Allora Golf Club was formed in 1927, a nine hole course aside Dalrymple Creek with the first players teeing off in September that year.

Lawn bowls has been a popular sport in Allora since a club was formed in 1934, and a mannequin in the display winder shows how times have changed. Hockey is not a sport played in Allora now, but an Allora side won the Warwick B Grade competition in 1950 that included Col Struthers, Geoff Slatter, Murray Robin, Keith Masters, George Ellis, Jim Whitton & Joe Cross.

The 1914 swimming carnival image shows competitors and onlookers on the banks of Dalrymple Creek opposite the intersection of Muir & Raff Streets, the former site of the Princess of Wales Hotel, a far cry from today’s high standard swimming facility, but everyone seems to be having just as much fun.

Pharmacist Jon Constable gets a regular look at the examples of sporting history in his window, the former Annerley Recreation Club soccer player particularly taken by the image of the Allora State School 1917 soccer premiers.

Interesting to note that the side included the Laws brothers Fred & Col, who both went on to rugby league greatness in the 1920’s & 1930’s. Fred Laws played 6 Tests for Australia and 33 matches for Queensland, while Col turned out in 12 matches for his State.

As an addition to Heritage Week, the Historical Society will hold a demonstration day on October 22nd at the old Allora Shire Hall museum site, with olden day machines working as they would have such as displays making batter, fashions from yesteryear among many other attractions along with a market day. The Warwick Veteran & Vintage Vehicle Club will also be involved with displays of their machinery.

Community members who a yet to see the display should do themselves a favour and take a look, and soak up a little of their local history.

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