Where and how did it all begin? Well, from little things big things grow.
In the late 1950’s, a man by the name of Harold ‘Steve’ Stevens sowed the seed.
Harold Stevens was a very community minded individual and later became a councillor and subsequently a Mayor of the then City of Moorabbin.
‘Steve’ as he was known to family and friends, took it upon himself to establish a gymnasium for local boys. This humble gym was housed in a church hall in a suburb which no longer officially exists – Ormond East. The church hall belonged to the St Anne’s parish and was situated in Moylan Street, just off Tucker Road.
Steve, who was born in 1915 and lived in Moylan St, established the gym specifically for boys aged between 9 – 12 years of age.
But such was the popularity of Steve’s gym that it was not long before he was looking for another project through which he could provide local boys with a safe and healthy outlet. Steve decided to form a football team. It would be overstating things to say that Steve formed a football club, as he literally had just one team. He called the team St Anne’s, and in 1959 named the growing entity the ‘St Anne’s Football Club’.
Let’s wander through the decades that have since followed and briefly track the ups and downs of a mighty organization.
St Anne’s, as we will simply call it, joined the Bentleigh McKinnon Youth Centre Junior Football League (BMYCFL) competition in 1960. The League had just three divisions, namely Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15. St Anne’s were given navy blue jumpers by the League, and soon were known as ‘the Blues’.
In their first season, St Anne’s competed in the Under 11 competition against five teams: St Peters, McKinnon Demons, Murrumbeena, Bentleigh and St Pauls. Games were played on Saturday mornings as the City of Moorabbin did not allow competition football to be played on its grounds on Sundays until 1965.
St Anne’s quickly demonstrated its potential on the field, acquitting itself admirably in its first two seasons. But 1962 was particularly memorable as this was the year that the Under 11 team won its first ever premiership.
During the 60’s, the club, which had no club rooms or home ground, played its matches at a variety of grounds including King George Reserve in East Boundary Road, McKinnon Oval in Tucker Road and Bailey Reserve also in East Boundary Road.
From what the records tell us, the 60’s was an exciting period for the club as it was during this time that the club not only laid its foundations, but also cemented its place as a permanent fixture in local junior football, growing to field a full complement of three teams. By 1964, it had teams in Under 11’s, 13’s and 15’s. In 1965, all three teams travelled to Adelaide to play games hosted by the Central Districts Football Association.
In 1969, the club changed its name to ‘Ormond Blues Football Club’, and Steve Stevens was bestowed the honour of being made the first life member of the club.
Success on the field largely eluded the club during the 1970’s, but it’s Under 13 team won the Premiership in 1977. Throughout the decade, the club continued to have teams travel to Adelaide and Lavington each alternate year, and hosted teams from those areas.
The League competition was still only for Under 11, 13 and 15 teams.
In 1974, former players Steve Smith and Andrew Chisholm were drafted by the Melbourne Football Club. Steve Smith went on to play over 200 games for Melbourne.
Steve Stevens continued as club President for an amazing seventeen years until 1976, when Brian Smith (the father of Steve Smith) took over as President.
In 1981, the new club President, Keith Heggart, introduced the first ‘Annual Report” thereby setting a precedent for future Committees. In the same year, Steve Stevens was made the club patron.
The annual reports in the first few years of this decade leave you in no doubt that there was a lack of parental support or interest around the club. There was a scarcity of people willing to put their hand up and take on roles such as coach, team manager and committee member. Despite this, in 1982, the club still managed to send 43 boys and 7 officials to Tasmania to play games hosted by the Claremont Football Club.
In 1983, President Cedric Keane – a life member of the club – wrote in the Annual Report that the start of the season had been the most testing in all of his eighteen years with the club. He reflected that the season had begun with no secretary, no treasurer, three vacant committee positions, no Under 11 coach or manager, no under 13 coach, and no under 15 team manager!
As is always the case in situations such as this, the tireless efforts of a few keep things going and 1983 was no exception. Eventually Cedric Keane found people for all positions.
Not surprisingly, the war cry went out at the start of season 1984 and a new slogan was adopted by the club: ‘We can do it if you can’.
1984 saw the club celebrate its Silver Anniversary, and at its AGM on the 8th of October, it changed its name to “Ormond Blues Junior Football Club” and entered into an Affiliation Agreement with the Ormond Amateur Football Club (OAFC). Each club saw a relationship with the other as vital to its long term viability. It was agreed to trial a closer working relationship for season 1985, and to review the success of this at the end of the year.
It was agreed for the sake of this ‘experiment’ that the junior club would manage all teams from Under 15’s down, while the senior club would take control of Under 16’s and up.
The affiliation between our two great clubs also meant that we as a junior club had a new home; EE Gunn Reserve.
All three teams made the finals. This had never happened before in the history of the club. While the U13’s and U15’s fell short of winning their respective premierships, the Under 11’s took out the flag for the third time. Marnie Sheehy became the first girl to play for the club (Under 11’s). In short, this had been the most successful year ever for the club when measured in terms of on field success.
By the end of season 1985, it was agreed by both clubs that the trial affiliation had been a very positive development and that both parties should commit to a long term relationship with one another.
With the benefits of a supportive senior club, the junior club was thereafter able to invest in its younger age groups.
1985 was also the year when the club first introduced an Under 10 side playing under modified rules, such as we are accustomed to today.
In 1985, the words to our club theme song changed. You all know the current words, but did any of you know that there was an earlier version the words sung to same tune?
It went like this:
“We’re a grand old Club
Everyone knows “The Blues”,
Wearing O-B’s for me and for you,
What is there to compare, in the things we share,
With the club that is all “True Blue”
We’re a grand Old Club,
We’ve got pride in our teams
You can join us if you choose
We’re here to win our coach will shout
Keep your eyes on the Ormond Blues’
In 1986, the club incorporated under the Association Incorporation Act 1981.
The club enter an Under 14 team in the Chelsea District Junior Football League in 1987, playing games on Sundays. U10, 11,13 & 15 teams continued to play on Saturdays in the BMYCFL. The Under 13 team won the Premiership that year.
In 1988, the Chelsea District Junior Football League merged with the St Kilda Junior Football League to form the Moorabbin Saints Junior Football League (MSJFL). The Under 15 team won the Premiership that year.
In 1989, the BMJFL ceased its competition as all local clubs joined the newly formed Moorabbin Saints Junior Football League. The club entered six teams (U9 to U13, & U15), all playing on Sundays.
In 1990, the club changed its jumper. Until then, the club colours had been navy blue and white, much like a Carlton jumper, even down to a white monogram in the centre.
The affiliation with the senior club prompted the junior committee at the time to change the jumper and adopt the same design as the senior club, which is of course the club’s design to this day.
In that year Premierships were won by the Under 10 East and Under 13 teams.
In 1991, Premierships were won by the Under 11 West and Under 14 East teams.
By the mid 1990’s the club commenced publication of a weekly newsletter prepared by Rick Martin and it was originally called “Keep Spreading the News, We are Ormond Blues’, then later simply called “Ormond Blues News”.
In 1998, Premierships were won by the Under 15 West team, and the Under 16 team controlled by the senior club.
In the 2000’s, the club went through a period of growth. This can be attributed to a variety of factors not least of which is that the Ormond district itself had undergone a period of renewal with young families replacing older families and bringing a new market of potential junior footballers to our area.
The efforts of several people at the club helped to invigorate the Ormond Auskick program thereby ensuring continued growth throughout the decade.
In 2001, the club changed its name to “Ormond Junior Football Club” and established a joint website with OAFC. The following year, its constitution was changed to allow fielding of U16 & U17 teams.
In February 2006, the club founder ‘Steve’ Stevens passed away, aged 92 years.
In season 2009, the club celebrated its 50th year, and we estimate that Ormond Junior Football Club past its 5,000th match! A then record sixteen teams were entered, with five teams winning Premierships. 500 children played and/or took part in Fair Go and Auskick.
The club continued to flourish and by 2012 had nineteen teams, including its first Under 12 girls’ team, entered in the renamed South Metro Junior Football League.
The main oval was redeveloped in 2010 and a new electronic scoreboard erected in 2014.
Seventeen Premierships have been won in this decade.
Simple mathematics tells us the Ormond jumper has been worn more than 100,000 times in matches! A staggering achievement for a club that started in a humble church hall in a side street in Ormond East.
Since its humble beginnings, the club has won 38 Premierships and produced twelve VFL/AFL players including great players such as Steve Smith who played 203 games for Melbourne, Matty Robbins who played 7 games for Geelong and 139 games for Western Bulldogs, and current Melbourne players Max Gawn and Sam Frost, and current Richmond player Jack Higgins.
We owe it to Steve Stevens, Cedric Keane and the many, many others like him who have kept the flame burning brightly. And we certainly owe it to the children of the Ormond district to never lose the vision that these Ormond pioneers must surely have had.
All these years later, to some of us we are still the Ormond Blues. To some we are the Monders.
But we can all say for sure that..
We are Ormond!