Brief History of the Gepps Cross Football Club
The Gepps Cross Football Club was formed in 1952 playing in the now defunct North Adelaide District Football Association.
The first Chairman of the club was C. Harris. The first Secretary was C. O'Donnell. The club purchased a second hand garage to be used as a change room. This came to be known as the infamous tin shed. The garage was erected on land behind the Gepps Cross Hotel which was the clubs first home ground.
Over the next ten years the club played at several venues in search of a permanent home ground. These included theGeppsCrossPrimary School, the land where the Gepps Cross Girls High School now stands and Port Wakefild Road opposite the Drive-in Theatre. Every time the club moved the shed was dismantled and re-erected.
The club had limited success until 1957 when it first played in finals being runner-up to Wingfield. The team was coached by ex South Adelaide player Stan Williams. The club repeated the effort in 1958 when coached by Ray O'Hara again being runner up to Wingfield.
In 1961 after years of representation to the council and thanks to Councillor Bob Day who coached the club in 1956, the club moved to Duncan Fraser Reserve. The ground in the first couple of years was commonly know as the 'prickle patch'. This was in reference to the fact that the ground was a paddock covered in scotch thistles. A grader was run over the Reserve, but unfortunately the prickles remained until the ground was ploughed up and turfed in 1963. After games the players spent the next week removing prickles from arms and legs. Needless to say the tin shed came with us and remained until the first section of the club rooms was erected in 1972. What stories it could have told.
The move to Rowe Avenue brought renewed enthusiasm to the club and culminated in the club winning its first premiership in 1965. The club was coached by former North Adelaide Player Malcolm Westley. The club continued in the North Adelaide District Football Association which became the Norwood North Football Association with limited success.
In 1978 the club joined the South Australian Football Association. The club was runner-up in 1981 and finally won the premiership in 1982. The club was coached in these years by ex Footscray andCentral Districts player Daryl Beale. In 1984 the club joined the South Australian Amateur Football League playing in Division 5. The club won the premiership in this year when coached by local player Peter Lock. The club worked its way through the grades with varying success until it won the Division 2 Premiership in 2002 when coached by Neil Rawlings. This put the club in Division 1 where it remains to this day.
This history of the club was put together by John Weaver. John played football for Gepps Cross from 1956 to 1964 and was Captain Coach 1963 and 1964. John was also the first player from the club to have played 100 games and was also the 5th person to receive Life Membership. John is a Life Member of the North Eastern Metropolitan Junior Football Association and has been associated with the Gepps Cross Junior Football Club for many years.
If you go into the club rooms you will see a bar named the "John Weaver Bar".
Junior Club History
The Junior Football Club was formed when a lady by the name of Mrs. Sawford approached John Weaver late in 1955 to help organise a football team so her son and other boys in the area could play football. The club nominated a team in the North Adelaide District Football Association in 1956. The association has had a number of name changes over the years, now being known as the North Eastern Metropolitan Junior Football Association.
In the early days there was only one grade - Under 14's. An Under 16 grade commenced in 1961. Then, during the early 60's, the ages were changed to Under 15 and Under 17 while Under 13 and Under 11 grades were introduced later.
The first 2 years brought limited success. In 1958 all parents were contacted and a committee was formed. A prime mover of this was Max Bamford, father of ex North Adelaide player Barry and grandfather of Scott who played AFL for Essendon, Brisbane and Geelong and recently retired from North Adelaide.
Max, along with John Weaver, coached the under 14's team and in 1958 the team made the finals for the first time, finishing 4th. In 1959 they were defeated by 1 point in the Grand Final. The first premiership was won in 1960. In 1961 the team finished 2nd then won premierships in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966. All would agree this is an amazing performance. The other grades had instant success all winning premierships.
There were may players who went on to play League Football.
Some who made the grade include: David Cearns, Bob Smith, Brian Smith, Barry Bamford, Dennis, Neil and John Sachse, Malcolm Ellis, Shane Tongerie, John May, Josh Mail, Martin Pike and former Sturt coach Brenton Phillips. Also many of our senior players are products of our Junior Club.A point worth mentioning is that at one time in the late sixties and early seventies, there were 22 players from Gepps Cross in North Adelaide's four teams.
Some of the stalwarts of the early years and that were instrumental in the success the club enjoyed in the early years include Graham Smith who was Secretary for many years. Graham also coached the under 11's and under 17's to premierships. Graham went on to be Secretary of the association for many years. Another great worker for the club was Don Ellis who was Treasurer for many years and was the first Secretary of the Sports and Social Club and lately responsible for the club rooms being built. Other names include Eddie Sachse, Bub Smith, Kevin Briggs, Marj Ellis, Gwen Weaver and Alf Smith.
If anyone knows any more information or has any photo's that should be included in the history please contact the Website Co-Ordinator.
(See contacts page)