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150 Years of Athletics at The King’s School

The boys of The King’s School Athletics team are no strangers to hard work, dedication, resilience and determination as this year Athletics at King’s celebrates 150 years since the first official Track and Field Carnival was held in Parramatta Park. The Foundation Committee consisted of Rev G F Macarthur, WR Burkitt and William Dalmas. 

The Club’s survival depended on donations from interested Old Boys and friends of the School for the Club was not supported by School funds and the competitors paid entry fees to compete. All prizes were donated and the early carnivals were clearly social occasions with afternoon tea, the band playing and bike riding accompanying the fifteen events which took place from the early afternoon.

There were no House colours until 1911 and so the boys who competed wore their own colours. E A Roberts, (TKS 1888-90) the first recipient of the St John Gray Cup (1888) raced in “war paint” while PM Lane (TKS 1888-90) the following year could be seen in “smashed beetle and white.”

Unlike present times there was little or no instruction in technique, style or training, the interested boys relying on natural ability and strength. Even JS White who won the Australian and GPS record for the hurdles in 1930 did so without the help of a coach and often wondered what he might have achieved with the instruction and support the boys have access to today. Then like today Athletics was squeezed in between the end of Rugby and the beginning of Cricket. The School carnival was almost always held on the last Saturday of Second Term, in late August or early September.

Each generation of Athletes has their special moment where their talent is lauded by their cohort, MH Rylance (1926 440yds), JS White (1930 Hurdles), BE Primrose ( 1956 Open High Jump), SA Walker, one of whose School record still stands (1975 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500ms ) and PP Harvey (1975, 3000 ms) are some of those past Athletes who were cheered on by their peers. There are many more in the recent past, ND Bills, NA Hough, JW Clarke, JJ Stapleton and what they all have in common is the determination to always do their very best as they run in the sky blue and white with the support of the School as they complete their event. The roar of the crowd certainly spurred on this victory in 2008. You can click click here to watch.   

All the very best to our Athletes and coaches led by Mr Ben Gavan in our 150th year of Athletics at the AAGPS Carnival this Saturday at Homebush.

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