Keith Vallis

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Interviewee: Keith Vallis, born 1930

Interviewer: Frank Heimans,
            for Baulkham Hills Shire Council

Date of Interview: 7 Aug 2001

Transcription: Catherine Sapir, May, 2006

This interview represents the personal recollections, views and opinions of the interviewee

Raised in Cooktown, Keith Vallis has lived in the Hills District since 1956. With four sons, sport has always played a major role in his life. When he first moved into the shire there was a distinct lack of sporting facilities.

The area didn’t have that many sporting arenas. In our particular park, at that time, we would have only had one ground, but of course the population of Baulkham Hills was only small but growing all of the time. So the people involved in the Club had to work themselves voluntarily to provide additional facilities. We had to arrange to get all of the work done and to get people in the park of a Saturday and Sunday to clear trees, dig up the dirt, level the grounds and so forth, so my involvement was from that point onwards and probably has been a continuing thing ever since.

Being involved in the Soccer Club, I’d become the Equipment Officer, so I handled all of the purchasing of the equipment and the distribution of the equipment. I was also the Social Secretary. At one stage I could remember where we grew over a number of years and we had in the vicinity of seventy teams of soccer kids of all ages. So the equipment necessary to fit out seventy teams used to be stored in my garage, under my house, anywhere that I could fit it. You know, we would have a thousand soccer balls without any trouble at all. It wasn’t easy, but you would always get a great deal of help. Of course, my own family, my wife Connie and the boys would always be of assistance and it wouldn’t be unusual to have to pump up thirty soccer balls each night when I came home from work and as well as that, being an electrician, I was probably responsible in organising to provide the lighting for the training lights on those grounds as the grounds were developing. You know by this time we’d now probably developed our second soccer field, or our second ground with two soccer fields, that gave us three soccer fields. We had seven netball courts that we’d been able to get built as well, so we had to get the lighting up on all of those. I’d organise a working bee. We’d get up there. I’d had the poles stood up. We’d run the wires under the ground and that’s how it all happened.

Look I’ve seen a day when we’ve had a working bee on the Ted Horwood Reserve and I’ve seen in excess of two hundred people turn up for a working bee on a Sunday. We were planting grass at this time on the grounds. The ladies would be sitting on top of one of the old farmer’s harrows that we were dragging around the ground to chop it all up so that the pieces of grass could be put in the ground and this is how we originally grassed the ground. I never found it a problem to motivate people to fulfil what they felt was an obligation. It was something that was being provided for their kids, for them in other words, and it wasn’t difficult. I always found that the major people that you could find to do work were always those people who were the busiest. We would always be fairly busy on a Saturday because there’d be people up marking the fields, so we would have our volunteers there again marking out the fields, setting up the canteen, putting up the nets and doing whatever else had to be done so I was the Canteen Supervisor for a number of years, probably at least six. From an original cricket, we went to soccer to netball to hockey, both mens and womens, to baseball, to athletics, all of those, so whatever the amateur sport was that wasn’t being actively promoted, we became involved in.

The athletics division of the Club prospered for a number of years. Our major person associated with the Club in the early days was Marlene Matthews. Hockey was played at Ted Horwood Reserve. There were a great number of hockey grounds developed by the Parramatta Council and hockey was predominantly played around that area. Down the track, it was decided that we should consider building a Social Club and looking for a liquor licence to become a licensed club, so I then became involved in that aspect of the club activity. We changed from the Baulkham Hills Cricket and Recreation Club to the Baulkham Hill Sporting Club and we had to look for monies to purchase land to go to the Licensing Court, so I was fairly actively engaged in that. I was on the original committee. We subsequently gained our licence. I was on the original Board of Directors then of the Club and at that same time I actually became President of the Club, still carrying on my activities as the Equipment Officer of the Soccer division because they all ran in conjunction with one another. I was President of the Baulkham Hills Sporting Club for approximately nine years. It is now amalgamated with the Bankstown Sports Club. That amalgamation took place about two years ago.

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Working bee, Ted Horwood Reserve in the late 1960s

How long did the Club run actually?

Well since ’74. About 25 years.

Did you get a big kick out of being involved in all those sorts of activities?

Always. Always a big kick because I get more of a kick out of watching children play sport and have the facilities to play the sport on than anything else.