Former Hornets club members Cliff Perkins, Colin Hamilton and Dooley Perkins have already begun reminiscing about the good old days.
Former Hornets club members Cliff Perkins, Colin Hamilton and Dooley Perkins have already begun reminiscing about the good old days. Allan Reinikka

Big buzz over Hornets reunion

THEY were once the mighty Hornets but now one of the founder clubs of Rockhampton Hockey is no more.

That is until later this year, when the Hornets hold a reunion, giving past members a chance to share happy memories of when the club was a force in local hockey.

Formed in 1929, the Hornets had their share of success but even when all was not going well, the club remained a friendly, family-orientated group which accounts for the need to hold a get-together and regale old stories of past glory.

Dooley Perkins, Col Hamilton and Cliff Perkins got together this week and fond memories started to flow back.

For Col, the memories flood back from over 60 years ago when he joined the club immediately after the Second World War.

"I played senior men's the first year after the war," he recalled.

In those days Col was a speedy left winger.

"With all the men coming back, we had two senior teams, red and white," he said.

By 1947, Hornets were back to one team after some players joined the newly-formed Wanderers Hockey Club.

Although Col had played association football, he said it was a local businessman who persuaded him to stick with hockey.

"Old Dick Franklin, the boot maker, had a shop near where we lived," he said.

Col said he had not regretted taking advice from Franklin as he loved his years with the sport.

Not that the club relied on the boot maker to co-ordinate the Hornets' recruitment.

Eventually Hornets formed a strong link with Frenchville School where Daryl Hale was active coaching juniors.

For Dooley, his involvement at Hornets came much later.

His favourite memory was in 1974 when six Hornets teams made end-of-season grand finals.

All six won, including the senior premiership final, a game Dooley remembers very well.

"We beat Rovers 3-1," he said.

"John Quirk, Rob James and I scored."

Dooley said he was in reserve grade and got called into the action to replace his brother who had suffered a head injury.

While hockey in Rockhampton was a priority for Hornets, Dooley remembers with fondness the trips at the start and end of each season.

"We always had a pre-season trip to Bundaberg and end-of-year to Maryborough," he said.

"Later on, Hornets held their own annual one-day tournament.

"It was already sociable."

Being sociable appears to be one of the strengths of the Hornets.

The club became the first in Rockhampton to have its own clubhouse when members built their home at Kalka Shades around 1969-70.

Hornets also became the first to have a lighted playing field.

This may account for some wild training nights.

"We also used to train, but these were followed by social nights which were phenomenal," Dooley said.

"There was also a lot of fund-raising."

At this time the Hornets were financially strong, and Dooley said one of the main reasons was the work of Col Russell who was a watchful secretary-treasurer.

The Russell family is remembered for being active as club members, with Seth Russell one of the key members of the workforce constructing the clubhouse.

Unfortunately, Hornets fell foul in the numbers game in 1996 and folded due to dwindling membership.

"We handed it all over to Park Avenue," Dooley said.

He said PA was considered to have a good junior program and it was the club to which remaining Hornets members headed.

Now it is all about the reunion, set down for August 18.

The main function will be at Glenmore Homestead, Parkhurst, with a big roll-up anticipated.

Keeping the party going will be Robert Murray who will be master of ceremonies.

Ticket numbers are limited. Dooley said those in first will secure tickets, and even though the event is yet to be advertised, there have been about 45 requests.

"Cut-off dates for tickets and money is July 31," Dooley said.

"We are also looking at a get- together the following morning at the Kalka Shades fields.

Contact Dooley Perkins on 0417 768 623.