Remembering rugby league hostory
AHEAD of the Whitsunday Brahmans player and supporter reunion this July the Whitsunday Times is printing articles looking at the history of league in our region, this week focusing on the 1930s.
It is questionable if there was ever a finer rugby league team that represented Proserpine as the 1937 side that defeated Herbert River 12-8 in Townsville.
All great teams have their good players but this side bristled with talent in every position.
Proserpine scored four tries to Herbert River's two, with flying winger Vern Venables scoring all four tries for Proserpine.
The Herbert River side was also a quality team with four North Queensland representatives but a flying tackle from Proserpine lock forward Ned Philben saved a certain match winning try with seconds on the clock.
Many long time locals feel that the half-back/five-eight combination of Tom Hempenstall and Alby Howard was the finest combination ever seen in Proserpine.
Together with players like the legendary Quinny Hinschen, Peter Valmadre, Joe Hinschen, Jack Kelly, Jack Reardon, Alex and Fred Wright and the Jackson brothers they were a team to contend with.
Long time player and rugby league supporter Arthur Dobe was the team mascot that day and can clearly remember the early departure from the Proserpine Railway Station and the celebrations on the return journey that night.
Vern Venables won the Heatly Blazer for his efforts that day, a feat not to be repeated by a Proserpine player until Ron Borellini 28 years later.
The 1938 team also won the local competition and represented the district in Townsville.
Missing the blinding speed of Venables, the experience of the ageing Quinny Hinschen and the ball skills of Alby Howard, they were defeated in the McAllister Cup.
Newcomers to the side were Len Rigby, Reg Valmadre, Les Byers, J Morrison, Billy Adlum, Archie Philipson, C Krabbenhoft, Tommy Brennan and Jack Arnold.
This youthful team looked to have a bright future but World War II interrupted the game in our area.
Most players enlisted and sadly some like Alby Howard (was shot down over Germany on August 4, 1942), Hector Philipson (died on the Burma Railway), Reg Valmadre (lost at sea as a POW) and Jack Farrell (died on his way home from a POW camp in October 1945) lost their lives.
Former Proserpine player and Queensland representative of the 1950's, Blondi Greenwood called Reg Valmadre the finest winger he ever played with.
Next week we look at the 1940's and probably the greatest player to ever wear a Proserpine jersey - Bernie Drew.
For more information about the reunion contact Andrew Colborne on 0417 629 501.