VEFC Infrastructure

Building projects at Complex: Bob Austin

During my time there quite a few projects happen,some small and some quite large. The only thing that held us back was there wasn't much money in the bank.[in the late eighties we were unable to pay a $200.00 phone bill in November, By the early nineties we had saved $10,000.00 which was put in a long term investment account so that if we ever needed money for an unexpected expense it would be there].But like true working class we shopped around for bargains or just went without.

Small projects:

P.A. System-In the early nineties we only a a one speaker system that we would put up each game day and unless you stood underneath it you couldn't hear anyone talk. Keith Anderson who worked for the public works had came accross a small system with a few speakers during his travels with work. Keith approached me and said that for the grand total of about $200.00 we could have it. Was to good a bargain to pass up and David and I needed something to do anyway,whilst we were installing it we decided to put a up a set of air horns as well.

Blackboard and Cupboard in Change rooms: When Gary Bergquist took over as Coach of Valentine-Cookers he did so on the agreement that we put up a Blackboard, gear cupboard and team selection board. I think Brian Cox found the blackboard. David did all the rest one week as it was raining and he could not work.Cost- one tin of blackboard paint.

Turf on Cricket wicket:
The old wicket was just painted concrete and Brian Cox [who was president of Warners Bay Junior Cricket Club at the time] approached the club and said that if they paid for it to be covered would the care and control committee have any concerns about it. Answer-NO Cost-Nothing.

Ground Care:
Every second year from about 1987 till 1997 David and Bob would re turf all goalmouths and bare patches on the ground,would buy turf from Mandalong[near Wyong]they had the best price  and the guy there would also give us a discount because we were doing it for a sporting body, Hop in David's truck drive down pick up a load and return to Complex and lay it.We would buy about 300 square metres each year.Cost turf- $150.00 Fuel and Labour-1 dozen beers[that were drunk after laying turf].

We would also spray the fields for Grubs,Crickets,Weeds and fertilise it twice a year[September and February]Cost-$600.00.We approached Steve Britt who was the greenkeeper at Valentine Bowling Club at the time and asked for his guidance and he was more than willing to help and supervise us as we needed to have someone with experience with chemicals and pesticides. In later years Neil Younger a local pest controller also helped .

To do the spraying we needed to set up a vehicle and water tanks and a pump with spray boom. Vehicle -David's truck, pump - David’s old pool pump,spray boom had to make that and buy a few parts,water tank 2 x 44 gallon drums. Cost-about $30.00 for fittings. Labour and fuel-1 dozen beers at works end.

For years we had benches like all clubs on half-way and in the early 90s decided that we wanted proper dugouts. Meeting declared that David would investigate costs. As per normal it was done at minimum cost to the club. Had to buy steel for frames, colourbond sheeting and that's all about $500.00. Concrete,labour and anything else nil. David did most of the work with John Clinton welding the frame together and the rest of us supplied the labour.

Ride on Mower:
My first real project at the club was the old ride on. In 1985 the then Secretary Col Edwards asked me if I could have a look at the mower that the club owned and see if I could get it going. Me being me said no dramas Col just dropped it of at work and I'll have a look at it. Three weeks later and about 40 hours labour it was up and running again. Cost- Nil. It lasted about another five years and then sat at the back shed for another 18 months before the new gear steward Phil Soloman came across it when looking for training gear and said he would have a go at fixing it as he had just opened up his own business at Warners Bay called PSC. Three weeks later the ride on was back and running at a cost of Nil. I think David traded it in on the next one the club bought about six years later.

Club Insurance:
The club was very lucky in the early years to have a member in Bruce Harris who looked after the clubs insurance for many years. In 1991 a meeting decided that we should look at making sure that all policies were up to date, I took the insurance file to Chris Moylan [it was always agreed that a member of the club would have a chance at getting business from the club at all times],Bruce Harris no longer had kids in the club and therefore we decided to let Chris give us a quote.

Chris got back to me a few days later and said that not only were the policies up to date with our requirements,but we would be foolish to change from Bruce and go anywhere else. Bruce Harris a great friend of Valentine-Eleebana Soccer Club.

Canteen Re fit:
In the mid 90s the canteen was broken into and the front counter was damaged and had to be replaced,as per normal David was in charge of replacing it and was doing after work during the week. Brian Cox was in attendance and said to David that canteen kitchen needed renovating and a tidy up as well, David said that we only had the rest of the week to do it as we had comp games at the weekend. I was out training with the Tingira Teams and when I came in David, Brian, Ian Armstrong had removed the old benches,cupboards and shelves and were decided what new ones we needed. That was a Tuesday and on the Thursday night after training 90% was installed. Called round on the Friday after work and helped David do the finishing touches. Cost about $500.00.

In recent years, the canteens at Valentine and Eleebana Oval have been refitted again with the kind assistance of Paul Neilson

Extension to Office:
The office during each season always became a storage shed for one reason or another and was always untidy so in the late 90s it was decide that we would bring it out to be level with the rest of the building and give us a place to store things,once again David was in charge and it was done in the afternoons after work. Cost $800.00.Brian Cox, Ian Armstrong, Richard Poole, Terry Rhoades-Brown were the main helpers.

Ashphalt Pathway at side of Office:
Access to the club down that side of the Club was always very muddy when it rained and Tony Herzog organised for it to be ashphalted and cleaned up. At the same time the potholes in the carpark were fixed. Cost-Nil

Update council records on improvements:
At a club meeting when it was decided to extend the office Tony Herzog suggested that we update the council records because they needed to come in to line with the building regulations and there was no record at council that we had done the improvements and if requested we would have to demolish all work done.

It was agreed that Tony update to records to include the office extension, I then suggested that he check up on the BBQ shed[it was built about 9 years beforehand] as I knew we had put in a building application but was pretty sure that it was never approved and David then said if Tony was going to go to all that trouble he might as well get the office,the awning at the front[built about 8 years beforehand] and the storage part at the back of the building approved as well.

So for the next 4 months Tony was kept busy updating all the building records of the club.Cost- Nil

Practice goals and nets to the side of the BBQ shed:
David and I put that up over two weekends in the early 90s.It took great deal of wear and tear off the goal mouths on the field and rhe local had a permanent net to practice in every day. Cost-Nil

Watering of the Fields During Summer:
For over ten years that was one of the most simple tasks- At about 4.30am every morning I would shift and turn on the sprinklers on my way to work and in the afternoons at about 4.30pm David would shift the sprinklers to a new location.Only hicup that we had was that a local neighbour felt we were wasting water and use to turn off the water at the mains in the carpark,so one day I brought a hacksaw with me and turned the water on and then cut off the tap so he couldn't turn it off.

With Sponsorship from Empire Trade Exchange we installed Underground Water in 2005 – cost $30,000

Cleaning of office and canteen:
For many years Bronwen Broadley would vacuum and spring clean the office when required[one time Alan Broadley suggested to me that there was so much dirt and dust in the office that he thought it had helped destroy Bronwen's Vacuum cleaner,

I assured Al that was not the case and it was probably occurred because he had bought a substandard vacuum for Bronwen, The positive out of this was that Bronwen got a top of the line Vacuum bought by Al at no cost to the club].Margaret Foreman would also  give the canteen and BBQ a good clean when required. Both ladies were never asked to do this they just took it upon themselves to perform these tasks.

Complex always looked cleaned on every Saturday:
The reason why Complex always looked cleaned on a Saturday was because David and I and in later years Richard Poole and Terry Rhoades -Brown would meet at Complex on a Friday and clean the toilets, hose the dressing sheds and underneath the awnings and have a beer and talk about upcoming events,what we needed to do and solve or address any problems that had arisen in the past seven days.

Major projects at Complex: Bob Austin
During my time at Complex all projects were carried out by licensed trades people or professionals at no time did any of the work not meet all government authorities requirements or building codes.
Also I found that there were a lot of people willing to help the club they just had to approached in the right manner[ a gift that I just seemed to have]and more people were willing to help if they could see  results happen around them. I always tried to make improvements to the infrastructure of the club and facilities.

BBQ Shed:
In the late 80s the club decided to build a separate BBQ shed, I spoke to a  club member Bob Johnson who was a plumber and asked him would he help get things rolling and do the pipe work,Rob agreed and we were up and running and within days

David Foreman assisted in digging the footings and formed the slab. Rowan Spong had just built a house across the road from the club and came over one afternoon and introduced himself told us that he had a young bloke who was going to play the following year. Rowan asked us what we were doing and he was keen to help,told him we were going to pour the slab on Saturday and he was more than welcome. After that we purchased the bricks and David and Rowan were the brickies and I was the Labourer. It us two weekends to complete the brick work. Rowan organised the roof at cost and David and I put the roller door on the front and the back door. Rob Johnson connected the water and also got the hot water system donated. Garry Baker did all the electrical work. David and I laid the tiles, built the cupboards and benches and painted it on the inside. A former club president Ross Hutchison got us the BBQ at huge discount and David organised the stainless steel surrounds with the Tech College. Overall we had a $15,000.00 extension done for around $4,000.00.

Drainage of the fields:  Bob Austin
The drainage of the fields was done in three stages.

Stage 1 was done before my time and was only done on field two and it was a wishbone system that dispersed the water to the side of the fields and took the water away from the main traffic areas[quite affective and used on golf courses mainly].

Stage 2 was done in the late 80s and was something David and I came up with. There is a two metre storm water pipe that runs directly under ground one from the edge of the six yard box at the canteen end to the corner flag at the far end and we simply dug line trenches across the fields to the storm water pipe and then down and into the storm water pipe so that the water would drain away. Took about two weekends and the total cost was about$1500.00.Many thanks to Ron Tayor from Cordukes who donated the trench diggers at no cost.

Stage 3 was just to put in more trenches across ground one as there was still a lot of surface water on the ground after heavy rain Richard Poole and I organised the workers this time and Richard arrange for the Machinery. Cost about $1500.00.

Overall the grounds for drainage were as good as any ground in the area except for the grounds that are built on a sandbase.

There has been significant work done on Ground drainage since with the assistance of the Commonwealth Governments Work for the Dole scheme, special thanks to Dave Cooper our WFD superviser.

Front Garden:
In the early 90s Terry Rhoades-Brown decided to build a garden out the front of the club as it was just bare ground and was an eyesore. He spoke to myself and David and asked how much money could he spend on it and we told him nothing. TRB built the club a garden. Cost $500.00 (Urban myth has it that TRB has promised to look after the garden – free of charge – for life!).

Floodlighting at Complex:

When I came to Complex there were a total of six floodlights at the ground.Two on ground two and four on ground one.The club applied for more lighting and in the early 90s L.M.M.C. informed us that an upgrade was pending and requested that we have a site meeting with the council representative. David and I did our homework and met with Rod one afternoon at Complex. Rod told us that we had been granted $14,000.00 and that because we needed two poles on the far side of ground two we would only get six lights installed.

David and I had other ideas and told Rod of our plans and suggested that if we could be given permission from him to deal with the contractor ourselves we might be able to get more value for the money that was allocated. Rod agreed and David and I set about trying to get costs down. In the end we arranged for the two poles to be erected and four extra lights and after meeting with the contractor HCB electrical [who were very helpful and realised that we were only trying to get maximum value for the club] we had to install the wires from the metre box to the first power pole[but not connect].

Eleebana lights upgrade:
With the lights at Complex now complete.We were notified that the grant for the upgrade of the lighting system at Eleebana Oval had been approved. HCB Electrical had been awarded the contract and four new poles and four lights were installed. Cost-Nil So now both Complex and Eleebana Oval had very good lighting and only the up keep of the equipment was required.

Following the Sydney Olympics, Terry Rhodes Brown was able to purchase surplus lights and the lights at Eleebana Oval were doubled.

Awning extension:

With the club now doing well financially David and I decided that we needed to extend the awning at the front of the club.So at Easter 1992 we started and completed the job in about three weeks
Cost- $1500.00.
The awning was further extended in 2005 with support from Empire Trade Exchange – cost approx $40,000

In 1993 the club decided to keep up with the times and the club purchased a laptop computer from club member Larry Hammett. It was mainly used by the registrar and the secretary.Cost-$1200.00.

In 2011 the club was donated 3 computers by Mr Rental

Ride on Mower:
In the late 80s the old ride on died and David shopped around for about 3 months and finally bought a new one Cost: about $4000.00

New Line marker:
Also in the mid 90s the club bought a new battery powered Line Marker Cost:3000.00

Liquor Licence

During this time the Soccer Club due to the efforts of Bob Austin and David Foreman had developed a very good relationship with Valentine-Eleebana Junior Rugby League Club.

Bob: ”After having done work down at the grounds one weekend David and I had a quite beer with the president of the league's club Mr Garry Payne,who had noticed that we had started a Friday night comp and that we were selling beer. He suggested that we should apply and get a Liquor Licence.”

The league's club had been running a touch football comp for nearly ten years on a Thursday night and during the last few years there had been a few complaints from local residents about the selling of alcohol. David and Bob took this back to the next club meeting and it was left up to Bob to investigate and apply.

We had concerns about Macquarie Soccer Association stopping us from having a liquor licence – we had been informed that if we took out the Liquor Licence under the name of Valentine-Eleebana Soccer Club Incorporated we would need  the approval from Macquarie Soccer Association.

Our “honorary counsel” Dennis Edwards investigated our problem and came back with the answer: Under the local government rule all council owned grounds had to have either a Ovals Board [which Cahill Oval has because it also controls Barton and the netball courts at Belmont] or for smaller sporting bodies a Care and Control Committee [which is what in place a Complex] even though the Care and Control Committee and the Soccer Club Committee are made up of the same people they are in fact two different identities.

Alan Broadley was secretary and so he became the first licensee of the Valentine-Eleebana Care and Control Commitee which looked after Valentine Complex,Eleebana Oval and Halton Oval[near the swimming pool at Valentine]. The Licence covered all three grounds  for the sale and consumption of alcohol. We were the first football club to have a Liquor Licence in the Macquarie,Hunter and Newcastle soccer associations.

As a club we felt that it was not required by us to inform Macquarie Soccer Association that the Care and Control Committee had granted us permission to sell Alcohol on game days. We had nominated that we would sell all alcohol from the BBQ shed and that no minors would be allowed in the BBQ shed, all signs required by law for the selling of alcohol were displayed.

It must have taken Macquarie a whole 3 years to finally discover that we were selling alcohol on game days and the then president of Macquarie rang Bob Austin at the grounds on the Friday night [no mobile phones in those days], We were hosting the June State Titles that weekend and David, Bob and Terry Rhoades-Brown were at Complex setting up for the titles. Mike informed me that it was Illegal to sell alcohol at a junior soccer game and that he had contacted N.N.S.W. and they had agreed with him that we were not allowed to sell beer at Complex over the weekend.

Bob “At no stage did I argue with him, the next day arrived with David at about lunchtime and we were quickly surrounded by Macquarie Directors telling us that in no uncertain terms we were not allowed to sell alcohol over the weekend. I went and purchased a beer for David and I while David went and got all the relevent paperwork and licences to show the Macquarie directors that they had no control over a council ground whatsoever. Still can't figure out why we can't win club of the year.” ( in our 40 year history - we have never won "Macquarie Club of the year")

At no stage was it the intention of the club to sell alcohol to minors or to encourage drinking to excess, it was put in place so that ordinary law abiding citizens could enjoy a drink whilst watching a game of soccer.


Over my time at the club there were many friends who donated their time or there companies expertise free of charge

The Companies and individuals are-

Wreckair Hire, Cordukes Constructions, B & B Cox Builders, Terry Dezius Electrical, Garry Bakker Electrical, Brambles, David Foreman , PSC- Phil Soloman, Bob Johnson-Plumber, Saddingtons,
LMMC, NSW State Railways, ELMA, Alcan Kurri Kurri, Phil Brown, SAS smash repairs, Gateshead Smash repairs, Carrington Crane Hire, Neil Younger Pest Control, Moylan Financial Services, Lloyd Scott, Valentine Pharmacy, Neil Bone, Tooheys, House with No Steps, John Barry, Charles Gromek-Accountant, David Simpson -Accountant, Lear and Smith Electrical, Public Works, Tony Tamplin and Newcastle Police, Ivan Welsh, Rodney Maughan, NSW public schools, Newcastle Gas Company, Cheryl Armstrong,Commonwealth Bank, Schweppes Cordial, Crosbie Sinclair Accountants, Hogan Solicitors Belmont, Lakeside Wholesalers, David Brown, Rowan Spong, Westlakes Gas, NSW Correctional Services, Drake Personnel, NewcastleBreakers, Newcastle United, Ray Dyson- Bricklayer, Newcastle Muffler Services, Ace Caravans, Mantle Landscaping, BHP, Belmont Tech College, N.N.S.W. Soccer Federation, Commodore Shop Cardiff, Tomago Smelter, Bradoo just to mention a few.

The People Concerned were:

David Foreman,J ohn Clinton, Gary Bergquist, Alan Broadley, John Kos, Tony Herzog, Richard Poole, Terry Rhoades Brown, John Keirath, Charles Gromek, David Simpson, Ron and Gina Taylor, Terry Dezius, Gary Baker, Neil Younger, Chris Moylan, Gary Atherton, Phil Brown, Keith Anderson, Ray Dyson, Alan Woods, Steve Smith, Gary and Sandra Wilcher, Ian and Cheryl Armstong, Bev and Brian Cox, Bronwen Broadley, Kerry Yates, Rowan Spong, Bob Johnson, David Briggs, Jim Wellings, Col Edwards, Ross Lucas, John Barry, Wayne Todd, Kevin Smith, Denis Edwards, Craig Burton, Jason McBeath, Ross Hutchison, Warren Miller, Peter Kinloch, Steve Jolly, Paul Cardew, Dave McQuire, Jimmy James, Bruce Stowell, John Kosmina, Bill Douglas, Dean O'Brien, Darlene and Glenn Trim, John Burns, John and Glen Broadley, Troy Rhoades-Brown, Clayton Poole, David Armstrong, Harry Vogelzang, Jim Chatzi, Phil Soloman,Neil Bone, Mark Lord, Robyn Surtees, Graham Farr, Garry Roberts, Tony Clarke, Neil Gordon, Terry Perks, Craig Clinton, Les Mustufa, Bill Turner, Brian and Loraine Mason, Troy Thomsen, Bob Gray, Eddie Boards, Chris Elkovich, Terry Aspinal, Greg McKewin, Gerrard Wheatly, Mark and Kim Stanton, Daryl Reagan, Jeff Vale and others thay I forget[SORRY].

Helping our fellow clubs:

Over the years Valentine-Eleebana has helped several clubs when required or asked.

*In the early 90s Swansea Junior Soccer Club had borrowed a tent from the local scout group when holding a state titles and it was stolen.Swansea had asked M.D.S.A. at the monthly meeting if they were prepared to help out financially in buying a replacement. We were the only club that responded.

*In the early 90s Highfields Azzurri entered a team in the NSL Youth league which played in Sydney during the summer,Wayne Simpson who coached the team approached David about playing home games at Complex We allowed them to for a small fee to cover showers and ground marking.

  • The following year Adamstown Rosebuds took the place of Azzurri in NSL Youth league and we came to the same arrangement with them.

  • In the first year of the Newcastle Breakers their coach Bruce Stowell approached me to see if they could use our ground in the months of September and October as a training ground. We came to arrangement with them one of which was that all Valentine-Eleebana Junior would recieve a free pass to all home games.

  • When John Kosmina took over as coach for the Breakers we did the same arrangement with him for the use of the grounds for training.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 February 2011 22:36)

Sell Tickets.

Run your Event.

Sell tickets, QR Code + add to wallet functionality, track attendance, receive weekly settlements - all with GameDay Events & Ticketing!

A laptop and smart phone displaying the GameDay Events app.