A Brief History of PCYC Launceston
Click the link below to go directly to that section of history
Other PCYC’s in Tasmania
Tasmania Police’s role in our PCYC
Past Members of PCYC Launceston
PCYC’s Boxing History
PCYC’s Gymnastics History
PCYC Dance History
PCYC Trampoline History
PCYC Self Defence History
PCYC’s Weight Lifting History
PCYC Retired Citizens Group
PCYC Seniors Fitness
History of the Alexander Racquet Factory
How PCYC’s began in Australia
Life Members of PCYC Launceston
PCYC Launceston’s Beginnings…
- In 1946 Tasmania Police’s Constable H. F. Hollis visited New South Wales and saw the Woolloomooloo Police-Rotary Boys Club in Australia in action, in a disused police lockup. The club had opened in 1937, as an initiative of Police Commissioner William John Mackay, and was well established nine years later. In Hollis’s hometown of Launceston, a number of boys had fathers who had not returned from the battlefields of World War II. Constable Hollis was convinced that these boys would benefit from the mentored environment a Police Boys Club could provide and he hoped police personnel would assist to mentor the boys. Upon returning to Tasmania he set about convincing the Police Department that he was the person to set up the new club, and securing premises to run the recreational activities.
- On the 19th November 1946, a meeting of Police Officers in the Launceston Police District was called in the Barrack Room, at Launceston Police Headquarters for the purpose of forming a club to be known as the Northern Tasmania Police, Social and Welfare and Boys Club. A number of police officers present promised to commit their time to the instruction of the boy members who came along, and it was decided that, “when it was not in use any police officers desirous of using the club would be permitted to do so”.
- On 22nd November 1946 an official application was made to the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hill, for permission to form the club. The Police Officers saw the club as a great way to “improve their physical and social wellbeing and at the same time provide a means for a number of boys and other youth in the community to better their outlook on life.” Some prominent businesses had offered support, and a subscription fee would be charged to help fund costs. The objects of the club were defined as “To provide the boys and youths of the state, and in particular Launceston, the opportunity to take part in healthy recreation, to instruct them in the principles of good citizenship, and inculcate in them the need for the observance of the laws of the State, and last but by no means least, to encourage these young people to take an interest in the study of music, literature, art and culture.”
- The club obtained the use of a room in Charles Street on the top floor of Sharp and Simmonds butcher’s shop at a rental of 30/- per week. An official opening was completed by Hon. The Attorney General, Mr R F Fagan early in 1947, and the first annual general meeting of the newly formed association was held on the 26th August 1947 with Inspector R R McArthur as Club President. Source: 1955 Report to the Commissioner: A brief resume of the founding and activities of the Launceston Police Boys and Girls Club.
- Membership grew slowly at first, as police were looked upon as “bogeymen” but this was soon overcome. Young people came to see the police officers involved as support mentors, and membership grew. Constable Hollis enlisted the help of a Mr Green (possibly of Green’s hardware) to organise an Art Union raffle which provided a big financial boost to the club, and was also a good raiser of local awareness that the club existed. It seems that at some stage, the club outgrew this space, and once approval came through, found a building in Margaret Street, Launceston for the club to use.
- Around 1951, a summer camp for the boys was established at Pipers Head. Although the accommodation was “initially very crude, a party of 17 boys were taken under canvas at Pipers Heads and all who attended had an excellent time” according to a report to the Commissioner in 1955. The report said that most of the boys had probably never had a holiday to the seaside without the club’s support. It continues, “With these thoughts in mind the committee of the club decided to try and obtain an area of ground at Piper’s Heads for the express purpose of establishing a permanent camp where the boys could be taken during holiday periods. Accordingly a sub- committee consisting of Messrs J Huston, SC Stewart, C Willes and our Chairman Mr TA Canning visited The (sic) Pipers the area on which the camp now stands. The necessary application was made to the appropriate authorities and the land was rented by the club for a fee of £1 per year. From that time on the club grew very quickly and permanent buildings were commenced in 1953 and completed around 1955, by almost completely volunteer labour, and with a large quantity of materials being donated by various firms and individuals. Around 1953 application at that time was made for another 3 acres of land to be developed into a playing area the boys. Having had the experience of leased clubrooms in the city, the committee had the foresight to purchase this property for £750. An amount of “£600 was granted by the government which, once spent would provide a very nice set up where the boys can enjoy a number of amenities”.
- 1952: Initially Constable Hollis received good support from other police officers, but it was not an easy task to start, then maintain the Club’s momentum using Police Officers alone. Four years later, on 16/01/52, in his Annual Report to the Commissioner of Police, Hollis wrote of the difficulties he was experiencing due to the full load being born by Police alone. Interest in the Club had waned and a number of police officers had resigned from the board. For 4 meetings he had not had a quorum. Constable Hollis was despondent and suggested that the club may need to go into recess if the situation could not be rectified. He recommended that:
- a fulltime man be appointed to superintend the activities of the movement across the state
- that a full time man be appointed to oversee the Launceston Police Boys and Girls Club
- that the constitution be altered to allow any interested civilians onto the committee, to manage the club affairs under the chairmanship of a Police Officer
- the establishment of a building fund to purchase a building specifically for the club.
While he seems to have ample help with camps and activities, in his report Constable Hollis indicates how despondent he was about the diminishing enthusiasm of the police officers in regards to assuming Board roles. He was finding it hard to administer the club alone, to the point where he had lost the lease of the Margaret Street premises. However he notes that the club had between £1500 and £2000 in assets and equipment, and he also notes how heartening it was that the young people were still very keen to be involved. The youth had even taken it upon themselves to find new accommodation at the Invermay Youth Centre in Forster Street for 10/- a week. NB: A newspaper clippings later describes it as St Finn Barr’s Church in Forster Street.
- The Commissioner of Police was very supportive of the Police Club model, and the positive work that was occurring including the civilian volunteer support. Superintendent of Police, Mr T A Canning took up the reins as chairman of the club. Then, after battling for a considerable period, the club suddenly took on a new lease of life.
- There are old records, in PCYC Launceston’s scrapbooks, of Constable Hollis applying via requisition for a Typewriter for the Club. Resources must have been sparse.
- At some stage around or before 1955 the club’s name changed to Police Boys and Girls Club, Launceston as indicated in the 1955 Report to the Commissioner “A brief resume of the founding and activities of the Launceston Police Boys and Girls Club” written presumably by the Club President, who was a policeman at the time (TBA).
- An article in the Examiner, in 1954 celebrates the club receiving $ £1100 towards development of a PCYC camp at Piper’s Head. The above report provides details about the Pipers Head Camp saying: “ it is realised by the originators of this club, as well as those members who are now on the committee, that without the help they have received from the pubic generally the club would have ceased to function and without wishing to minimise that help it is felt that opportunity should be taken at this stage to say thank you to a few of those people who have given of their time and energy to the furtherance of the club’s ideals; that is the production of good honest boys and youths who will in later years , we hope, will be able to say “We were members of that club” . With these in mind a mention must be made of a woman who on more than once occasion has been referred to as the mother of our club “Mrs McIntee. Without her continual help and advice we would have been hard put to it at various times, and of course we must not forget her good husband (Mr McIntee) who has always been a willing helper with our work. The other whom we should not forget are Mr & Mrs Huston, tireless workers for any good cause, Mr & Mrs Welch who on the occasions of our Button Days and the running of our Art Unions, have been of enormous help. Mrs Grounds and Mrs Cunningham who on the occasion of our last camp shared with Mrs McIntee the duties of cooks and bottle washers, and really enjoyed doing it. There are of course other helpers far too numerous to mention to whom we must give a terrific amount of credit, and to them also we say to thank you. There are various public bodies such as the Penguins, Rotary, Inner Wheels, and Apex Clubs who have come to our assistance on a number of occasions and who we know would be only to willing to help us whenever necessary. Finally those people who have direct contact with the boys in our club are the instructors who without fear of contradiction have a very difficult job to perform. When it is realised that the club enrolment is now in excess of 100 boys once can well imagine the big task is to control them and as a consequence it has been found necessary to divide them into three groups, each group having its own night at the club, and taking it in turns to be taught such things as boxing, wrestling, springboard and horse work, and other general gymnastic work. Without the suitable instructors to teach them this work it would be of very little use being in existence, and that’s why we must be very thankful that we have had such men as Mr A Robinson, an ex-physical training instructor in the army, and that we have still got a man like Mr C Dabner with his junior assistants in the persons of Messrs L McIntee and J Smith and a number of the older boys who are being developed into instructors. We must say thank you to them all…”
- The person referred to above was Club Superintendent My Clarrie Dabner, and he had a young constable as 2IC who was Mr Ashley Brain. Graeme George recalls how nice both these police officers were when they were training the boys in boxing, but that the boys had an immense respect for both officers, calling even young Ashley “Mr Brain” rather than by his first name regardless that he was only a few years older than some of the boys.
- Boxing was a major draw card and we are told that many champions trained and represented the club at all levels including Wayne Devlin who won 8 back to back Australian Boxing Championships. See the History of PCYC Launceston BOXING through the recollections of participant and coach Graeme George below.
- 1st Class Constable Kevin Langdon (Badge 209) had previously been positioned at New Norfolk Police Station where he was posted with his wife Brenda and their children Randal, Tony and Judy. He wrote in 1985 that “In 1962, I went to the(PCYC) Club as Secretary with one aim of getting the Club (back) on a firm financial footing, and then getting out again. In 1962 the club was situated in Invermay Park in buildings which had been moved from Western Junction, where they had been used by the Air Force during the war. The equipment at the club had not been cared for and required replacing. A small group of helpers, dedicated to the purpose of getting the club back on a good financial footing, was got together and they worked. How they worked. In no time at all, they had new equipment throughout the club and money in the bank as well. Three of those workers are still with the club today, namely Mr LH Barnard, Mrs FR Milbourne and Mrs A (Hazel) Cameron. That should really read five, I forgot my wife and myself.” From Constable Langdon’s OIC Report, 2/4/1985. Constable Langdon
- At some stage (not really sure where this fits), Kevin Langdon was given a new car for the club by a Miss (or Mrs) Menzies while he was doing point duty at the Launceston Cup. The Commodore was owned by the club and updated every 2 years using the tax concessions available to make this a viable exercise.
- On Christmas Day 1967 the Police Club’s leased premises destroyed by Fire. Jim Smith remembers Kevin Langdon arriving at the club, in his brand new Holden. News articles say that vandals lit several fires in the building. The club was insured for a limited amount but lost all its equipment.
- New premises were sought with the club being temporarily situated in the Alfred Harrap Building, which today is part of the City Park Grand building, at 22 Tamar Street, or Cimitere Street (TBC). Constable Langdon wrote later that: “1967 saw the fires that destroyed everything we had. Even equipment that had arrived and we had not received accounts for was destroyed. I think it shows what the club is made of, because ten days after the fires, the club held its usual January camps even though all the camp stores had gone in the fire. The club existed for the next 12 months in an abandoned blood and bone store. In that blood and bone store, we produced our annual production of KidsKapers, we entered the Launceston Competitions and we were just as successful as other years, plus all the other activities that we normally carried out” 1/C Constable Kevin Langdon, Badge 209
- The Alexander Racquet Factory in Newstead was identified as a good site for the PCYC’s new home. There were a number of housing commissions houses in the area, and unemployed youth at the time. The Tasmanian Government Insurance Company paid out in full for cover of $12,000 on the building, and $3000 on the equipment from the burnt out site. Ongoing fundraisers were run. Mr Bob Thompson joined the PCYC Board after a 3 year stint marketing butter in Europe. He now worked as the Public Relations and Promotions Officer for TNT Channel 9 television station. He negotiated that PCYC would be the station’s charity for the following year, and also negotiated a car to be donated for an Art Union Raffle. The Mayor also held a fire appeal which raised $2000.
- In recognition of the good work PCYC was doing with young people, the Police Commissioner, Mr PW Fletcher, met with Launceston City Council 26/2/68 to gain approval for the rezoning of the building for use as a Youth Centre The Commissioner approached Premier, The Hon. EE Reece and Mr Oliver Gregory MLC to request the balance of funds for the purchase building. The asking price was $42,000 and the GV was $110,000 at liquidation but this was before the vandals had done extensive damage to the building. The Commissioner approved Kevin Langdon to begin negotiations Mr O’Connell who was acting for Layh, Hart , Room and Hyland, the liquidators.
- The repairs to the building were quoted by Government Architect Mr Underwood to cost $32,000 to $35,000.
- On the 13th August, 1968, the Tasmanian Government purchased the Alexander Racquet Factory on behalf of the Police Department and the club finally had its own premises under the management of Club Superintendent Kevin Langdon. It was thought that the cost of building purchase plus initial repairs eventually cost in the vicinity of $70,000 to $77,000.
- The Alexander Racquet Factory had been a bustling, successful and iconic business and brand in its glory days. More information about the history of the Alexander Racquet Factory prior to it becoming a PCYC, is available below.
- The building had been derelict for a number of years and was in very bad condition. Tenders were put out for a builder to “reconstruct” the Factory to be fit for use as a Youth Club. Volunteers also worked many hundreds of hours to renovate the club to a point it could be safely utilised. Debris had to be removed, windows replaced, floors replaced then sanded and polished. Photos illustrate the condition of the building at this time. Jim Smith visited the club recently and shared his memories. He was a boy at the club at this time. He remembers that they would get one room operational then start using it for afternoon activities, but during the activities and during the day volunteers would be working on the other rooms to restore them ready for use.
- Years later in his (1985) report to the department, Kevin Langdon recollected “The building was in a bad state of repair. Having been empty for about eleven years, vandals had left their mark both inside and outside the building. Having nowhere else to go, the club members cleaned out a section of the building, temporary lights were installed, one toilet was installed and activities commenced. Repairs were carried out around the activities.”
- In the 1968 President’s Annual Report, Mr CJ Irving said that “Since our last Annual Meeting our club has passed through the most trying period since it’s inception. In the disastrous fire at Forster Street we lost everything we had worked so hard to acquire over the years. Our Club Rooms, all our equipment – some £25,000 worth – 2000 pieces of costumes and all our office fittings and records. Through the generosity of Launceston City Council in making available Harraps old wool, store as temporary premises, we were enabled to carry on in a limited way with restricted activities.” And he went on to thank the Tasmanian Government for the purchase of the Alexander Racquet Factory. He wrote “These premises are in the course of reconstruction and it is envisaged that when completed, we will have the finest youth club in Australia. We anticipate in the very near future our club will be catering for 1000 girls and boys each week with many additional activities that will appeal to a wider section of youth. A feature of our club grounds will be the first Road Safety Instructional School for children in the State. This will occupy an area of approximately half an acre and is being donated by the Launceston Lions Club at an approximate Cost of £10,000”. NB: Kevin Langdon clarifies in his report 2/4/85 that the club’s temporary premises was in “an empty blood and bone store situated where the gardens are now in front of Launceston Police Headquarters.
He also writes of the fundraising they have undertaken including the operation of a refreshment booth and stand at the Launceston Agricultural Show, staffed by the PCYC Ladies Auxiliary. The booth was built with wood reclaimed from the Alexander Factory. The display featured a new train (track) layout and a number of new trains replacing those burnt in “our” fire. This was built by Mr Ron Stevens and his son and Secretary Superintendent (K Langdon).
This report also outlines that during the previous year they had “our first attempt at staging a full stage presentation (of KidsKapers) in the form of a variety show. This was held at the National Theatre and was acclaimed an outstanding success. Particular praise to our girls, for their excellent ballet numbers and their training by our Club Matron, Mrs K Langdon.” The children also staged displays of Trampoline and Gymnastics for the Northern Light Appeal that year and held the usual Christmas Party for the kids with the “Ladies Auxiliary providing novelties games and feast to delight any child.” “Despite the difficulties encountered in training our girls for the (Launceston) Competitions through the inadequacy of the temporary premises, from our twelve entries we gained four firsts, four seconds, four thirds – a most credible performance.” He also wrote of gymnastics classes restarting in the temporary premises on Saturday mornings, and the running of 3 Christmas camps for underprivileged children (2 x1 week camps for boys and 1 x1 week for girls). The annual report thanks the club community and volunteer supporters. Tenders were in the process of being called and would see the completion of reconstruction of the Wentworth Street site by early 1969. The incoming committee was to be faced with the problems of to raising sufficient funds to install the large range of modern equipment necessary to cater to the volume of children they anticipated would be using the facilities, to raise the funds necessary to carry on the club’s full range of activities, and to raise funds not previously required to cover additional building related costs. CJ Irving was confident the people of Launceston would support the club in this endeavour, because they were “appreciative of the work the club was doing for the youth of our community.”
- Kevin Langdon had lots of ideas for the club and developed a Weight Training Area, and a Dojo which was occupied by the Newstead Judo Club. Kevin commenced a Gymnastics Group, Basketball, Indoor Cricket, Indoor Bowls and a Seniors Group. Kevin’s wife Brenda Langdon also began to teach Gymnastics, Calisthenics Dance and other Dance Groups at the club.
- As the years went by the club modified rooms to accommodate the activities. Trampolines were built into the floor to accommodate this activity. Len Scambler and his Aikido participants built a new dojo downstairs in the Weights Room. A room was modified to allow the showing of movies onto a big screen, and a projector room was set up with comfortable seating for the person running the projector. Len’s son Paul Scambler would also become a Head Aikido Instructor and volunteer for the club, including the role of President of PCYC. Both Len Scambler and Paul Scambler became Life Members of the club.
- A number of people were now training either Olympic Lifting or Power Lifting in the Weight Gym.
- Two foam pits were installed for Gymnasts to practice bar, vault and tumbling skills. One was under an inbuilt trampoline which had to be winched up to use.
- Kevin Langdon’s Gymnastics Group became the best in Tasmania and they represented the club at a number of mainland competitions. All the best gymnasts also did dance and often did trampolining as well.
- A number of champions came out of the club including representatives at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. See the PCYC Activity’s Histories below.
- A Dance group soon took to the polished floorboards under Mrs Langdon’s instruction, and entered the Launceston Dance Competitions achieving great levels of success. Competition Judges often reflected on the prowess of the instructors and dancers.
- Most of PCYC’s activities were aimed at developing young people by teaching them recreation and leisure time activities, and incorporating leadership skills. Many of the participants went on to become Senior Instructors or Volunteers in their own right. It was a right of passage to give back to the club, what had been given to you.
- Alan Reaney and his son Terry, who would later become a police officer and PCYC Board Member, volunteered at the club taking the Air Rifle Shooting up in the area now known as the Dance/Youth Theatre Studio.
- Joe Soccol and his son Daniel taught Fencing.
- On Friday nights Mr Langdon and a group of volunteers put on “Friday Night Boys” which often saw 60 or more boys attend the club to use the Trampoline & Gymnastics Room for fun challenges and games.
- The Langdon’s also hosted an annual 3 week summer camp at Weymouth. The Langdon’s developed a tiered movie theatre in the area which is now the Dojo (Red Room) and would loan movies, we believe from the Library, to show at special Sunday sessions or at Friday Boys Night.
- Around 1975 Constable Langdon applied successfully for a Regional Employment Development grant. With this grant, the building was painted both inside and out and all necessary repairs were carried out. At the time, a number o Federal Ministers who visited the project, described it as the most successful scheme they had seen anywhere in Australia. In 1984 Constable Langdon again applied for a grant under the CEP. This was not initially supported but PCYC BOM member, Mr Lance Barnard, organised for an officer of the Commonwealth Employment Service to visit the club. His recommendation was to continue the club facelift and also do the car park. In his report he asked the Police Department for support to develop the toilets and showers, and drains which had issues. He goes on to brief the department that “where the club is situated was once considered to be one of the better class residential areas of Launceston. These days however, it is a working class area, and an area with the highest concentration of schools.” This was one reason for the club’s high attendance numbers. Also, “very close to the club, in fact and within viewing distance, are the housing division areas of Ravenswood, Waverley and Elphin Rise. These (areas) also bring large numbers to the club and with it the problems of unemployed youths.” He continues “I do not think that anybody would dispute that this club has been very successful over many years. Commencing in 1946, it was the first Police Boys Club in this State. The club very soon made a name for itself in boxing and has produced many State, Australian and Olympic Representatives. The introduction of girls into the club did create a number of problems that eventually got the club into financial difficulties.”
SOURCE: Report to the department on 2nd April 1985 by Officer-in-Charge, Kevin Langdon,
- Constable Langdon helped start the PCYC Retired Citizens Group, in 1978. Each week the group did indoor bowls, played cards and did crafts. There was also a Bingo game each week. The club had over 100 members in its hay day, and still over 50 members some 20 years later. President and PCYC Board Member Eileen Pitcher also sat on the PCYC Board.
- A picture of the club in those days is painted by Terry Seymour’s recollections below. Terry’s family including his father George, mother Laurie and his sister Linda volunteered for many years at the club and Terry recalls:
“I was involved along with the rest of the family in the many aspects of the Launceston Police and Citizens Boys and Girls Club, particularly after the move to Wentworth Street.
My dad and sister each had their classes, while mum did everything from canteen duty to sweeping the floors. Mum even spent an all-nighter prior to the doors being opened (at the PCYC in Wentworth St), going over each board in the gyms after the sanders had been through. Dad also assisted but needed to go to work the next
morning so he left mum there. While I was not actually a club member at the time, I remember cleaning the downstairs toilets prior to it being opened. Later I would assist with the recycling, collecting glass from the city cafes and hotels, then smashing it up into oil drams in readiness for taking to the railyards for Boyer.(NB: Back then glass recycling bought a good fundraising income).
As a family my father George, mother Lorraine (better known as Laurie) we used to spend the entire camp period at Weymouth, (arriving) before camp started (and staying) until after pack up time. To this day I still use the phrase ‘ just a bit more for Mrs Langdon”. This phrase was a favourite saying at the camp, for when children did not finish their meal. Brenda Langdon, Kevin’s wife was very much the camp mother and was adored by all.
Kevin Langdon was always a prankster and teased my Mum. I recall on one occasion, he arrested and handcuffed her then drove off with her to fetch the farm milk.
A big difference in the way the club operated in the 60’s and since the fire, was that the club was more of a social club (back then), providing support to the disadvantaged, to the extent that members were all even provided something to eat at the end of the night. After the fire the club became more sports oriented. The club back in the Forster Street days was sort of like (City Mission’s Drop in Centre) Morty’s place today.
Under the Langdons, the Club always participated in the Dancing section of the Launceston Competitions, with the Club dads and mums spending many hours making props and sewing on sequins. Mr Adam Sloan used to paint all the shoes, with May Sloan, and Mum doing a lot of work in the costume wardrobe. There was also loyal group of parents who assisted backstage including Hazel Cameron, May and Adam Sloan, and Alan Reaney.
KidsKapers was a show at the end of each year that showcased the work the Club Members had been doing that year. It was initially staged at the Club, and later at the Princess Theatre. It always included tumbling displays from the boys assisted by Alan Reaney, Terry Reaney and George Seymour. KidsKapers had broad community support and often featured guest acts like the magic act from Bonnie Ellis. It was regularly supported by local television presenters who were Masters of Ceremony. A number of Federal and State Members of Parliament directly involved with the club including Board Member Lance Barnard and Senator Justin O’Byrne, and Dr Frank Madill who also did the Master of Ceremony roll for a number of years.
Newstead residents including the next door neighbours, the Flemings and the Talbots also enthusiastically supported the club activities
Fundraising activities included stalls at the Launceston Show, The Antique Fair, the 7EX Christmas Childrens’ Fair where the club had a donut and fairy floss stall, bottle drives, and a Fair in the clubrooms. PCYC awareness activities included floats in the Christmas Parade including a winning float with Christina Jesewski in a Dolly Varden costume over the top of a Volkswagen. Floats were assembled at the old Police Garage behind police station in Wellington Street. I remember one year my sister, Linda Heese, fell asleep on the “The Night before Christmas” float, while on the other side of the float Jimmy Sloan was also sleeping, because both our rooms had been stripped of bedroom accessories for the float the following day.
The club also participated in other community events such as Symmons Plains Race Meetings where members would sell programmes at the gate and take the entry fees. I remember that Mum was bunked down in a caretaker’s caravan one year doing security duty after the event, while other members would help with the rubbish clean-up the following day. Other activities included the Westbury Maypole Festival where we would put on a Gymnastic Display while the PCYC Parents and Friends ran a donut stall on the Westbury Village Green. And displays at the Launceston Show.
Other people I recall were heavily involved in the club included the Munting Family including father Jack Munting who sang at KidsKapers. A cute and entertaining exhibition of dance and gymnastics was the Baby Elephant Walk by Jaclyn Munting. Other club stalwarts included the Delphins, The Smiths (Jimmy, Kerry and Anne), the Deas’ (Aillsa, Tommy and Fiona). Rob Jacobson from the weightlifting section also remembers a Clarrie Dabner was a great club volunteer.
The Langdon’s began the Tasmanian Gymnastics Association. (TAGA) peak body for Gymnastics in Tasmaina. At some stage my mum, Laurie, was invited to take on the position of Tasmanian Gymnastics Association registrar. The role took her to the Australian Games in Melbourne and a 3 city tour as scoring coordinator in recognition of her work in Tasmania by Frances Crampton and Peggy Browne.
Other PCYC Volunteers were Kevin Jack and Frank Litherland from Felco. Kevin Langdon was good at reaching out to the business community. Margaret Jack attained gymnastics success. I cannot remember if Elizabeth Jack was also a gymnast before moving onto diving. Joanne Litherland was involved in the Dancing Classes. The club also used ot have regular Sunday Afternoon feature films, and reached out to elderly people who did activities each week at the club. St Georges also came along during the day to do Gymnastics.
In the 1980’s Ray Graham was living upstairs in the attic above the kitchen. Ray was a gymnast and worked with unemployed youth. He would host a drop in centre once a week at the club, for the unemployed.
The 20th Anniversary Presentation and display night was held at the Little Theatre on Friday December 3, 1966 followed by KidsKapers at the National Theatre October 27, 1967. A month later another presentation night on 25th November 1967 was held at the National Theatre. KidsKapers was first held at the Princess Theatre, 27 November 1971.
Kevin and Brenda’s son, Randall Langdon was also a key volunteer at the club. Notable high achievers included Kelly Larter for Gymnastics, and Gino Fratangelo as well as Ron Laycock for Olympic Lifting”.
Terry Seymour Recollections 2016
- At some stage Lance Barnard became a member of the PCYC Board. Lance had been a teacher until he was elected in 1954 to the House of Representatives. In 1972 he became the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, and was seen as part of a two man ministry in partnership with Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, as part of a duumvirate. Once he joined the club’s board of management, he bought with him a tremendous capacity to PCYC as well as an understanding of the political environment. Lance remained a member and life member of PCYC until his death in 1997.
- In his 1985 report Constable Langdon wrote “ I think that since we moved into the Alexander Racquet Factory building, the club has seen its most successful years. The club has not only been an influence on the children of Launceston directly, but indirectly on the State as a whole. We formed the State Weightlifting Association, the State Trampoline Association, the State Gymnastics Association and the State Association of Police and Citizens Youth Clubs. He wrote that the club had been very successful at the Launceston Competitions, having won Champion Group for the previous 16 years. The club had also never been beaten at the State Gymnastics Championships and had produced Gymnastics representatives at State, Australian, Olympic and World Games levels. In 1985 PCYC had three athletes training at the Australian Institute of Sport.
- But despite these successes Constable Langdon and his wife never lost sight of the important part the club played in the lives of regular club members. He wrote “It is all very nice to write a report and talk of the successes that your members have had, but to me, that is not the important thing in a club such as this. The important thing is that we have had these successes, but they have not been at the expense of ordinary club members who just come along to enjoy themselves. Out attendance figures are high. At the present time the weekly attendance is in the vicinity of 1000, but this will increase to 1250 as the winter months set in. It is this high attendance rate that has casued problems at the club for a long time. I know certain classes are far too crowded and that it would perhaps be wiser to close those classes to further numbers, but I am reluctant to turn any child away. We might turn him away when he needs us most.” He went on to ponder that while attendance numbers are good for primary aged children, the number of teenage and to a lesser extent girls that had poor attendance. Teenage girls had dancing, but could not easily enter the class unless they had a previous foundation in dance. He indicates that the boys and girls all ask for ball games like basketball, volley ball, indoor hockey and so on, but the building could not accommodate these as the ceiling is too low and concrete structural beams cannot be removed. He says the unemployed youths in nearby housing estates all ask for ball games, but that local stadiums are all taken up with senior roster games and practice. He attached to his report a plan prepared by Mr David Crocket of Launceston City Council of how extensions could be made to the building on the current property, including additional car parking, with an assurance that a building permit would be issued. His vision had a multi-purpose hall what could be used for ballgames and gymnastics competitions including a spectator viewing area which doubled as a table tennis area. The plan included upgrades to the boys and girls toilets. He also proposed to build a 2nd floor over the (original) dojo and weight gym area to house eight ball tables, easy chairs and shift the canteen into that area. The office would overlook the new hall so that the Club Officer could continue working if games went late.
- PCYC has always attracted an amazing array of wonderful volunteers. The Brooks family including Trevor Brooks and daughter Tracie Brooks were also very active volunteers in the club. Jan Jones bought her son Michael along and soon after she began to volunteer in the Canteen alongside other volunteers. Her daughter Christine Jones started Calisthenics then Gymnastics around the same time. After Brenda Langdon retired Jan became PCYC’s Head Gymnastics Judge helping to organise the area alongside Head Coaches Kellie Larter, and then Liz (Richards) Lynch. Whenever possible Margaret (Jack) Clark returned to coach. Christine Jones went on to coach at the club until 2000 when she moved to New Zealand to coach gymnastics. NB: Liz Lynch has been coaching Gymnastics at PCYC since the early 1990’s, taking a short break to have children, and is still coaching in 2016. In 2016 Christine (Jones) Reed is now the Head of Judges and Coaches Education for the New Zealand Gymnastics peak body.
- Hazel Cameron was also a club stalwart who played a big part in the life of the club alongside others like Lance Barnard. Hazel was the mother of Kristine Cameron who attended the club to do dancing with Mrs Langdon. At the club she met Alan Pearn who was doing Weight Lifting who she would later marry. Kristine Pearn along with Michelle Heron took over instructing and coordinating the Dance school when the Langdon’s retired. Kristine along with her husband Alan Pearn were a driving force at the club that ensured Kids Kapers continued on for many years to come. There are many photos are recollections on the Past Members of PCYC Launceston Facebook site.
- Around 1986/87 the Newstead Judo Club, under Ray Chell and the Newstead Jujitsu Karate Club under Alan Muir moved from Fred Suitor’s place on Punchbowl Road to the PCYC Launceston Dojo, sharing the space with Len and Paul Scambler’s Aikido Club. All of these instructors volunteered their time to teach martial arts and mentor young people at PCYC Launceston, each building a successful club in their own rights. Self Defence history below.
- At some stage the club changed its name to the Police and Citizen’s Youth Club Launceston Inc. (DATE TBC)
- During the early 1990’s Max O’Toole’s daughter Anna was training in Gymnastics. Max began going to the Weight Gym while Anna trained and eventually became a Power Lifting Volunteer Coach at PCYC. His wife Christine O’Toole joined Jan Jones signing people into classes and manning the canteen. In the years that followed Max would also develop and build a Seniors Fitness program including functional Weight Training, Fitness development and other fun activities to keep them engaged and keep them in their homes longer. In 2016 Max and Christine are still at the club taking Seniors Fitness with over 80 people aged 55 to 95yo. Three nights a week Max also coaches Power Lifting (Power Lifting History below) and keeps an eye on the gym.
- Constable Kevin Langdon retired from the police force and PCYC Launceston in 1988. His wife, and club matriarch, Brenda Langdon retired a few years later. The Langdon’s had been a huge part of making PCYC Launceston what it is today. And their participants considered them more than just instructors. They were family. Many people remember and comment that these days at PCYC were the best of their lives and the Langdon’s were their second parents such was their mentoring and support of these young people.
- After Constable Kevin Langdon’s retirement, the Club Superintendent’s role was filled by Senior Constable Tony Grundgeiger. They were big shoes to fill. But, Tony had a fun sense of humour and a passion for working with young, disadvantaged people which made his appointment to the position a good fit. Tony continued the activities that had already been established at the club, and began an After School Care service from lower- socio economic areas. Wonderful club volunteers like Nick D’Ambrosio and Kevin Kemp along with the Club Officer and Assistant Superintendent would drive the bus to collect the children from a different area of Launceston each day including Rocherlea, Mayfield, Waverly, and other areas. They would then bring them back to the club so that they could do a variety of activities during After School Care Hours before returning them to their homes.
- The club also did a Year for a number of years with each activity getting a page to record their achievements for the year.
• For many children the lack of transport to facilities would have excluded their participation in these activities if the bus service had not been made possible by these volunteers. Over the years the Outside School Hours Care service evolved, and government funding precluded ad-hoc booking into After School Care. The service became a professional After School and Vacation Care Centre until 2014 when overheads caused the service to close. Around 1990– 1991 Tony Grundgeiger was supported by Constable Gavin Smith, and civilian public servants who filled the roles of Assistant Superintendent, overseeing club administration and coaching gymnastics. Initially Mrs Langdon’s role was filled by Kellie Larter, one of the Langdon’s most successful gymnasts, having competed in the Olympics. When Kellie resigned the role was filled by Helen Sokkol in 1990, then Kath Fulton (later Hawkins) (1991 to 1994) took up the role, working alongside Tony Grundgeiger, and the next Club Superintendent John Cramp. The Assistant Superintendent role was paid by Tasmania Police, and involved helping to run and improve the club operations, finances and administration as well as coaching activities. More information under gymnastics. The Club bought in Term Fees to encourage regular attendance and fee payments. Major fundraisers were also organised to raise funds to buy a full sprung floor.
- Constable John Cramp had been associated with the club as a PCYC Board Member since around 1981 when Police Superintendent Geoff Ling was in the role of President, and Kevin Langdon as Club Superintendent. Later he became senior vice president with Terry Brooks and soon after Tony Gruindgeiger became Club Superintendnet with Eve Thorpe as President.
“For all of the neighbourhood kids the Racquet Factory as our playground. We rode our bikes around the site, played tennis on the clay court which used to be where the top car park is now. We grew up there. I had very fond memories of the club and was happy be on the Board as a police officer and community member when the site became a Police and Citizens Youth Club.” Over the years John had been involved in many working bees at the club in his own time, and was responsible for removing the tiered seating from the Movie Room, which was rarely used, before the Lions Club lined the room for the PCYC Retired Citizen’s Club.
- In 1992, Tony Grundgeiger returned to Police Duties and Constable John Cramp began his tenure as Club Superintendent.
He became involved with the club because of his fond memories of his time growing up two doors away from the Alexander Racquet Factory. During John Cramp’s tenure at the club he moved the club from a paper-sign in system to a Membership Database, and he and Lance Barnard secured Federal Government funding for the basketball stadium, a canteen and offices seeing this project to completion. John flew to Melbourne at his own expense to check our various venues. He finally settled on Rectosport who designed and built multi-sport venues as the court /building designer.
- The original plans were for 2 basketball courts, as John was very aware that one court would be less viable, but the plans would only be approved for one court. John Cramp had been a Councillor on Launceston City Council. He had a wonderful network of contacts who could help make things happen at the club. He also had a number of lads who helped him like Mathew Cornelius and Phillip Brown.
- All in all John Cramp was involved with the club for around 15 years.
- Because the Alexander Racquet Factory was Heritage listed the building was not allowed to be placed up against the heritage building, so there is a 1 metre buffer between the buildings except where they adjoin in two areas. This extension was completed and opened by Silvia Smith MHR and Frank Madill, (now) Minister for Police & Emergency Services on 15th August, 1995. There is still talk of the world’s biggest water fight which occurred after the official opening of the club with the foyer completely soaked by the firehose in the spirit of “no-where to run, no-where to hide” old fashioned fun! Of course it was John and the volunteers that had to clean up their mess. So no harm. No foul was called. John is remembered fondly by the Pearns and other clubbies of the time. The stadium allowed the club to expand their activities, although a change of direction by the club saw Netball become more prevalent than Basketball.The windows at the club were thin, and brittle and would often be broken. John had a Community Service Order glazier who would fix the windows each weekend when they were broken. But later he and Lance Barnard managed to secure funding from a government fund designed to protect the inside of government building assets, and every one of the old windows was replaced with new aluminium frames and safety glass. He also removed the concrete stairs (that went nowhere) in the weight gym.
- Ms. Fulton was granted two years leave by the Board without pay to grow her expertise in Western Australia, and the Assistant Superintendent role became a pure administration (no coaching) role. Simon Pagel took up the position, and was a computer whizz, taking administration at the club to new heights. Ms Fulton returned to Hobart PCYC two years later.
- At some stage, Constable Peter Goldstone-James became John’s 2IC. And the club became a two officer station. In August 1998 Constable John Cramp was transferred from the club, and Constable Peter Goldstone-James began his tenure as Club Superintendent.
- In 1999 Peter introduced a Rock Concert on the 4th Friday of every month, which saw new and increased participation by local youth. Music was provided by high school and college bands, and attended by their peers. During these years, mounting operational overheads saw the club experience a very tight fiscal operating environment. At this time the Retired Citizens Club closed, and a number of activities gave their fundraising money to support club operations.
- Constable Goldstone- James worked with 2IC Constable Burton. When Peter Goldstone-James later left the club he was replaced by Club Officer, Constable Phil Smith and 2IC Senior Constable Scott McKinnell, as well and a Police 2IC prior to that Constable Dale Cook, better known as “Cookie”.
- Other officers like Donna Stafford also worked at the club, Alistair Bye and Luke Moore, Pat Quarrel did relief over the years, as well as Sonja, Penny, Sandy, Frank, Mat and Phil Dean.
- At some stage the title of Club Superintendent was changed to Officer-In-Charge.
- In 2007 Tania Visser did a month’s volunteer work then was offered a part-time position under a Disability Placement Program. Tania’s father was a police officer so she had a good understanding of the police club’s work. When the Disability Program finished, Tania stayed on at the club and oversees the Seniors Program entry fees and other administrative roles.
• Senior Constable Peter Riggall became the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of PCYC Launceston during 2009 and 2010. Peter’s 2IC’s were Constable Marcus Williams, and then Senior Constable Michael Mitchell. During this time Inspector Stephen Hortle was the Police Commissioner’s Representative on the Board Of Management from 2009 until his retirement in 2012. During Constable Riggall’s tenure at PCYC the club’s financial position was restored and he is remembered as a well-loved Club Officer who got along well with everyone. Highlights during his secondment to the club included the bathroom, shower and disabled toilet renovation downstairs which allowed people with disabilities to attend the club. The Outside School Hours Care area kitchen which was also used for birthday parties, was updated at this time. He also found the old “Alexander” building sign and restored it then returned it to the front of the building.
- Around this time Inspector Michael Johnston, also performed the role of Commissioner’s Representative on the Board.
- In 2013 Senior Constable Rigall retired from policing and his position was filled by Senior Constable Ross McIvor with Inspector Darren Hopkins in the role of Commissioner’s Representative on the PCYC Board from 12/03/2012 to 23/11/15. From 24/11/15 Inspector Mark Wright took up the position of Commissioner’s Representative under Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling both representing Commissioner Darren Hine.
- Senior Constable Ross McIvor was the Club’s Officer in Charge from 2011 until 2014, when Tasmania Police reviewed the structure of clubs. During this time the Indoor Climbing Wall was funded by Tasmanian Community Fund and installed. In 2013 Carolyn Bean joined him as the Club’s Business Manager and worked hard to get the club back on track. During the period that followed it became obvious that a number of activities had become seriously unviable, and it was necessary to close some. Some became external hirers rather that club administered activities, and others decided to finish up, or could not transition within the timeframes including Aikido and Judo.
- In 2013 the Police Department experienced state-wide budget cutbacks, which meant they needed to review the level/kind of support they were providing PCYC’s around the state. Under the agreement TasPolice would provide a partial subsidy for the club to employ a Club Manager to manage the logistics and operations of running a Recreation Centre, instead of providing a 2IC Police Officer or public servant administration position. The club had been making a loss since 2011. The Club Manager would now manage the financial affairs for the club. The OIC would be freed up from the day to day operations tasks and instead would work only with Youth at Risk within the club and wider community. The club had lost one subsidised management role, due to the OIC role moving to pure Youth at Risk, and no longer had a paid public servant so again finances became even tighter with the club posting a large loss that year.
- Officer-In-Charge Ross McIvor’s role was renamed Club Officer, and the new management structure freed the Club Officer up, to focus completely on Youth at Risk Programs. In May 2013 ABS Stats (for 2011-12) were released that said Tasmania had the highest rate of Youth Offending in the nation. OIC Ross McIvor met Kath (Fulton) Hawkins who had convened a Working Group on the issue as part of her role as a Federal Department of Education Partnership Broker, when she convened a working party of 16 government and NGO agencies which aimed to identify the issues and stumbling blocks for reengaging young people with education, training, volunteering or work. Agencies involved in the partnership included Community Youth Justice, Department of Education (Learning Services North), TasTAFE, Centrelink, Department of Health – Child Protection, Department of Police – Early Intervention Unit (represented via PCYC), Ashley School (at Ashley Detention Centre), Launceston City Council Youth Development, as well as NGO’s like NJL Youth Connections, City Mission and WhiteLion. Discussions identified predictable and difficult issues like drugs, alcohol, homelessness, poverty, poor role models, school not a good fit and other issues affecting young people’s reengagement with community and education. A key issue was that agencies were not able to step outside their mandated area to help reconnect young people with education and community was identified as a major stumbling block. Typically, young people might disengage from school in year 8 or 9. But if they decide they want to return to school and get back on track at a later stage, there is no one to catch them up. And TasTAFE were now required to have literacy and numeracy minimum course entry requirements. It was unanimously agreed that if we can reengage young people with education, training, volunteering or work that globally this has seen the best reduction of repeat offending (recidivism). So PCYC Launceston, in conjunction with the other agencies began a covert school for kids wanting to get their lives back on track. TasTAFE allocated a teacher to the Pathfinder Project, a Youth Worker was sponsored by Riverlinks Church, and PCYC provided the classroom, and recreational intervention activities. Recreational intervention not only taught young people positive things to do with their leisure time, the Club Officer worked with them to face frustration, control anger and build resilience. Pathfinder received $25,000 from WD Booth Philanthropic to begin their program and support from “Your IT”. The model is a low cost approach which leverages strategic partnerships and use of joint resources to create a good outcome.
- In November 2014, Kath (Fulton) Hawkins returned to the club as the Club Manager. The club had made a loss the previous few years, and reserves running out. Changes were necessary to return the club to vibrancy and restore income streams. The Weight Gym had potential to bring in good income to the club, but around quarter of the space was used up by the Dojo. The Dojo had high walls that meant there was no natural light into the gym, nor ventilation. Martial arts class numbers had dropped over the years, and the area had low usage. The Weight Gym was now very old and tired looking. The CM visited an number of PCYC’s while attending the National PCYC Conference in Queensland and also in St Kilda to look at potential social enterprise models for PCYC’s. Then during mid 2015 the a group of volunteers, including the Seniors Group with Len Scambler overseeing the operation, helped move the Dojo upstairs to the old “Red” Room.The wooden Dojo walls which had been constructed by Len and his volunteers years before were removed allowing natural light and ventilation into the Weight Gym as well as doubling the size of the gym and allowing a designated cardio, boxing and fitness area. The plan had the blessing of Len Scambler who built the original Dojo, and was accommodated by Alan Muir the Karate Instructor, as they both understood the need to get the club pumping again. Dulux Paints and Michael Sandler Painters donated the paint and a days’ labour. Club Volunteer and Graphic Design Artist Andy Bading designed the colour scheme and graphic of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the wall. Community Service Order crews worked alongside volunteers to complete the painting of the Weight Gym and all the equipment was painted metallic silver giving the Gym a new lease of life.
- Club Officer, Ross McIvor had a strong background of working with young people at risk, having worked with Project Hahn, and understood the place of recreational intervention when working with these young people. The Club Officer (CO) began a 90 minute Fitness Class called Operation Resilience became popular with youth attendees, with around 24 attendees attending twice weekly and a number of youth workers mentoring their clients during the sessions.
- In addition to Pathfinder, CO McIvor had seen a Program while attending the National PCYC Conference in 2014 called Project Booyah. He worked with TAPCYC CEO Darren Clark to secure funding for this program which will begin at PCYC Launceston and two other regions in Tasmania from 2016. More below.
- On 24th September 2015 a test of dust on some rafters was actioned because an Asbestos roof had been removed from the Club in 1986. It was not expected that the dust had stayed in place for over 30 years, but surprisingly the dust tested positive for Asbestos and the club had to be closed pending further tests. Subsequent tests indicated that Asbestos closure found the air quality to be within safe levels, with the dust clagged onto the rafters. But the club had to remain closed until 18th November when the Weight Gym could finally reopen. The upstairs area of the club reopened 9½ weeks later (almost a full term) on the 29th November, 2 weeks before Term 4 programs finished for the year. Over $16,000 had been lost in trade income along with 89 Weight Gym members valued at around $42,720 per year in Weight Gym Session Fee. This would make it very hard to get the club back on track. But reviews of programs, implementation of a Marketing Plan and support from volunteers and businesses saw participation numbers rise. Boxing with Graeme George was reintroduced to PCYC Launceston.
- During 2015/16 the club also successfully applied for a combined total of around $36,000 of Weight Gym equipment via the Federal Government Funding programs for community organisations.
- During 2015 CO McIvor also successfully applied to develop and remodel, within Heritage approved guidelines, the PCYC Youth Operations Centre. In recognition of the need for this proactive approach to intervention the Federal Government approved these funds (see Sponsorship for details). The official opening of the YOC is on Friday 26th August 2016 by the Hon. Rene Hidding, MP.
- In 2016, the Tasmanian Association of PCYC’s had a strongly strategic CEO, Darren Clark, who assisted PCYC Launceston to regain our feet after the 16 week Asbestos Closure. He negotiated the funding and launch of a program called Project Booyah which would operate out of PCYC. http://projectbooyah.com.au/ The website defines the program as: “’Project Booyah’, which translates to an expression for ‘joy, excitement or triumph’, is a police run leadership and mentor program that utilizes adventure based learning, decision making/problem solving exercises, resilience training, policing strategies and family inclusive principles to help young people aged 15-16 years make better life choices!” CO Ross McIvor is assisting with the statewide rollout of the tri-regional project.
- In 2016 the Police & Citizens’ Youth Club Launceston will look at changing our trading name to Launceston Police & Community Youth Club in line with the other clubs in the state. A new Constitution will also be put forward for approval at the AGM which will essentially shift the Officer in Charge of the club’s management responsibilities onto the Manager of the club (or their delegate during periods of leave).
- In July 2016 Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame assumed the portfolio for PCYC’s as Commissioner Darren Hine’s representative on the Tasmanian Association of PCYC’s (peak body’s) Committee of Management. The Derwent Valley PCYC opened there doors in New Nolfolk the following month and began the process of formal affiliation.
- On 01/08/2016 Inspector Gary Williams became the Commissioners Representative on the PCYC Launceston Board, taking over from Inspector Wright.
- This website was developed by the Club Manager, Kath Hawkins in 2016, with the assistance of web-designer and Casey Stevens who donated much of her time.
- On 8th October, 2016 Launceston PCYC celebrated 70 years as the second oldest, and very successful Police and Community Youth Club in Australia by holding an Amazing Chase Charity Open Day, which also supported GiveMe5forKids hospital charity. People attending received a passport and then completed activity challenges to receive stamps in their passport and go in the draw for prizes. Activities showcased on the day were: Gymnastics, KinderGym, Trampoline, Tumbling, FreeG (indoor parkour-style training), Dance (Jazz & Hip Hop), KinderDance, Rebound, Taiko Drumming, Karate, Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defense), Boxing, Sporting Edge Fitness Training and Testing (with support by UTAS Exercise Science/Phys), Indoor Rockwall, Weight Gym, Power Lifting, Fitness and Olympic Lifting. The only regular club activities which were not represented on the day were Yoga, and Youth Theatre (external hire). This website was developed in 2016 as part of the Club’s 70th year celebrations.
- Between 2013 to 2016 the Tasmanian State Association of PCYC’s was based for part of each week at Launceston PCYC as part of ensuring the position had a statewide role. During this time the club benefited from the leadership of TAPCYC CEO, Darren Clark, and his assistant Lara Von Stieglitz who supported the Club Manager to implement updated and new policies and procedures, manage the information around the asbestos cleaning closure, auspiced grants and funding under their Tax-Deductible-Gift-Recipient status, and assisted the club in other areas of review. Both Darren and Lara were a great support to the Club Manager, Kath Hawkins, and it is important their contribution is recognised. Darren Clark was replaced in 2016 by Mark Nash, then Trish Goodfield in 2017 upon his resignation.
- At the end of September 2016 Club Officer, Ross McIvor was seconded to the Tasmanian State Association of PCYC’s, our Peak Body (est 1973), to oversee the rollout of Project Booyah (see Our Youth Ops) in 3 regions with funding from the Attorney General’s Office (Vanessa Goodwin). In February 2017, after a lengthy process the club welcomed two new Club Officers. Constable Skye Thompson (3 days per week) and Constable David Simpson (3 days per week). Constable Simpson’s role would be predominantly around Project Booyah, and Constable Thompson would aim to extend our work with young girls at risk.
- In March 2017 the club held its 2015/16 AGM where it the club adopted a the new name, dropping the word “Citizen” in favour of the word “Community”. Our club will now be known as “Launceston Police and Community Youth Club Inc” (Launceston PCYC) in keeping with other clubs around Australia. The club also adopted a new Financial Year, from 01 January until 31 December, to better reflect the operational needs of the business and in line with other PCYC’s moving to this model. A new Constitution reflected these changes and the change from an Officer in Charge managing the club, to a Club Manager managing club operations.
- ADD NEW HISTORY ABOVE HERE!!!
Perhaps if Constable Hollis, the Langdon Family, and the officers and staff who came after them along with their invaluable troupe of volunteers had not been so dedicated, PCYC’s would never have evolved then grown around Australia. And if the Commissioner of the day, and the Police Commissioner’s who followed, had not recognised the potential for the clubs for early intervention and diversion approaches using recreational as a conduit to help young people grow and develop in positive directions the PCYC’s may not have been as strong as they are today. All of these visionaries and volunteers have certainly left a massive legacy for the people of Tasmania, along the way having a big impact on many young people’s lives. It is now incumbent upon us to continue their work in the same selfless manner of those who went before us, to support the young people in our community towards bright futures. PCYC’s are a partnership between police and the members of our community. One agency cannot undertake this task alone. As we have known for many years; it takes a village to raise a child.
This history has been compiled by the Club Manager, Kath Hawkins, by seeking the recollections of past club members and researching historical documents. If you have any contrary or additional information please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Police Reports to the Commissioner and District Inspector in 1952, 1953 and Club Superintendent Kevin Langdon’s (Year TBC)
- A half page summary of PCYC’s Launceston’s history found in the filing cabinet. No Author listed, but information is consistent with other anecdotal information.
- Terry Seymour (Club) recollections
- Kristine and Alan Pearn’s (Dance, PowerLifting and Club) recollections
- Mr Peter Riggall’s recollections
- Mr Tony Grundgeiger’s recollections.
- Ex Club Superintendent, John Cramp’s recollections
- Paul & Len Scambler’s (Aikido and Club) recollections
- Ex Club Superintendent, Peter Riggall’s recollections
- Tasmania Police records of staff placements (some)
- Kath (Fulton) Hawkins recollections (1970’s, 1990’s, 2014-16)
- Liz (Richards) Lynch Gymnastics recollections (1970’s to 2016)
- Christine (Jones) Reed and Jan Jones recollections
- Pip Hedley’s Trampoline recollections (1970’s to 2016)
- Steve Nas – Powerlifting Recollections
- Max O’Toole – PowerLifting and Seniors Fitness recollections
- Leigh Oswin – awaiting trampoline recollections
- Tracie Brooks & Family recollections – awaiting
- We would love to speak to Mrs Langdon, Randall Langdon and anyone else who can help us develop this history further.
Other Special Club Events
PCYC Volunteers supported the club by doing a number of roles. Some taught activities as instructors. Some helped by driving the bus, like the wonderful Nick D’Ambrosio and Kevin Kemp who drove for the Out of School Hours Care kids, and helped with Friday’s Boys Night.
KIDS KAPERS: Each year PCYC would have whole of club activities. Kids Kapers was a big event which was held initially at the club, but when the number of participants got too big, the event was moved to the Princess Theatre. Almost every activity would participate in KidsKapers including Gymnastics, Trampolining, Karate, Aikido, Dance and one year the Weight Lifters even did a dance number. Activities would practice for months on the lead up to KidsKapers, then Volunteers would load masses of the club’s equipment into cars, trucks and utilities to transport it to the Theatre, including full sized trampolines, mini tramps and mats.
7EX CHILDRENS’ FAIR: was held at the Albert Hall each year with a large number of volunteers manning the Donut and Fairy Floss stall to raise funds for the club, and provide a great night out for children with special needs.
SYMMONS PLAINS: PCYC ran the gate at Symmons Plains Car Racing Meets for many years with volunteers from a number of activities helping the Club Officer out with this major fundraiser. After the car meet the volunteers would return on the Sunday to collect all the rubbish on the ground. We were paid a set fee for doing this role.
OTHER FUNDRAISERS: The club also did various one-off fundraisers to help raise funds. A PCYC Market Day was held one year with craft stalls and boot-sale tables available to rent. A High School Bands Night saw heaps of new teens attending the club. The club also held movie nights from time to time to raise funds for specific purposes.
ACTIVITY FUNDRAISERS: Activities usually had regular fundraisers to earn the funds needed for equipment upgrades and replacements or to sponsor teams and individuals to go away to competitions and courses. Gymnastics ran Fashion Parades and “Have a Go” competitions which was participants compete at the level they were working towards (ie the one above the one they had achieved). Bottle drives and delivery of phone books were also popular fundraisers.
OPEN DAY: From time to time the club would have general open days to encourage the public to see what the club has to offer. They also held Open Days for special events. In 2006 the club held an open day to celebrate 60years as the 2nd oldest PCYC in Australia. In 2013 an Open Day celebrated the opening of the new Rockwall, funded by the Community Support Levy and Tasmanian Community Fund. And in 2016 the club held an Amazing Chase Open Day complete with passports to gain stamps after completing activity challenges.
- Past Club Members – Kristine and Alan Pearn, Terry Seymour, Graeme George and more.
Other PCYC’s in Tasmania
- Based on the good outcomes at the Launceston Club, PCYCs were opened in Deloraine in 1947 and in Hobart in 1953.
- PCYC clubs have since been in operation in many towns around the state and in the early 1980s the Tasmanian Association of Police and Community Youth Clubs Inc. was incorporated as the peak-body for PCYCs in Tasmania.
- At one point, there were 21 PCYCs offering low-cost sporting and recreational opportunities to their local communities. From 1997 until 2002 PCYC Launceston operated a satellite club at Hadspen. There was also a PCYC in Lilydale for a time.
- In 2016 there are ten affiliated PCYCs currently operating in Tasmania Launceston, Hobart, Bridgewater, Clarence, Burnie, Queenstown, Longford, East Coast, Huonville and the Police Academy at Rokeby. The Derwent Valley PCYC at New Norfolk is currently undergoing the process of affiliation with ex-CEO of TAPCYC is President of the Steering Committee.
- The mission of PCYC in Tasmania is now to support the provision of low-cost, positive, sporting, recreational, social and cultural programs in a safe environment, primarily for ‘at-risk’ and disadvantaged children and youth.
- For the History of the Development of other PCYC’s in Tasmania see the Tasmanian Association of PCYC’s site at: www.pcyctas.org and at http://www.hobartpcyc.org.au/ClubHistory.html
Tasmania Police’s role in our PCYC
Since 1946 Tasmania Police have recognised that PCYC’s are well positioned to be able to play a strong role in the area of proactive early intervention, by getting young people into new, and more positive life trajectories.
Tasmanian Police still supports PCYC’s. At Launceston PCYC they provide a Club Officer for Youth at Risk Programs, a subsidy towards the employment of a Club Manager, the provision of a building/venue and associated costs, as well as subsiding power, telephone, building maintenance and contributing towards some insurances.
Past Members of PCYC Launceston
More Photos and more information can be found at the Past Members of PCYC Launceston Facebook Group. It’s also a great place to connect with people who used to attend PCYC with you!
PCYC’s Boxing History
Graeme George, who would eventually go on to become a world class coach in his own right, trained from the age of 12 years at PCYC Launceston in Forster St, Invermay. He trained there for 8 years. The following are his recollections:
- The main boxing coaches were Coach Alf Dickenson, John Monteith (Police Constable and Coach), and Club Superintendent, Clarrie Dabner also volunteered along with his 2IC Constable Ashley Brain.
- Graeme recalls how nice both these police officers were when they were training the boys in boxing. He also remembers that the boys also had an immense respect for both officers, calling even young Ashley “Mr Brain” rather than by his first name, regardless that he was only a few years older than some of the boys.
- Kevin Langdon took over from Clarrie Dabner as Club Superintendent.
- Successful boxers from the PCYC Boxing Club were:
- Wayne Devlin – 8 times Australian Champion, and a 2 time Olympian
- Murray Mansell – Australian middleweight champion
- Marsello Gugliotti – Australian champion
- John Terry – Australian champion
- Darryl Jones – Australian champion
- John Jones – Australian champion
- Peter Dalton – Australian champion
- Wayne Coombes – Australian champion
- Craig Coombes – Australian champion
- Hans Wagner – Australian champion
- David Rosevears – Australian champion
- Graeme George who learned to Box at PCYC Launceston, went on to become a highly qualified instructor, and he then went on to become the Tasmanian boxing coach for 7 years. He has coached at a national level, and been part of various coaching courses and clinics at the Australian Institute of Sport. In 2002 Graeme was one of five finalists for Australian Coach of the year, this involved coaches at all levels in all sports. Graeme has a Diploma in Coaching Elite Athletes, a Diploma in Remedial Massage
- Graeme is best known for his part in coaching Daniel Geale to 3 World Titles, representing Australia multiple times, and coaching him towards a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2002. Graeme has also coached many other champions including currently the Seybourne Boys (Jack and Bailey)
- Daniel Geale began boxing at PCYC Lilydale, and his professional record now stands at Wins: 31(16) Losses: 4(2)
Graeme recalls that the club back then “Smaller but it offered so much for the young people of Launceston, for many of them it really changed the direction of their lives. It gave them discipline, and provided a safe place for young people to participate in activities like boxing and gymnastics. It kept them off the streets.”
Wayne Devlin (b. 17 July 1944)
Trained at PCYC Launceston (at Invermay), Wayne Devlin’s achievements in the boxing ring put him in the category as one of the best ever in Australian amateur boxing. He was an outstanding amateur boxer who won eight consecutive Australian Championships from 1970-1977, three as a welterweight and five as a light middleweight. This extraordinary record will take some beating. It is even entered in the Guinness Book of Records.
Wayne won the prestigious Arthur Tunstall Trophy for the best boxer to compete at the Australian championships on four occasions 1972, 74, 75 and 1976. He was a member of the Australian team for boxing in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games placing 9th out of 37, and the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games placing 17 out of 28 competitors.
Wayne was also selected to represent Australia in boxing in the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974 (he did not compete at these games due to illness) and Edmonton in 1978. The same year saw him competing at the World Championships held in Belgrade.
PCYC’s Gymnastics History
Constable Langdon wrote in his 1985 report that “In the case of gymnastics, my wife and I saw it being done at a club in NSW and we actually introduced the sport to the state”. A limited version of gymnastics was being done at Invermay including Springboard and Horse work. Once PCYC Launceston moved to the Alexander Racquet Factory in Wentworth Street we suspect the Langdon’s saw the floor space and knew that a fuller version of Gymnastics would be a perfect fit.
Details are fuzzy as to how the Langdon’s gained the “know-how” to teach this biomechanically technical sport of gymnastics but Margaret (Jack) Clark recalls that “Mr & Mrs Langdon gained their knowlege on the job if memory serves me correctly, this included learning from books and magazines. They also have the help of Ludmilla Chudackova, a PE teacher. Donna Powell from South Australia also coached for a short time with the Langsons. I also remember travelling interstate on several occasions with the Langdons.”
Mr and Mrs Langdon both taught gymnastics with Girls doing Floor, Beam, Vault and Bars each week, and boys doing rings, p-bars, floor, pommel, vault, horizontal bar Girls attended on different days to boys. Mrs Langdon encouraged all the gymnasts to do dance and trampolining to help them develop in the sport. Mrs Fair also helped coach gymnastics, and the mother of gymnast Wendy Wright helped coach for a short time. Laurie Seymour and Jan Jones undertook the administration of gymnastics at PCYC and represented the club on the Tasmanian Gymnastics Association Board.
The Langdon’s had in-ground trampolines and two foam pits installed at the club to allow gymnasts to further their skills, and to begin a Trampoline Club. They also began the State Trampoline Association and the State Gymnastics Association.
Mr and Mrs Langdon and the other volunteer coaches at the club grew their expertise to a very high standard. Mr Langdon was the first State Gymnastics Coach who tool gymnasts away to interstate competition in 1978. Also in 1978 one of their gymnasts Margaret Jack (now Clark) was selected to represent Australia at the at World Championships and competed in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmundton.
In 1984 another PCYC Gymnast Kellie Larter was selected to attend the Australian Institute of Sport Gymnastic Scholarship Programme. She competed in a number of international competitions before being selected for the Australian team, placing in events at the 1986 Commonwealth Championships, then competing in the World Gymnastics Championships in 1987, and becoming the overall Australian Champion at the national titles in 1987. Kellie also represented Australia at the Konica Cup in Moscow in July 1988 and was named 2nd reserve (a non travelling) for the Seoul Olympic Games that year. More information about Kellie’s achievements are below.
Many of the gymnasts continued to give back to the club and the sport after they retired. Margaret Jack returned to coach 1980-81. Liz Richards (later Lynch) started coaching lower levels while she was still training, working alongside Mrs Langdon, and Margaret Jack (Clark) and Tracie Brooks. Liz remembers that she was also coached by Margaret Jack (Clark) and Mrs Langdon at that time. When Mrs Langdon left Margaret Jack, Liz Richards, Tracie Brooks and a number of other coaches filled in until Kellie Larter was appointed to the Assistant Superintendent position (1988-89). Around that time Tracie Brooks left to go to University studying Law, and continued to coach and judge gymnastics at a southern club. We often saw her at competitions.
Kellie Larter coached alongside Margaret Jack and Liz Richards. Margaret Jack (Clark) left to have her family around 1988. When Kellie resigned her position in 1989, it was filled by Helen Sokkol (1990-91) and then by Kath Fulton (later Hawkins) (1991-94). Both Helen and Kath had teaching/PE backgrounds. Mrs Jan Jones, whose daughter Christine had already achieved National Level 10, had done her judging qualification and had become quite expert in the area. She also stepped in to help when Mrs Langdon left, assisting the new Assistant Superintendent Helen and Kath to assimilate to the role and helping administer the area. Later she would become the Tasmanian Artistic Gymnastics Association (TAGA, later the TGA, then Gymnastics Tas) Judging Coordinator, on the WAG Technical Committee, and a Board Member of TAGA. She was also a PCYC Board Member, and, for her ongoing dedication to PCYC she awarded was awarded Life Membership, and later Life Membership of TGA/GT.
Around 1993 Liz and Kath recognised that attendance at gymnastics was often sporadic which was dangerous for athletes training at a high level. They bought in gymnastics term fees to help encourage regular attendance and ensure consistent fee payment income to cover coaching costs. Major fundraisers were also organised during this time to raise funds for the full sprung floor, including fashion parades, band nights, “Have a Go” Friendly Competitions (competing the next level up), and market days. The club also began to import gymnastics expertise into the state for professional development of our coaches during this time which also became a fundraiser. Tumbling expert Russel Smart, and Michelle De Highden were two of the countries’ best coaches. The following year we had AIS Head Coach of our Olympic Gymnastics Team Ju Ping Tian attended PCYC to do talent identification with our Tasmanian athletes. The junior coaches program at PCYC was also formalised with each coach mentoring a junior coach who was paid an honorarium. Inhouse coaching development and lesson planning sessions also occurred each school holidays. Jan Jones persuaded Kath to go onto the Tasmanian Gymnastics Association Board, to ensure PCYC Launceston’s interests were represented., and the professional development PCYC was providing was expanded to statewide. We helped organise for Level 2 (Advanced) Coaches were bought over from the mainland to upskill all the Tassie Coaches. During this time Margaret (Jack) Clark returned to club to coach upper levels at the club and “invitational” class on Saturday mornings along with Liz, and another coach, Sandra Comney would drop past from time to time to assist.
When Kath left the role to grow her experience in Perth WA then Hobart, Liz Richards continued to oversee upper level gymnastics with Margaret Jack (Clark) assisting wherever possible. Mrs Jones stepped in as a volunteer to oversee the Recreational and Level 1 to 4 program with capable coaches like Christine Jones, Anna O’Toole, Angela O’Reilly, Narelle Page, Katrina Skinner, Mel Watts, Cindy Van Est and others ensuring the quality of the program. The club 2IC role became a pure admin role.
From the 1970’s to early 2000’s PCYC dominated Gymnastics in the state, with many of our gymnasts have representing Tasmania in National Teams under coaches Liz Richards, Margaret Clark and Christine Jones. Liz was also State Team Head Coach a number of times.
In 1995 Liz Richards took a break from coaching to have her family, and Christine Jones who had become a very respected coach at the club took over the Senior Coaching role part time, after school hours, from 1995 to 2000 while also attending university to complete a Sports Management degree, swapping to Physical Education after the first year. In 2000 Christine resigned to take up the position of Centre Manager, Gymsport and Recreation Centre in New Zealand. By 2016 Christine had become the Education Officer (Judging and Coaching) for Gymsports New Zealand, the equivalent of our Gymnastics Australia. A few years later Gary Pitchford came from YMCA in Hobart to take up the Head Coach role, and then Peta Costa after him. When Peta left unexpectedly to family illness in WA, Katrina Squires, one of our gymnasts who had worked her way through the ranks was elevated to the senior coaching position until around 2012. From 2012 Jo Penny undertook the dual role of GymSports Coordinator. Jo’s involvement had predominantly been with trampoline. Under her, Nicola Cramp was working as the Gymnastics Coordinator along with Andy Hay, and Pip Hedley was working as the Trampoline Coordinator. Gymnastics and Trampoline had traditionally worked very separately but the Area Coordinators began to work together more, strengthening each area.
Liz (Richards) Lynch still coaches at PCYC in 2016. Kath Fulton-Hawkins returned as Club Manager in 2014.
Margaret Jack (now Clark)
Trained by Mr and Mrs Langdon at PCYC Launceston, Margaret Jack represented Australia at World Championships and competed in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmundton.
“I have so many fond memories of PCYC, too many to even know where to start…
I actually started at PCYC in 1970 as an 8-year old. This soon became my second home. I started in the calisthenics and dance program. The gymnastics program evolved from this. Mr & Mrs Langdon gained their knowledge on the job if memory serves me correctly, this included learning from books and magazines.
They also had the help of Ludmilla Chudackova, a PE teacher. Donna Powell from South Australia also coached for a short time with the Langdons. I also remember travelling interstate on several occasions with the Langdons.
My favourite trip was to Ballarat in 1974. Mr & Mrs Langdon took Fiona Deas, Susan Sloan, Wendy Wright and myself to a competition. I also remember visiting Adelaide as gymnastics was very strong in the state then. Mrs Langson also accompanied me to a clinic at Monash University. They were alwaus learning and growing their gymnastic knowledge.
When I was 12, I competed in the Australian Championships at Dowling Street. Soon after I was recruited by another coach in Queensland. I moved to Queensland to train for 4 years. During that time, I won different state and National awards. My greatest achievements were 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, our team placed 4th and I was 13th overall. I also competed at World Championship in Strasbourg in 1979.
I returned to Tasmania in 1980 where I took on a full time position at PCYC under the careful eye of Mr Langdon. He was not only my mentor but someone whom I had always admired and looked up to. I remember my first weekly salary of $60 a week. This wasn’t your normal 40 hour a week job.nights at Mr Langdon and I would set up the gym for the girls morning. I recall one he had a terrible migraine so I set it up on my own, rolling and turning all 7 tumbling strips on my own was not an easy task. But I wanted him to be proud of me!
I coached at the club from 1980 until 2000 when I left to go overseas with my family. I took time off here and there when I was pregnant but I was a part of the coaching team for 20 years. I was awarded a life membership with the club and also awarded the Australian Sports medal from the PM John Howard in 2000. During that time, I coached many talented gymnasts both at a State and National Level. Kellie Larter, Genevieve O’Rourke and Carolyn Woods spent many long hours in the PCYC gym. There were so many outstanding and dedicated gymnasts in my 20 years of coaching. Two names that stand out in reaching level 10 was Kellie’s sister Jodie Larter and Christine Jones. Christine also gave back many hours of service to the club as did her mother, Jan Jones.
I am not sure if this has been of any help to you or not. PCYC was such an important part of my life. My daughter, Amelia also had the opportunity to be involved in the club. I am sure her dedication to gymnastics also served her well as an Olympic marathon runner. (Steve and Margaret’s daughter represented Australia in the Rio Olympics 2016).
So many memories and lifelong friendships were formed during my time at PCYC. I do hope the club will remain a part of the Launceston community for many years.
Margaret (Jack) Clark
Kellie Louise Larter (b. 20 September 1969)
- In 1980 Kellie Larter represented the Launceston Police and Citizens Youth Club as an 11 year old at State Championships and won her first Level 8 state title. This was the start of a stellar career for this outstanding young gymnast. In 1984 she became the first Tasmanian to be accepted in to the Australian Institute of Sport Gymnastic Scholarship Programme. In the same year, she was selected to represent the Institute in the first of a number of international competitions, and in New Zealand where she won two gold and a silver medal. In 1984, Kellie was voted as Gymnast of the Year at the Australian Institute of Sport.
- Kellie was selected for the Australian team for the Commonwealth Championships in Glasgow in August of 1986. (This was considered the equivalent of the Commonwealth Games which didn’t occur that year.) Here Kellie won an individual silver medal on Beam, and was the only Australian woman to win a medal at those titles, also creating Tasmanian Gymnastic history as our first international medallist.
- 1987 was an outstanding year when Kellie competed in the World Gymnastics Championships and received a F.I.G. Gold Pin for averaging above 90% on all apparatus.
- In 1987 Kellie was the overall Australian Champion at the national titles winning an individual gold medallist on the bars and a silver medal on Beam. Again she was the A.I.S. Gymnast of the Year.
- With these excellent results it was no surprise that Kellie won both the T.V.T. 6 Sports Star Award and Mercury Stars of Sport Award.
- Kellie again represented her country in the Konica Cup in Moscow in July 1988 and was named 2nd reserve (a non travelling reserve) for the Seoul Olympic Games that year. Sadly the quota system that existed at the time allowed only two Australian gymnasts to compete in those Games.
- Kellie is the first gymnast to be inducted into the Tasmanian Hall of Fame. Not only were her achievements excellent, very importantly she served as an exceptional role model for the younger gymnasts who saw her as a very modest but brilliant young talent to whom they could aspire to emulate.
- Kellie became PCYC Launceston Head Coach and Assistant Superintendent alongside Club Superintendent Tony Grundgeiger for a short period after retiring from gymnastics.
REFERENCE: http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/csr/sportrec/hall_of_fame/recipients/kellie_louise_larter and club records.
PCYC Dance History
• Mrs Brenda Langdon developed a large dancing school at PCYC Launceston and a loyal troupe of volunteers who assisted her to instruct and to fill the Costume Room with various themed costumes all sewn by hand. By the 1980’s the costumer room was filled with hundreds of costumes for the Launceston Dance Competitions. Being allowed into the costume room to be allocated a costume for the yearly KidsKapers night was a highlight of the year. We all waited with nervous anticipation for our names to be called.
• KidsKapers was held at the end of each year as a Christmas Concert KidsKapers gave everyone in the club the opportunity to show everyone in the club what the various acticities had been working on during the year.The club participated in the Dancing Section of the Launceston Competitions each year. Club dads and mums spent hours sewing sequins on the outfits, and Mr Adam Sloan would paint all of the shoes. Mrs’ May Sloan and Hazel Cameron would work on the costumers, and work backstage on the night along with Alan Reaney.
• KidsKapers was a show at the end of each year that showcased the work the Club Members had been doing that year. It was initially staged at the Club, and later at the Princess Theatre. It always included tumbling displays from the boys assisted by Alan Reaney, Terry Reaney and George Seymour. KidsKapers had broad community support and often featured guest acts like the magic act from Bonnie Ellis. It was regularly supported by local television presenters who were Masters of Ceremony. A number of Federal and State Members of Parliament directly involved with the club including Board Member Lance Barnard and Senator Justin O’Byrne, and Dr Frank Madill who also did the Master of Ceremony roll for a number of years. KidsKapers was held at the Princess Theatre for the first time on the 27th November1971.
• When Mrs Langdon retired towards the end of the 1980’s or early 1990’s, the Dance School continued under the instruction of Mrs Langdon’s senior students Kristine (Cameron) Pearn and Michelle Heron.
The following are Kristine’s recollections of the club during those years:
PCYC Launceston Dance classes began in 1963 when the club was situated in the Forster Street building at Invermay. Under the guidance of Mrs Langdon who we all called “Mrs L”. When the building was burnt down in 1967 we moved to a temporary building near Cimitere Street. In 1968 moved to our current building, The Old Alexander Racquet Factory. Competition time was excellent, competing at both the Launceston and Devonport competitions. But the End of Year Concert, KidsKapers was the thing we looked forward to most. Mr L started with a small group of girls and had classes on Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon and evening. As class numbers grew, and grew, and grew some of our best results were presentations with titles like “Girls Girls Girls”, “Say it with Music”, and “Yanky Doodle Dandy”. Fundraising was always a must to help with fundraising to help fund the massive number of beautiful costumes that we were lucky enough to wear. We always seemed to enjoy ourselves, and laugh a lot at PCYC. We were so lucky to have Mrs L. We seemed to walk that little bit taller and reach that little bit higher because of Mrs L. I had the comment made to me the other day, “I am the person I am today, because of Mr and Mrs Langdon”. I am forever thankful for their love and dedication to us girls. We are sure lucky to have had PCYC and Mr and Mrs L. When Mrs L. retired, the dance school was continued by myself (Kris Pearn) and Michelle Heron. We had been Mrs L’s senior girls. Knowing how much work this took gave us a whole new appreciation of the work Mrs L did.
Would we do it all again? You bet, in a heartbeat! The hours of training, then waiting, waiting, waiting to compete in ice cold dressing rooms, were a small price to pay. Many lifelong friendships were started at PCYC and still continue today. Dance was just one activity at PCYC. And our club was certainly was the best club of them all. Mrs L. watched us grow from children, to adults, (and then adults) with children of our own, who then went on to do activities at our Club. We had a reunion in 1992. Many of the old girls attended and reminisced about the great times we had at Dance, and the lifelong friends that we made.
Kristine Pearn, Recollections 2016
PCYC Trampoline History
This area is under development. If you have any information please email email@example.com
- By the late 1970’s the club had two new foam pits, and two in-floor trampolines which made for great fun at Friday Boys night, but Mr Langdon became a great trampoline in his own right
- In the 1970’s Phillip Beardwood and another lady (TBC) taught trampolining, and had a strong following
- We are not sure how long these coaches remained but by the 1980’s Max Swain had developed a trampoline club at PCYC, which also provided him with competition divers. At one stage Max even had snow skiers doing aerial skills on the trampolines. As young gymnasts we were banned from entering the room for fear of being harpooned by a flying ski.
- Just prior to Leigh Oswin arriving, another coach had just finished coaching at the end of 2000
- In 2001 Leigh Oswin arrived at PCYC, with a strong coaching foundation honed at the YMCA of Hobart (Glenorchy).
- When Leigh took over the Trampoline Program it consisted, at that time, of 12 athletes over two classes on a Saturday afternoon
- Jo Penny began coaching in 2001
- Between 2001 and 2011 the Trampoline Program grew from 12 athletes to approximately 350 athletes
- In 2011 Jo Penny took over the Trampoline Coordinator Role and combined the artistic gymnastics and trampoline disciplines into the one management structure.
- Jo left in 2013. Then in 2015 began working as the Sports Development Officer for Gymnastics Australia
- In 2016, Leigh still coaches our international stream athletes for PCYC Launceston. He is also the President of Gymnastics Tasmania, Trampoline Judging Coordinator for Gymnastics Australia, and works in the field of Sport and Recreation
- Pip Hedley started at PCYC as a six year old in 1972, doing Dance with Mrs Langdon. She continued dancing until she was 18 years old, and clearly remembers the excitement of doing the June School Holiday Launceston Competition and the end of year KidsKapers.
- Around 1995, Pip started brining her niece Tineca Stewart to Gymnastics for testing by Mrs Jan Jones, followed by her own three children. When her children Isaac and Josh changed from gymnastics to trampoline, Pip started doing an Adult class. A passing conversation with Jo Penny saw Pip begin to coach at the club. In 2016, she has been coaching at PCYC for almost 9 years and is an Advanced Silver Trampoline Coach, coaching and judging at National Team Level. Pip coordinates our Trampoline Area and Group Bookings including 19 coaches. in 2016, Tineca Stewart-Lowe, now also coaches with us, along with Isaac and Josh Hedley Williams, with admin support by Erica Hedley Williams. The trampoline is a real family affair.
- In 2009/10 the club purchased full sized Olympic Trampolines and other equipment with a $45k Tasmanian Community Fund Grant
The following athletes have competed overseas representing Australia
- Jack Penny – currently Australian Squad member, ranked 3rd in Australia. Attended numerous World Championships over the past 10 years
- Mathew Gough
- Patrick Sauerwald
- Hugh Ross
- James Buckingham
- Makkonen Brown
- Joshua Hedley Williams
- Aidan Collins
- Ryan Williams
The club also has hundreds of athletes who have represented Tasmania at multiple Australian (National) Championships.
Officials on National Teams
- Jo Penny (Team Management for 10 years
- Leigh Oswin (Judge)
- Davina Sauerwald (Team Management)
Coaches on National Teams
- Leigh Oswin (National Coach for 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Games)
Special Olympics State and National Team Members in artistic gymnastics
- Kelly Binns
- Mason Rule
- Hamish Mackay
- Harry Smith
Please let us know if we have missed anyone!
For international events we’ve competed in see the posters/flags/banners displayed above foam pit in upstairs trampoline room.
PCYC Self Defence History
Around 1986/87 the Newstead Judo Club, under Ray Chell and the Newstead Jujitsu Karate Club under Alan Muir moved from Fred Suitor’s place on Punchbowl Road to the PCYC Launceston Dojo, sharing the space with Len Scambler’s Fuji Ryu Aikido Club. Len and his club had sectioned off a corner of the club downstairs and created a great Dojo with a full canvas floor over thick high density matting. It was a great space. All of the Aikido, Karate and Judo instructors volunteered their time to teach martial arts and mentor young people at PCYC Launceston, each building a successful club in their own rights. Fees paid by student went to PCYC and towards fundraising. Aikido continued until 2013. A Judo Club was at PCYC under Heath Howard until 2014, and Karate is still a successful club today.
Aikido – Recollections by Paul Scambler
Len Scambler began teaching Aikido at PCYC in 1969, with his cousin Colin Davis, soon after the PCYC had moved to the Wentworth Street site. He and his club volunteers built the Dojo downstairs in the Weight Gym where it remained until 2015 when Len oversaw the moving for the Dojo floor to an upstairs room to make space for the Weight Gym expansions. Over the years the club has volunteered to instruct many students.
The following text is from the introduction of a book Len was writing before he passed away in March 2016,
“The Introduction of Aikido to Tasmania” Len tells us that he started training in Judo and Aiki-budo in Essex, England when he was 10 years old and later trained Judo/Aiki-budo under Nagasaki Otani (1898-1977). He also trained in the Chinese art of Hung Gar kung fu (unknown in those days). Len immigrated to Australia in 1959, and in 1961 he and his cousin Colin Davis began teaching Aikido to friends at the YMCA in Brisbane Street, Launceston where they leased some mat time. Classes originally consisted of Len Scambler, Terry Peet and Colin Davis but soon grew to include Colin’s wife Peg, Bob McFarlane, Jim Wells, Robbie Rosevears, Brian Fitzpatrick and others. Later Bronwyn Smith joined us followed a month or so later by the late Peter Yost, both of whom came from the Newstead Judo Club. We ran two sessions a week. Colin and I trained early (6.00 – 7.00am) winter and summer. Australia’s senior Judo player Arthur Moorshead, head of the Caulfield Judo Club in Melbourne, was also an Aikido Shodan from England, studying under Kenshiro Abbe and Tadashi Abe gave us a demonstration of his Aikido, so we placed ourselves under Arthur’s instruction. Retaining the name we started the Launceston Aikido Club. One morning Arthur and Selichi Sugarno Sensei 5th Dan, who was a live in student to Ueshiba (arrived Sydney 1965) were present at a Judo Clinic/Gradings at the YMCA hall one Saturday morning. They heard Colin and I training in the Dojo proper and came in to investigate. At Arthur’s suggestion and with his approval they asked Sugarno if he would travel from Sydney to Launceston to conduct classes. He accepted and the Launceston Aikido Club affiliated with Sugarno’s newly established Ai-Ki-Kai Headquarters. We became the first Ai-Ki-Kai club in Tasmania. In 1967 Len graded from 8th to 5th Kyu in one presentation as only the 4th student of Sugarno’s to grade up to 5th kyu. In Melbourne we always stayed with Sensei Tony Smibert.
The Brisbane Street YMCA closed in 1970 and we moved to the Launceston PCYC in 1969 When Ai-Ki-Kai left PCYC Len still continued teaching but Len was concerned with how to give students a sense of achievement. In consultation with PCYC Club Superintendent, the late Kevin Langdon, club reverted to the Launceston Aikido Club, dropping all name reference to Ai-Ki-Kai. Some years later Len’s friend Sensei Tim Waters invited Len to Hobart to meet Takeshi (Taka) Nakajima. There was an instant kinship, and Len learned Taka’s style of Aikido, Fiji Ryu Goshindo Aiki (Fiji Ryu School of Self Defence). This meant travelling to Hobart and training with Taka all day at the Police Academy, followed by an evening class at the Hobart University, before driving back to Launceston.”
Len’s son Paul has pledged to finish the book his father and Sensei was writing. Len was keen to see copies published for his and Paul’s students.
The Launceston Aikido Club supported the PCYC in many ways. They were always part of “whole of club” fundraisers, and mentored disadvantaged youth, as well as supported the club’s end of year concert, KidsKapers.
Len’s many years of dedicated service saw him become a Life Member of PCYC Launceston. As the years passed Len’s son, Paul became a student, then an instructor, and Senior/Chief Instructor in the club. He was also to become a long-term President of PCYC and a Life Member. The Aikido Club left PCYC Launceston in 2013 when the club experienced a financial glitch and needed to ask all activities to pay a hall hire fee as well as cover their own insurance. Aikido were not able to transition, and while the club’s position improved and the club was able to relax these requirements the Aikido club had already found other premises. Len continued to attend PCYC Launceston to mentor Zest 4 Life, a Tai-Chi hybrid incorporating Aikido, breathing and stretching and strength. Len had learned Tai-Chi under 3 different teacher over his many years, and bought wonderful experience to the group. Len just loved teaching people the martial arts that he loved so dearly. He loved watching people come into the classes with no experience or foundation ability, then watch them learn and grow. He wanted them to find the benefits that he had found from the martial arts. He attended Zest 4 Life almost every week until he passed away 1st March 2016.
The Hobart Martial Arts Academy in their tribute article to Len noted that he was “one of the first to instruct Wing Chun at the Sydney University in the 1960s” said “True masters like Len are few and far between. He will be greatly missed”. He is certainly missed at PCYC Launceston.
Hobart Martial Arts Academy tribute to Len can be found at: http://www.hobartmartialartsacademy.com.au/journal/2016/3/2/vale-len-scambler
Karate – Recollections by PCYC Chief Instructor, Sensei Alan Muir.
Around 1986/87 the Newstead Jujitsu Karate Club under Alan Muir, along with the Newstead Judo Club under Ray Chell, both moved from Fred Suitor’s place on Punchbowl Road to the PCYC Launceston Dojo, sharing the space with Len Scambler’s Fuji Ryu Aikido Club
Back then entry to the building was through the top door, with sign in at the canteen between the trampoline room and gymnastics room. Alan recalls that you would then “wander down the slippery stairs to the dungeon, past the “cell blocks” which housed the table tennis room, through the weight gym which was full of homemade weight gym equipment, and into the Dojo. Equipment was very basic for each of the activities downstairs with fundraising and a split of the activity fees going towards equipment.
For many years Alan ran both the annual State All Styles Karate Tournament (1992-2015) with the PCYC canteen reaping the benefits. In the early days the club had a full sized boxing/wrestling ring which we used and also hired out for tournaments at the Casino, the Albert Hall and at venues in Georgetown and Ravenswood. The Karate Club also did Symmons Plains clean each year with Constable Tony Grundgeiger and then Constable John Cramp.
Karate, Aikido and Judo did public displays to promote their activities at all or some of the following: The Launceston Show, Festivale, Albert Hall, Civic Square, various school fairs, at the 7LA Duck Race for the Asthma Foundation, and on stage demonstrations at the corner of St John and Brisbane Street. Karate undertook security duties at the Princess Theatre for the High School Rock Eisteddfod and always volunteered with the Karate Club to do the PCYC End of Year Concert.
Some of the memorable fundraisers the Karate Club have done are a Karaoke night in the Red Room (current Dojo) with Peter Murphy as DJ; walkathons around Trevallyn, Duck Reach, West Launceston, Gorge and back to Trevallyn. They have also run the Excalabur challenge up Mt Arthur and a run challenge up Quamby Bluff, and done a walkathon around Punchbowl, Kings Meadows return. The Karate Club also worked with PCYC club management when require to work with youth at risk and has waived session fees, membership and have always been very willing to assist anyone experiencing disadvantage.
In 2014 Mat Manzoney from the Karate Club helped organise sponsorship of $ $18,059.66 from Vos Construction to complete the moving and reestablishment of the Dojo, and the renovation of the Weight Gym to increase usage of the club. Karate has always supported the greater good at PCYC, and is a wonderful asset to both the Karate activity they so selflessly instruct, and the volunteer capacity they bring to our club. Their instructor Alan Muir and his senior instructors continue to volunteer at the club.
The Newstead Judo Club, under Ray Chell moved from Fred Suitor’s place on Punchbowl Road to the PCYC Launceston Dojo around 1986/87, sharing the space with Len Scambler’s Fuji Ryu Aikido Club who had established the Dojo.
REQUEST: We do not have any detail on this activity. Any contributions to this history would be appreciated.
PCYC’s Weight Lifting History
Once the PCYC opened in the old Alexander Racquet Factory in 1968 it became clear that there were many spaces that could be utilised for various activities. A group of club members had an interest in Weight Lifting and fundraising began for equipment and tidying up the area below the club (now next to the current entry). Much of the equipment in the weight gym was homemade, but it did the job so well that some of it is still present in the current gym. The Weight Gym also developed two strong factions that happily co-exists in the depths of the club in Power Lifting and Olympic Lifting.
PCYC’s Olympic Lifting History
• Coached by Ron Nylander, PCYC Launceston Olympic Lifter Luigi Carmine Fratangelo, better known as Gino Fratangelo was first selected to represent Australia in the 1978 Australia at the World Junior Championships in Greece, placing 11th. In 1979 he was selected as a Senior for the Oceania Championships in New Zealand winnig the first of his 3 gold medals at those titles, winning again in 1981 in Melbourne and 1987 in Canberra. In 1908 he was selected in the Australian Olympic team to compete in Moscow where he finished 11th in his class. He was also twice selected for the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982 finishing 4th, and in 1986 in Edinburugh where he won a silver medal.
At three Commonwealth championships in Wales, Western Samoa and Canberra he won one gold and two silver medals – a remarkably consistent performer. He also represented Australia at two World Championships with great distinction. During the course of his career, this genial powerhouse was Australian senior champion from 1979 to 1987, set two Commonwealth records, six Australian records, seven Oceania records and all Tasmanian Open records for his body weight. His record is unsurpassed by any other Tasmanian weightlifter and two of his national records still stand- a memorable achiever who also served as an excellent role model for all young Tasmanians.
- Leo Isaacs also coached at PCYC during this period
- PCYC Olympic Lifter, Ron Laycock, competed in the 170kg Clean and Jerk lifting 170kg to win his division at the 2001 Nationals.
- In 2004, Mark Brown came from WA to become a PCYC Staff member and volunteer coach of Olympic Lifting
- Previous to this Mark finished 4th at the World Weight Lifting Masters Championships in Perth, WA in 1994. He co-ordinated this event
- He also qualified and was selected to represent Australia, at World Masters Weight Lifting Championships in Glasgow in 1999
- Mark has since coached many young athletes to success at club, state, national and international level since then, with Jenna Myers being the most successful, having represented Australia at many Oceania, Commonwealth and World Championships, and also at the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Over the years we have had a number of successful Olympic Lifters.
NB: Any additional information welcomed.
Gino Fratangelo jerks 203kg – Australia Games 1985 National record @ 100kg Class C&J of 203kg
Ron Laycock 170kg Clean and Jerk – 2001 Nationals
Gino Frantangelo 1986 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, Scotland Weightlifting 110kgs
PCYC’s POWER LIFTING History
PLEASE HELP US increase the information about Power Lifting by emailing your recollections to: firstname.lastname@example.org
It has not been established who started the interest in Power Lifting at PCYC, but our best information suggests that it started with Keith Quarrel and Steve Moszco who were training in the sport in 1980. Steve Nas trained general weights at the club from 1980, but he began Power Lifting in 1988 alongside Garth Walters. Keith Quarrel was a champion in Power Lifting, gaining a Silver medal at a World Championship plus many Australian Titles. Steve Nas also gained Australian Titles and medals at World Championships, as did Steve Moszko. We had no coaches but we all trained one another with a lot of success.
The Weight Gym pretty much ran itself, and did not receive a great deal of attention in the early days of the Newstead Club. Club Superintendent, Tony Grungeiger purchased our first Power Bar which is slightly different to a normal Weight Lifting bar. The following Club Superintendent John Cramp then purchased the group some new gear.
Steve Nas began Power Lifting Tasmania again, which had been in recess for some years, and the competitions became centred around PCYC Launceston. Steve recalls “ We had the hydraulic lifting racks made, and we made a competition bench press” These are still present at the club. He continues that “The club was a great place, with good people there such as Alan and Kristine Pearn, and my old favourite Hazel Cameron. My daughter was doing dancing there with Kristine and Hazel, so it became a real family affair. I stopped training there in 2000 after I finished competing and went and built my own Gym at home where I trained some young ones in my area. My work commitments changed so found it hard to get back there but after training there for 20 years straight I still have fond memories of the club, and the characters I met there such as Ronnie Jacobson, and Bernie Burnett who was always full of advice.”
Ron Jacobson apparently he was featured on the TNT 9 television sports show as a character called “Little Hulk”. Ron was trained by Alan Pearn, husband of Dance Instructor Kristine Pearn.
During the 1990’s Max O’Toole’s daughter and son, Anna and David, were training Gymnastics. Max was the Physical Education Teacher at St Patricks College at that time, and was not good at sitting around, so he began going downstairs to train in Weight Gym. Here he met a group of people training in Power Lifting, and there began a life long love of the sport. Now a Life Member of PCYC, Max has now trained athletes in Power Lifting at PCYC three days a week, and also training himself for around 25 years. He also trains Seniors in Fitness two other days a week.
Over the years Max has trained many state and national champions in PowerLifting, and even international team representatives. The following are a couple of examples (from newspaper and internet). We would love to have more details!
*Coached by Max, in 2006 Powerlifting Australia (IPF) – Adam Pinkard held the SHW Australian squat record – 385kg July 30, 2006 – Brisbane, Australia
Adam Pinkard – 385kg squat
*In 2013 Max O’Toole coached athletes to bring home world records at the Council of Powerlifting Australia national championships in Hobart.
Tiarna Davis, of Newstead, competed in the teenage 52 kilogram class and squatted 90kg, bench-pressed 48kg and dead-lifted 100kg – all world record lifts as was her total weight of 230kg.
Longford’s Jacob Oakenfull was the other most successful lifter competing in the junior 125kg class. His world records were for his squat of 283kg and his total weight of 748kg.
“Tiarna had lots of PBs and did very well,” O’Toole said. “Jacob also got personal bests in his other lifts and both were very exciting to watch for us as Tasmanians.”
Their PCYC teammates also performed well winning medals in their categories.
Norwood’s Dylan Oakenfull won his 140kg teenage class with personal bests in all his lifts in only his third competition. Westbury’s Johnny Riley took out his 82.5kg junior division with personal bests in his deadlift and squat.
Launceston’s Luke Mayne, competing in the 140kg junior class, was first in the benchpress-only competition with a lift of 215kg. Launceston’s Troy Thomas finished second in the 100kg junior class behind teammate Riley.
“It was a great competition with lots of international lifters of enormous size who lifted enormous weights and lots of female lifters who were all excellent and big crowds on both days,” O’Toole said.
PCYC’s Red Team Power Lifting Squad under Max’s coaching and as “natural-only” athletes, broke multiple Australian Records at the CAPO Nationals.
Max O’Toole was awarded Life Membeship of PCYC in 2003. In 2005 The Examiner wrote a story on our amazing Max O’Toole
PLEASE SEND MORE INFORMATION about PCYC’s PowerLifting to: email@example.com
Todd Hodgetts – Shot Putt
Two times ParaOlympian Todd Hodgetts is a PCYC Weight Gym Member. Todd won Gold in the Shot Putt in London in 2012, and Bronze at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
PCYC Retired Citizens Group
The Police Citizens Retired Citizens Group was formed as a result of Mr Selwyn Knight around July 1978, inviting a small group of people to join the Newstead Pensioners Union, who were holding weekly meetings at the Police and Citizens Youth Club in Newstead. Mr Knight was aware that there were a number of people with time on their hands, and he approached the Police Department and the PCYC Board of Management, to ask if facilities could be made available for the group. This was readily approved by Constable Langdon, the Police Citizens Retired Citizens Group was formed. The first activity of the group was on 13th September and 24 people joined up. Selwyn Knight was the first President and a Mrs Bailey the first Secretary, however Jack Penrose took over this position before the first meeting, minutes dated 20th September 1978. The official opening of the club was on 27th September 1978, by the late Lance Barnard. The club grew rapidly and by December 1978 there were 114 members, and 130 by March 1979.
In 1978 to 1986 the Retired Citizens met every weekday (according to Constable Langdon’s 1985 OIC report), and had over 100 members as listed in their PCYC Retired Citizens 20th Year report. By 1986 the group had reduced to meeting twice a week at 1pm when the club still opened to do crafts, play cards and games, and do indoor bowls. The Red Room had previously been a tiered movie theatre, but times had changed and the room was rarely used. At this time John Cramp was a volunteer and PCYC Board Member. He and some friends from council helped remove the seating, the space was then lined and made into a usable space by the City of Launceston Lions Club. They lined the walls, carpeted the floor, provided tables and chairs, a TV set, an 8 ball table as well as coming along to enjoy fellowship and a cup of tea.
In August 1978 application was successfully made to the Minister for Community Welfare for the purchase of 2 indoor bowls mats and 2 sets of bowls, as well as packs of cards, and crib boards for use by members. The grant was confirmed via Lance Barnard, and $500 was received in February 1979. The equipment was purchased and cost $580. During February and March $50 was received from the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes , $10 from the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, and $10 from the Federated Clerks Union of Australia (Tasmanian Branch). In June 1979 application was made to the Community Welfare Department for a grant of $300 to purchase more games equipment and amenities for the club. The grant was finally received in May 1980. Sadly, Foundation President Selwyn Knight and Jack Penrose, Foundation Secretary both passed away in May 1980 within 10 days of each other.
Somewhere between 1999 and 2009 the Retired Citizens group numbers ceased their activities. NB: Additional information welcomed.
REFERENCES: A report compiled by Edna Mathews (PCYC Retired Citizens Secretary, Sept 1978 – July 1989) from previous reports, scrapbooks, an article published in the Northern Scene 9/9/78 along with discussions with Eddie Fleming, Helen Johnson, Bob McFarlane, Nell Morton, Marj (Yorky) Siddall (Life Member and Past President) as well as Helen, Bob and Flo Fleming who had maintained continuous membership from 1978 to 1989 and beyond. Also Rita Berry, Una Murdock, Bertha Sutherland, Pearl Eastoe, Barney Walsh, Eric Hanson, Peg Marquis, Mick Moore, Nell Morton, and Venie West.
PCYC Seniors Fitness
PCYC Seniors Fitness
Max O’Toole attended PCYC because two of his three children Anna and David were doing gymnastics. His wife Christine helped sign people into the club, and worked as a volunteer in the Canteen. At some stage Max’s mother’s health started to fail so Max bought her into the club to do some fitness work. They started with walks around the basketball gym, the a little light weight bearing and functional fitness. As Max’s mother’s health improved, people began to ask if they could join Max’s sessions. Now there are around 60 to 80 Seniors that train on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 11.30am doing weight gym and cardio fitness including core and functional strength. They use basketballs to keep their reflexes honed and stretch. After the class they have a social over morning tea. They also hold a big morning tea whenever there is a vaguely good excuse. It is always an amazing array of delicious treats. Max is helped in Weight Gym by Lateena and in Fitness by John. However everyone is deputised to welcome new members and show them the ropes.
PCYC Seniors Fitness – Zest for Life
In 2013 Len Scambler and David MacLeod put together a program for the over 50’s to exercise the whole body and brain, concentrating on joints, stretches and breathing. Len’s contribution was a vast knowledge drawn from Aikido and Tai Chi. Len had learned Tai-Chi under 3 different teachers over his many years, and bought wonderful experience to the group. Len just loved teaching people the martial arts that he loved so dearly. He loved watching people come into the classes with no experience or foundation ability, then watch them learn and grow. He wanted them to find the benefits that he had found from the martial arts. He attended Zest 4 Life almost every week until he passed away 1st March 2016.
David brought to the table his knowledge on exercises and stretches after 15 years doing martial arts. Shi bashi I&II are used to combine movements and breathing in unison. Sadly Len passed away in 2016 but his knowledge will continue to be passed on to many grateful students for years to come.
Zest for Life runs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-11:30am in the Launceston PCYC Dojo. Please wear socks and loose clothing. Coffee and biscuits after training.
David MacLeod can be contacted for further information on 0435 223 083. Website: http://pcyclaunceston.org.au/senior-fitness/
From its early years at the Newstead venue, Launceston PCYC had a Weight Gym. From time to time the club also had aerobics or fitness classes, for example with Joanne Evans in the 1990’s, as well as PT training from the club. The club began to include Fitness Classes and specialised in people returning to fitness from around 2012. However the Weight Gym had not changed from the 1990’s and was tired and looked unloved. The only fitness area was a small area approximately 3m by 5m only allowing space for a small smattering of cardio equipment which was hidden from view around the corner. This low-visibility set up felt unsafe to some people, including recently arrived refuge users, so the new Club Manager approached Scanlon Foundation for some funds to expand the fitness room to be a bigger space, as well as more appealing and visible.
This required the moving of the Dojo from the Weight Gym area and relocating the entire floor. So in 2015 the Seniors Fitness Zest4Life, and Weight Gym Group, under the watchful eye of Len Scambler who had built the original Dojo moved the floor up to the Red Room (previously a movie theatre and retired citizens room). Robert Oakenfull and his son Dylan as well as Club Maintenance Officer Peter Gibbs lined out the room with white villa board to improve the aesthetics.
The Club Manager and a small band of volunteers including Max O’Toole, Andy Bading, Bob Pennington, Jasper Da Seymour, Will Cullen, Jenna Lupo, Glenys Lupo, Brian Cole, Eric, Angus, Sam, David Hutchins, Robert and Dylan Oakenfull, as well as Club Manager Kath Hawkins’s husband and family then proceeded to renovate the Weight Gym to include a Fitness room. They removed the Dojo wall, leaving a nib wall, and allowing natural sunlight and fresh air to flow into the gym. Dulux paints supplied the paint, and Michael Sadler Painter and his sons volunteered to paint the high areas of the gym. The volunteers and CSO’s then painted the walls and sanded then painted the equipment, and relocated the equipment into a better layout, and Andy Bading did the finish touches completing by hand a huge mural of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and installing rusted industrial looking paneling. New rubber flooring completed the look.
The project was supported by Vos Construction, Dulux Paint, Michael Sadler’s Painters and Scanlon Foundation. From 2016 the club began to expand its fitness programs to include ReCON – fitness and strength reconditioning sessions, High Intensity Interval Training, and Sport specific fitness with Sporting Edge Performance Optimisation. From 2017 the club will cater for Sports Clubs and a Personal Training Hub began from late 2016.
History of the Alexander Racquet Factory
Janet Headlam whose family has lived in the area for many years recalled that the before the Alexander Racquet Factory was on the land, it belonged to Ronald CampbellGunn, the botanist who has his statue in City Park. He owned all the land from Wentworth Street to David and High Street, as well as down to the North Esk River. He also owned the Newstead Hotel which was only one story back then and the Stockyards next to it. Ronald was very tall and he walked absolutely everywhere collecting specimens. He was also a Magistrate and he lived in his huge home, “Newstead House” in Newstead Cresent. Campbell Street is named after him. His daughter Jane married a Douglas, and Douglas Street was named after them. He had no surviving sons with sons, so the CampbellGunn name ended with him. He sold the land to tennis racquet manufacturers, the Alexander Racquet Factory.
The Alexander Racquet Factory had been a bustling, succesful and iconic business and brand in its glory days. Christopher ‘Gus’ Green OAM, a friend of PCYC, researched and wrote an illustrated history of the Alexander Patent Racket Co. Ltd. (also written as Racquet) which was published in 2011.
Gus’ interest in the old factory came about when he was researching a branch of his family. His book and some website information (provided for tennis.com.au) tells us that:
“The Alexander Racquet Company is probably (Australia’s) most successful homegrown racquet manufacturer beginning in 1926 and operating until 1961… The original owners of the business were first involved with sporting goods retailing and were importing French racquets. However, they met Alfred Alexander who experimented, invented and patented the first form of dry bent timber racquet frame laminating, a procress which would change wood racquet construction techniques forever. With this opportunity, the Alexander Racquet company was formed and became one of the World’s most prestigious brands”
A summary in the Launceston Historical Society Newsletter #129, 2011 said that the Alexander Racquet Company:
“was formed in 1925; production begain in May 1926 and, by the end of that year, the Alexander range of racquets was available at every sports store in Australia.
At the beginning of 1930 there were 130 employees at the facory which had produced some 60,000 racquet frames and had established export markets to many countries. The flat top racquet was introduced in 1931. When Jack Crawford won Wimbledon in 1933 with his Alexander Cressy Wizard – the first totally Australia-made racquet to win a world championship – it became famous across the globe. The factory also produced cricket bats, badminton and squash racquets, furniture, wooden bicycle rims and, during the Second World War, ammunition boxes. Heritage-listed in 2009, the factory building on the corner of Abbott and Wentworth Streets, Newstead is a Launceston landmark.”
The tennis.com.au site indicated that “in the late 1950’s the Alexander factory was wound down and sold to Spalding in Victoria. The last racquets produced were in 1961 yet the Cressy name continued for a season under the Spalding banner when it was revived for just one more year in 1966. The final days of the Alexander company really came about as Spalding, Dunlop and Slazenger dominated the mainland retail scene and also acquired most of the high profile players to endorse their racquets.”
Back then, the area which is the current top car park was a tennis court where they woud test the tennis racquets. In 1968 it was sold to the Tasmania Police Department for use as a Police Boys and Girls Club. More information about the history of the Alexander Racquet Factory prior to it becomeing a PCYC, is available at
How PCYC’s began in Australia (1937 to 1945)
The first Police Boys Club opened in a disused Police Lockup in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, on 1st April 1937. Originally the club was known as the “Police-Rotary Boys Club”, and it was set up in a disused Police Station as an initiative of the Rotary Club of Sydney, and the Police Commissioner, William John Mackay.
Wolloomooloo was chosen because it was one of Sydney’s most difficult areas to police. Crime and antisocial behaviour in the area involving young people was rampant and there existed a rising incidence of substance abuse. The purpose of the Club was to provide a venue where boys could engage in healthy sporting, cultural and recreational pursuits and mix in a safe, non-confrontational environment. By the time the Club officially opened on 1 April 1937, it had a membership of 400 boys and facilities including a library with 3000 books, areas for wrestling and physical culture classes, debating, and teams in the rugby league competition.
In July 1937 the founders of the Woolloomooloo Club began the process of bringing together the other unofficial clubs and placing them under a central authority. Clubs had been established at Bega, Cooma, Cootamundra, Goulburn, Tamworth, Yass and Young, and moves were afoot to set up Balmain, St George, and Wollongong. On 23 September 1938, the Federation of NSW Police Boys Clubs was incorporated under the Companies Act of 1936 as a public company, limited by guarantee and was registered as a charity. In 1945, the organisation changed its name to the Federation of NSW Police-Citizens Boys Clubs in recognition of the work and support provided by the community. In November 1985, the Federation was renamed the Federation of NSW Police Citizens Youth Clubs, finally recognising that females were strongly represented amongst the membership.
This footage is of the Sydney club : http://aso.gov.au/titles/newsreels/australia-today-men-tomorrow/clip2/
Life Members of PCYC Launceston
Board Members, Club Officers and Club Managers are listed on the
“Our Management” Page. Any additional information is welcome.
|Life Members of PCYC Launceston|
|2017||Phillipa “Pip” Hedley|
|2017||Elizabeth “Liz” (Richards) Lynch|
|2003||Eve Thorp – Life Governor|
|1991||Brenda Langdon OA|
|1991||Kevin Langdon OA|
|1991||Douglas Harris QPM JP|
|1979||Randall Devin Langdon|
|1979||Anthony Clifford Langdon|
|1979||William Arthur Ellis|
Reports from the past