Life Member Port Adelaide District Hockey Club
27-04-1923 – 05-04-2020
Keith sadly passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on 5 April 2020 in his 97th year. He was the longest surviving member of the Port Adelaide District Hockey Club, a member from the original days of the Largs Bay Hockey Club – having started as a 16 year old in 1939 and maintaining an 81 year connection with the club. We were so fortunate to have him as a special guest at the 2019 Black & White Day and the opening of the new change rooms complex in August last year
He served his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner at the SA Harbours Board dockyard at Glanville from 1938 to early 1943 when he joined the merchant navy as 5th engineer of the M.V. Armadale initially taking wheat and general cargo from Australia to India then Australia to London via Mauritius, Cape Town, Freetown where they joined convoy to Gibraltar and finally London.
He was in London in early June 1944, when the ship was inspected for the D-Day landing but rejected. They then sailed north around Scotland for USA instead. He was in Buenos Aires on a steam ship called Johilla on VE (Victory in Europe) Day.
He stayed at sea until late 1949 still with Trinder Anderson / Australian shipping though some of it on the Australian coast under charter to BHP. He went to school in Liverpool and London for his marine certificates and ended up with first class steam and motor certificates of competency.
He had a short stint with Colonial Oil Refineries [BP] in the Port and Darwin and then joined the Department of Labour and Industries as Inspector of factories, lifts and boilers etc in 1951 from which he retired in 1985 as Chief Inspector.
Once he returned to Adelaide he was about to resume his playing days with what was then the Port Adelaide District Hockey Club. It did not take Keith long to become heavily involved in the administration of the Club and in 1953 was elected President, a position he held for two years and then switched across to Secretary from 1955-1958. He became a Vice President of the Club in 1959.
Keith was a key member of the club involved in the then Grounds Committee of the club which negotiated the acquisition of the John Hart Oval from the Port Adelaide Council. Prior to then the club trained at Almond Tree Flat and played its matches at Birkalla Oval. Keith then became involved in the building of the club’s first clubrooms – a Nissan hut from the National Fitness Council and bricks obtained firstly, from an old condemned brick dwelling in Portland, and secondly, from a vacant shop/office on the corner of St Vincent and Nelson Streets, Port Adelaide. A draught horse from a local carrier was used to assist, but with some complications – instead of one shop being razed another two adjoining rooms also came down and bricks all over Nelson Street. They managed to clear everything up without police intervention.
Over the years Keith served on the management committee, social committee, grounds committee, etc. In 1957 he was recognised for his volunteer work being awarded the prestigious Best Club Member Trophy. He always led by example and was always hands-on for any task that had to be done.
In 1967 the Club recognised Keith’s outstanding contributions to the Club with a Life Membership – a richly deserved honour.
When he had finished playing he continued his involvement with the Club as a Team Manager – a highlight being Manager of the successful 1968 District Grade Premiership team. He continued to act as Manager in various grades in future years, and in particular with teams in which his two sons Trevor and Warren were players.
Keith and his beloved late wife Maureen were part of the ‘PADHC Balranald Avenue’ group with the club, with the Germein, McGrath and Beswick families all nearby neighbours. All of these families grew up together and were legendary for their involvement with the club over so many years.
Keith’s other passion was sailing. He also had an illustrious involvement with the Largs Bay Sailing Club where he was Commodore from 1971-1973, President 1976-1978 and Life Member 1980.
Keith was a true gentlemen in all senses of the word. He was respected and admired by all who knew him. He was a brilliant clubman, a player, a coach, an umpire, an administrator. The club will forever be indebted to his long and powerful contribution to the Club over so many years. He had a long productive life and was a remarkable father to Trev and Viv, Warren and Lynnear, Jan and Anthony, grandfather and great grandfather
Due to the current restrictions with COVID-19 a small private funeral was held but you can rest assured that when the time is ready we will be able to gather together and celebrate, reminisce, laugh and drink a toast (or three) to such a wonderful man.
Dennis Meredith AM
Port Adelaide District Hockey Club Inc.