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Send me some stories, or I'll start boring you're with my stuff. (the Cunningham)

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After 6 years as Chair of the Qld Heritage Council, I am reflecting on the most notable achievement as I now pale into obscurity. Without a doubt, the inclusion of "Chas Matters" onto the official State Government Register is the highpoint of my time.
Chas's age was a contributing factor to his inclusion on the Register though more importantly, his good looks and understanding charm along with his physical prowress made him a promising candidate. If you go to paragraph 13 of the Register citation below  (commencing with the words "In the 1940's..."), you will see the remarkable history of this budding cyclist.
John, you might consider the inclusion of this Register citation - which I now refer to as the "Chas Matters" citation - into your widely read web-site to appraise other cyclists who they are dealing with when tangling with the man.
Cheers,  John Brannock

Ebbw Vale Memorial Park

Place ID 
  Permanent Entry
  Brisbane Road


The ground at Ebbw Vale was made available as a venue for football and cricket games for employees of the Whitwood Colliery in the late 19th century. Soccer became an important sporting activity in Ipswich through the city’s coal mining industry and its links with Yorkshire and Wales, where pit football teams were common. The Ebbw Vale field is connected with the development of soccer in Queensland, both as an early pit field and as the home of a successful club that produced a number of state, national and Olympic players in the mid 20th century.

Ebbw Vale Memorial Park is uncommon as a 19th century soccer ground in Queensland, which has been continuously in use for this purpose. Raymond Park (Pineapple Park) in Brisbane is slightly older, but this has not been in continuous use for soccer.

Ebbw Vale Memorial Park has been traditionally maintained by community effort and local volunteers have cared for the ground and provided coaches and players, in some cases for several generations. The park has social significance as a testimony of continuous voluntary service and because it forms a recreational focus for the local community.


Ebbw Vale Memorial Park was first known as the Whitwood ground, as in the early 1890s the owners of the Whitwood Colliery made the land available for their employees to use as a football ground. The colliery fielded two teams and soccer has been played at this venue ever since together with other sports.

Football in various forms is a very ancient game. It has been played in Britain since at least the Middle Ages, though there were few rules and these varied from one district to another. In 1815 the first written rules were drawn up and 1863 the Football Association was formed in Britain. At this time the two codes of Rugby and Association football were defined. In 1870 an 11 player team was agreed upon and regulations were further refined in the in the 1870s and 1880s.

The word ‘soccer’ was coined from the abbreviation ‘assoc’ (as opposed to the derivation of the term ‘rugger’ from rugby) in the 1880s, though it was not in general use at that time.

This codification took place when many Britons were emigrating to Queensland and Ipswich drew miners from parts of England and Wales where football was very popular. Improvements to conditions and hours of work won by trade unions increased the leisure time of working people, including the gaining of a Saturday half day off, and this helped to promote team games like football.

In Queensland, the Anglo-Queensland Football Association was formed in 1886 and regular matches were held between several Brisbane teams. The Pineapple Hotel was used as headquarters of the Association and a team called the Pineapple Rangers was formed and played in the field behind the hotel, now used again for soccer games. The first soccer game played in Ipswich took place on the North Ipswich Reserve on 26 June 1886. Ipswich became officially involved with the Association from 1887. In 1889, the Association changed its name to the Queensland British Football Association. In the 1890s the game was well promoted and popular in Queensland; Maryborough and Rockhampton also having strong association football teams. Intercolonial matches were staged and in 1914 Brisbane hosted the second annual conference of the Commonwealth Football Association.

The land comprising Ebbw Vale Memorial Park was formed from Lot 227 acquired by William, Joseph, John and James Stafford in 1890 and an irregularly shaped strip of land, part of the adjoining lot 226, which was added to the block in 1892. The Stafford brothers owned the Whitwood Colliery, having sunk the Whitwood number 1 shaft near the end of Whitwood Road, Ebbw Vale in 1887. In 1899, number 2 shaft was sunk on the northern side of the Brisbane-Ipswich Railway line opposite Railway Street. The coal reserves in this area had previously been proven by driving a tunnel under the soccer field from the first shaft.

Several collieries had football teams formed by miners including Stafford brothers at Dinmore, Wright’s at Tivoli and Lewis Thomas at Blackstone. The first soccer game at the Whitwood ground to receive press coverage was held on 5 July 1892, though it is clear that games had already been held there for some time. The home team at that game was a combination from the players of the Bush Rats, Dinmore and Whitwood teams. By 1893, the Whitwood ground was also being referred to as ‘St Helen’s’ as well and this name was later used for the football team itself. In 1909, when the nearby railway station opened, it was also called St Helens, before being renamed Ebbw Vale the following year. Ebbw Vale is a town in Wales and was the name of an early coal mine in the area.

In 1904 James Stafford left the colliery partnership and during 1911 all three of his brothers died. Johanna Stafford, widow of Joseph, took over the running of the business, though rising costs and a falling market affected profits. By 1917 she was in partnership with her brother in law, Richard Darker and his son, Walter. Around this time, members of the St Helen’s Club, officially formed in 1912, were raising money locally with the intention of purchasing the ground, already referred to in 1915 by the Queensland Times as ’the famous old Whitwood ground’. This did not eventuate and in 1924, the Council of the Shire of Moreton acquired the land, although the mining rights below 70 feet continued with the colliery.

Responsibility for running and maintaining the field was originally in the care of ‘trustees’ from the local community and it continued to be cared for by volunteer effort, in some cases over three or four generations of the same families. The players are said to have originally used a stand of trees on the ground for changing and then the verandah of Stan McCrea’s house nearby.

In the 1940s, team sports suffered as players were called up for the defence forces, but St Helen’s organised the ‘Ipswich Essentials’ composed of miners, railway employees and others in reserved ‘essential’ occupations. After the war, the club entered a golden era when soccer was very popular in Ipswich and matches between the four major district teams, Saint Helen’s, Blackstone Rovers, Bundamba Rangers and the Dinmore Bushrats, were hotly contested. St Helen’s was a very successful club and had large spectator support and a number of outstanding players. Lance Petie, Duncan McKenna and Chas Matters played for Queensland and Alan ‘Oscar’ Pitcairn, Gordon ‘Bunny’Nunn, Col Kitching, Cliff Sander and Brian Vogler all played for Australia. Sander, Vogler and Kitching represented Australia in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic team, together with coach Al Warren. 1956 was a peak year for St Helen’s peak when they won all major trophies offered.

In the 1960s soccer in Queensland became more professional and top players were drawn to major ethnic clubs in Brisbane. This inevitably had an effect on teams like St Helen’s that lost players. Dinmore merged with Redbank and then this club merged with St Helens in 1966 to form St Helens United. In 1967 St Helens regained some team members and won the Ampol Cup.

In 1969, the local war memorial was moved to the grounds from near the Ebbw Vale railway station. This digger statue on a sandstone pedestal was made by A L Petrie and was unveiled on 14 May 1918. It honours those from the area who served in WW I and includes the names of several soccer team members including William Jeffrey, Peter Jeffrey, H Mills and possibly LW Breslin

Ebbw Vale became a suburb of Ipswich in 1949 and in 1971 a new certificate of title was issued to the Council of the City of Ipswich. It continued to be leased to the sports club, initially through individuals, then from 1993 to St Helen’s United Soccer and Recreation Club Inc. At this time, the clubhouse was built using volunteer labour.

St Helen’s merged with Coalstars Soccer Club in 1997 to form the Ipswich Knights. At the time it was agreed that the Coalstars’ ground would be upgraded to QSF Premier League standards and the Ebbw Vale field used women’s and junior matches. Some local families now have fourth generation members playing soccer on the field. While soccer has always been played at the ground, it has also provided a venue for cricket and for baseball, softball and touch football. Other clubs have also used the facilities. The field, being an accessible open space, has also been used for community gatherings at Christmas and on Australia Day. A community breakfast was held of the field for Anzac Day 2002.


Ebbw Vale is a small suburb and the soccer field occupies approximately 1/7 of the populated land area.

The park contains two playing fields. The original soccer field faces Brisbane Road and the second field to the rear of the site is also used for cricket, baseball, softball and touch football as well as swap meets and other gatherings.

A car park and a two-storey brick clubhouse separate the two fields. The clubhouse has a skillion roof and large windows on the upper storey that overlook the main soccer field. There is also a bank of stands and a viewing box, a small canteen and concrete toilet block, a metal storage shed and a recreation area comprising a shelter, picnic tables and benches

The other major feature of the park is the war memorial that is situated at the corner of Brisbane Road and Jordan Street. It comprises a square granite base supporting a pedestal of white Helidon sandstone and a life-sized statue of a Digger in marching kit above crossed British and Australian flags. Pilasters of brown sandstone with Corinthian capitals separate recessed marble plaques on each face of the pedestal. These bear the names of 22 volunteers from the district.


Information about places in the Queensland Heritage Register is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992. Information available here is only part of the full Register entry and should not be taken as an official entry. Absence does not mean a particular place is not in the Register.

Certified copies of the full entries in the Register are available for a fee. You can also search the full Register for a fee to find out if a place or parcel of land is listed or otherwise affected by the Act.

Last updated: 28 Oct 2004

John Brannock's Story            
Chass's Story 

The attached profile of Mt Coot-Tha was developed by Dr Charles Coin a couple of years before he died. Perhaps your extensive clientele of web-fans would like to view its complexity and severity to remind them of why the mountain hurts so much.
Cheers,                  Link to Charles's Mt Coo-Tha
John                      If anyone can follow it let me know

Thanks  Sevin.           

Star Date: Once upon a Sunday morning.

Captains log: The pack is 300 metres from the big sprint. The       
winner takes several sheep stations, a holiday in the Bahamas,             
the love of a beautiful woman, and the respect of his peers.                   
You'd hope so, you wouldn't carry on like this for nothing -
surely ???

Anyway the usual suspects have launched themselves toward that
special line only they can see.

Watching Greg Minney sprinting out of the saddle, is to watch
accumulated years of experience,  poetry in motion.....blah,
blah, blah, etc...
See him rock from side to side,  Go Greg, Go, shoulders &
forearms bunching alternately, streams of frothy spittle trailing
over his shoulders. His neck now invisible, the line from his
arse to the top of his helmet a smooth arc.
See him moving up through the try-hards, see his stem

Hmmm  this could hurt... however this is  Greg, accumulated years
of experience and all that. If anyone has a trick to a given
situation this is the man.

Remember the smooth curve of his back, well hold on to your hats,
it's almost the same as the front wheel. As Neil from the 'Young
Ones' would say
"Like spooky man".
So as Greg plunges forward, still clutching his handlebars, he
becomes the wheels new outer layer. Rather than hitting the
ground with a thud/splatt, he's smoothly transferred to a point
almost under the wheel with the faintest of squish sounds.

In a perfect world, the unladen machine would continue harmlessly
over a slightly bemused Greg. With lightening reflexes and
consummate bike handling skills, the following pack would neatly
skirt Greg before catching and guiding the runaway to the side of
the road.

Meanwhile back in Hubbard Racing world - thanks to clipless
pedals - what would've been the smoothest dismount of all time,
now becomes a judo roll with bike. Restarting the video  from the
point almost under the wheel, we see Greg deciding he can let go
of the handlebars. His legs now come over the top and the bike
does it's best to keep up. Somewhere above his head,  the bike
loses all interest in Greg, detaches itself and rises some 6 - 7
feet into the air.

Despite looking a bit dopey Greg comes to rest on the road
relatively unscathed, his remaining challenge is to survive the
avalanche of no-hopers now bearing down on him.

Brains starved of oxygen, a collective IQ of 35, a repertoire of
skills limited to skid braking and screaming,..... Greg's in
serious trouble. The pack thought processes runs something like

What the f@#$% is he doing?????,
Shite he's crashed - right in front me!!!!
 Christ - is he big or what??? I can't get over that...
What the ...., is that a bike up there ?
Jesus where's it coming down ??
F****ng move over  #!@&*, no way that's landing on me

Miraculously, no-one
a) hits Greg,
b)  hits each other
c)  catches a flying bike
d) has the faintest how they survived

Before coming back and dragging Greg into the gutter, everyone
stops to congratulate each other on their bike handling skills.
Once in the gutter a garden chair is borrowed from the Avis car
park, and Greg installed in it.  Along with the pieces of ITM
stem, there are quite a few pieces of EFKGH (Esky Formerly Known
as Greg's Helmet) scattered about the tar. Good a time as any to
find out how well it worked. The standard checklist of the
cycling healthcare is administered by several bystanders who may
or may not have a clue. Starting with:

How many fingers??? No not yours - the ones in front of you.
What day of the week is it?
What 's your name, where do you live, what's your favourite TV
What is the air speed of an unladen swallow?

Sadly some of the questions are simply gratuitous and personal,
taking cheap shots at a fellow sprinter down on his luck. I know
I speak for the vast majority of Hubbards in deploring the
rubbishing of fellow athletes outside accepted norms (ie
character assassination back at the café, wearing of girly
coloured kit, using  "Crazy Pierre" type componentry, tri-bars,
bad haircuts, mullets, etc....)

Encouragingly Greg not only manages to convincingly answer all of
the above, but is able to threaten some of the closer
"healthworkers" with imminent violence if they don't desist.

This is as far as I've got, trouble is I'm not entirely sure how
to finish it, or whether the body of it makes sense. In fact it's
a pretty good example of why I was so crap @ English at school,
or holding a coherent conversation for that matter.

So as the WebMeister feel free to make any editorial suggestion,
point out spelling mistakes. etc.
It needs a conclusion, a moral of the tale sort of thing. But I
don't want to draw the obvious conclusion that Helmet wearing is
a good thing. You could conclude that it's safer not be too close
to Greg or any other of the hard chargers  - Jeez I don't know,
come up with some suggestions


Subject: A Head Start         From   John Brannock

Dear Sir,
A recent accident I suffered in the Adelaide Hills reminded me of the January/February 2003 Bicycling Australia article by John Hardwick on safe helmets with its conclusion that you "don't skimp on your head".
Last month, while looking forward to watching another stage of the Tour Down Under, a few Queensland mates and a couple of locals were trying out Nortons Summit before the temp rose above 40 degrees. On the way down at 70km/hr+, a rock jumped out of nowhere and blew my front tyre. Well, I did the right thing and up-ended and used my head as a battering ram against the bitumen. The end result - my helmet was mashed but my head was OK.
Even though the helmet didn't stop me receiving multiple fractured ribs and a punctured lung, it did save my (arguably) most valuable asset. It was worth spending a bit more on quality head protection, in my case a Lima F11 (as shown on page 76 of your article), with its adjustable head harness and padding. My local bike shop even replaced the busted Lima with a new one at half the usual cost.
The moral of this story is to treat your head to something decent and learn to bunnyhop rocks!
 John Brannock


Thanks John, I'll be including your letter in the May/June issue. I agree, helmets save lives. Sad news about Kivilev and he was not wearing a helmet, Maybe it would have helped him, maybe not, but there is no doubt that helmets save lives.

Martin Vedris
Editor, Bicycling Australia and Bicycling Trade
Phone (02) 4225 9111
Mobile 0411 509 389
Fax (02) 4225 7422

Chass got to an article on the Sports Page of a Cold Coast News Paper.       Back to Racing Page
The headline read Lindsay fast becoming a Threat.                                          
Top of Page


Brisbane cyclist, John Lindsay, gave me the following exclusive. He said that he had ridden an unbelievable race, as the day before, he had been suffering from pleurisy/flu/plague. But believing he could win, he made it to the start.

Thinking as he does, he decided to upset people at the start by telling them that he was the dark horse in the field as only recently he had beaten Terry Peters, Hank Vogles and Robbie McKewan.  He added that it would have been O’Grady, too, but he left for overseas when he heard John was entering the race.

I started to ask John about the race but before I could, a blast of very hot air gushed towards me, followed by this astounding tale of unbelievable skill and courage, and all this while his head was pushing out from under his helmet.

He actually missed the start by 25 minutes as he was telling a herd of cows how he was going to destroy the field. 



He said that he kept going feeling very angry at them for not waiting at the start  But the thought of meeting them over the next 20 years and reliving his victor inspired him further.  Apparently, they don’t have much to talk about! John went on to assure me that this was only half the story. 

John said that with about 5 kms to go, he had an attack of the guilts, so he decided to knock on a few doors of the local residents and tell them how far in front he was.John was pleased to accept a lunch invite from one old couple.

John thought, why not, as he had about 1 hour to spare, with only 5kms to go. 

He though that some of the guys would appreciate his sportsmanship. Feeling very full of the steak and four hot pies lunch, he waved good-bye to the old couple, who he said never said a word. This correspondent found that a complaint had been maid by the elderly couple. They were suffering from cronic pain in the ears. John went on to say that with only 4 kms to go, no-one way helping him. One cyclist is reported to have said later, "we didn't want to hear of his cycling exploits!"          This is how John describes the thrilling last 1 km.   "I’m felling better now, imagine how I would have gone if I felt this way at the start.






They were catching up now. I looked down at my speedo- BLOODY HELL- I WAS ONLY DOING 65KPH! I hoped that I hadn’t given them a shot at me!

Then wouldn’t you know it- with 400 metres to go- I got 2 punctures! Christ, I thought, this might have blown it!But I quickly changed one tyre, left the other and went after them.  

With 50 metres to go, I caught up with them, and I knew I had it in the bag!  I eased up to make it look good and still won by 50 metres.  I had so much momentum going I decided to cycle on to Murwillumbah and order a few papers as I knew it would be in the local and overseas papers. My only disappointment was finding out the $30 prize money was not $3000 as deserved.  I suppose this will make winning another handicap race very hard, now that everyone will hear of this win. They will if I have anything to do with it!"


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