The late Ken Boettcher pictured with his sons Mark (left) and Darren. Picture: Inga Williams
The late Ken Boettcher pictured with his sons Mark (left) and Darren. Picture: Inga Williams

City’s top sporting dynasties showcase multiple talents

OVER many decades, Ipswich has been home to some of the finest sporting empires in Australia.

From international footballers, rugby league players and baseballers to well-known cricketers, swimming icons and hockey achievers, the region has provided some exceptional moments.

In the latest QT sporting series, 34 of the best Ipswich sporting dynasties are relived, highlighting many memorable moments and sharing some successful family traits.

Five more influential Ipswich families are celebrated in today's third part.

DIVERSE ACHIEVERS: See who made yesterday's list

SUPER SEVEN: The first group of successful families

Former premiership-winning Ipswich United football coach Matt Carson had a winning formula.
Former premiership-winning Ipswich United football coach Matt Carson had a winning formula.

20. CARSON family: Strategic thinking and durable

IT'S hard to argue with many knowledgeable Ipswich footballers who rate Matt Carson the city's best soccer coach in recent decades.

His efforts guiding Ipswich United in the early 1980s may never be repeated.

Carson-led teams were Queensland State League grand final winners in 1982 and Queensland Ampol Cup champions a year later.

Ipswich United won the Football Brisbane grand final in 1984 and 1985, adding the 1985 premiership to the impressive list of football successes.

As former Ipswich United player Brett Kitching noted, Carson had a formula that worked - building the right experience with local talent.

Carson had similar winning results in his previous coaching stints at Merton East, Southside Eagles, Brisbane Lions and Brisbane City.

"His secret was a particularly direct style of playing requiring the right players to play that style,'' Kitching said.

"That meant there were players that travelled from club to club with him and these included Ron Millman, Gerry Lindsay, Kenny Gordon, Alan Marzaleck, John Bennett, Kevin Coleman, and Mark Atmore, all of whom he brought to Ipswich to complement the solid base there with Wayne Warren, Jeff Dann, Ian Lawrie, Randall McKeand and later Peter Vogler among others.''

Carson employed the old style British 4-3-3 tactics including a deep sweeper (eg Atmore), tight defence with hard working midfield (eg McKeand), big strong stopper (eg Warren), and speedy, dominant strikers (like Millman and Vogler) to benefit from the direct play.

Carson was on the selection committee that chose Australia's 1974 World Cup side.

Matt  passed away in 2015 aged 81.

Sporting couple Dulane and Ian Carson.
Sporting couple Dulane and Ian Carson.

His son Ian has coached for many years at the Ipswich Knights, Ipswich City Bulls and Western Pride. He has worked with men's, women's and under-21 sides, often reaching finals.

Ian's wife Dulane has also made a major impact in sport, playing hockey before becoming one of Australia's most durable indoor cricketers.

Wicketkeeper Dulane has played pivotal roles in Australia's past four World Cup victories.

She was named Player of the Series runner-up at the 2017 World Cup where the Aussies beat South Africa in the final.

Ipswich World Cup-winning indoor cricketer Dulane Carson.
Ipswich World Cup-winning indoor cricketer Dulane Carson.

Nicknamed "Dools'', Dulane had previously won multiple Player of the Year awards in the Super League, at state level and at Australian championships.

She was a consistent player for Queensland open teams for many years after debuting in 1997.

Her World Cup successes include a 2014 unbeaten Aussie team triumph in Wellington.

In 2016, she was named Player of the Series representing Australia in a 5-0 Trans-Tasman whitewash over New Zealand.

Before her international indoor cricket successes, Dulane was a tenacious hockey defender with Swifts in the Ipswich competition.

As in indoor cricket, she regularly displayed her determination and commitment to training dealing with injury setbacks.



Long-serving Ipswich basketball official Alan Basford with his wife Kaye, son Jay and daughter Lee White. Picture: David Nielsen
Long-serving Ipswich basketball official Alan Basford with his wife Kaye, son Jay and daughter Lee White. Picture: David Nielsen

19. BASFORD family: Diverse service to basketball

AS a proud Ipswich family, the Basfords have devoted more than half a century service to their sport.

Alan became a top-level referee, regularly involved in state league and state championship matches, rising to control Women's National Basketball League and National Basketball League clashes. He has also officiated at major events like the World Masters Games.

Over 50 years, Alan worked in many aspects of the game from scoretable to Ipswich Basketball board roles.

He sharing a satisfying journey with wife Kaye and their children Lee and Jay.

"It's not that often an entire family is involved,'' Alan said. "I'm proud of the involvement, what has been achieved and how you watch people come through. Particularly with coaching referees.''

Alan has overseen the development of many referees to Queensland Basketball League level. He helped international referees like Ipswich product Toni Caldwell rise to the top.

Alan and Kaye met at basketball when she played for Bremer Goldstars in the Ipswich competition.

Kaye went on to accept various roles, including taking on secretary of the junior association and for Ipswich Basketball.

Kaye became a member of the WNBL/NBL scoretable program. She was a level 3 scoretable official for many years.

Alan and Kaye's daughter Lee performed voluntary scoretable and officiating roles at major events like the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Paralympics.

Lee Basford
Lee Basford

Lee worked the scoretable at NBL and WNBL level and officiated at the Goodwill Games and World Masters Games.

In 2006, Lee officiated at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, again being selected for the men's gold medal game.

Lee's brother Jay started playing basketball at a young age, representing Ipswich on a number of occasions before also trying refereeing.

Aged 14, he officiated matches at the World Masters Games.

Jay went on to referee at state and national championships, being awarded a number of grand finals.

He was a part of the Queensland and National Referees Development Program for several years and attended the Australian Institute of Sport as part of an elite development program. He also attended the 2001 Olympic Youth tournament to prepare 13-18 year old athletes for life at an Olympics.

Allan remains involved in basketball education.




Father and son George and David Sawyers shared time together as Ipswich Turf Club jockey room attendants. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Father and son George and David Sawyers shared time together as Ipswich Turf Club jockey room attendants. Picture: Cordell Richardson

18. SAWYERS family: Racing towards success

TAKING over from his multi-talented dad as Ipswich Turf Club jockeys room attendant, David Sawyers made a telling statement.

"When you're a kid, your dad teaches you everything and then when you get over 60, your dad is still teaching something,'' David said.

The Sawyers' family are well known for their varied sporting pursuits.

David and brother Steve were former national wrestling champions, in contention for Commonwealth Games selection during the 1980s.

They competed in major tournaments like World Cups and Oceania titles.

Their dad George represented Australia in masters hockey, as did Steve in recent years.

Steve Sawyers won medals in wrestling and hockey
Steve Sawyers won medals in wrestling and hockey

Steve shared in a number of Australian over 55 and over 60 medal hockey successes in recent years.

At the 2016 FIH Grand Masters World Cup, Steve netted a hat-trick, was the tournament's second highest field goal scorer and returned with a silver medal.

The personal trainer had won a bronze medal with the Aussie 55 years team in The Netherlands two years earlier.

David also reached state level in hockey.

Former Coalstars and Australian footballer Michelle Sawyers.
Former Coalstars and Australian footballer Michelle Sawyers.

Steve's wife Michelle is a former international footballer who represented Australia 29 times from 1983-91.

The long-time Coalstars defender was named Australia's best international player during her era of dominance.

She remains a pioneer in regional women's football, having helped lay the foundation for the current Matildas successes.

In recent years, racing continued to nurture a strong bond between George and his sons David and Ken.

David's younger brother Ken was a jockey on and off for 40 years before a fall at the Sunshine Coast six years ago ended his career.

Former wrestling champion David Sawyers
Former wrestling champion David Sawyers

When he was 16 growing up on the family farm at Mutdapilly, George wanted to forge a riding career before his parents Jack and Josie had other ideas.

"The people out there wanted me to be a young jockey but mum and dad were strict on that,'' George recalls. "And they just said: 'No, end of story, you're not going into races' so that was the end of it.''

Former masters hockey medal winner George Sawyers
Former masters hockey medal winner George Sawyers

Denied that opportunity, George detoured to the navy for more than seven years.

He also spent 30 years in the fire brigade.

But George's fascination with racing never waned.

When Ken wanted to become a rider, George didn't stand in his way after some initial anxiety.

George's offer to work at the turf club in 1996 would satisfy his love of racing.

David took over the important jockey room attendant turf club role after the 2019 Ipswich Cup.

George had provided valued service for 22 years.



Record-breaking Queensland Fire cricketer Melissa Bulow. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Record-breaking Queensland Fire cricketer Melissa Bulow. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

17. BULOW family: Switched on for success

BEFORE Australia's current women's cricket team became multiple world champions, Melissa Bulow was paving the way for future successes and better pay for female players.

Melissa came through an era where women's cricketers had to work full-time in addition to training. Yet Melissa reached international level on the back of strong Ipswich family support and a relentless will to succeed.

She was Queensland's all-time leading female run scorer (more than 3500 runs) when she retired. She played in 122 one-day games for her state.

The classy right-handed batter always displayed professionalism and carried pride in Ipswich wherever she padded up for Queensland Fire and Australia.

She represented Australia 23 times after debuting in 2003 against India.

After starting her career playing for Redbank Plains, she featured in 19 One Day Internationals, two Test matches and two T20 appearances.

Melissa was the Women's National League Player of the Year for the 2006/07 season and a five-time Queensland Player of the Year. She scored seven centuries for her state to be in elite company. She was the first woman to score a T20 century in the national competition.

She finished her career having played the most games for Queensland (121) at that stage.

But it was what she did for women's cricket that propels her so highly in the list of Ipswich sporting greats.

Melissa deservedly ended her career sharing in Queensland's 2014 national title T20 competition success against the ACT Meteors. That came after 15 years of commitment serving her state with her trademark skill, perseverance and Ipswich-bred talent.

She was the inaugural inductee into the Queensland Women's Hall of Fame.

"I come from a cricket mad family,'' she said recently in a story compiled by QT columnist Anthony Breeze.

"My brothers Brad and Aaron played and my dad (Don) was also a coach.

"I remember their under-12 club team Norths was short one day and I filled in. The rest is history.''

Melissa works with her younger brother Aaron, who is CEO of Binnacle Training.

Aaron also played rugby league with Ipswich and Brisbane Norths, captaining the Devils in the 2006 state league competition.

During her distinguished career, Melissa appreciated support from her long-time coach and Queensland great Katherine Raymont.

Now a mum with young children, Melissa said her dad was also a major influence "mostly for giving me the honest feedback I didn't necessarily want to hear but needed''.

Brad Bulow.
Brad Bulow.

Melissa's other brother Brad scored more than 2320 runs, with a highest score of 137, playing for Norths and Northsiders from 1995-2004.

Fiercely loyal like Melissa, Brad remains heavily involved in the community.

He joined Sammut Bulow in 2005 and became a partner in 2007.

The former St Edmund's College student is a founding member of Switch On, a non-profit organisation that promotes awareness of men's health issues and raises funds for men's health initiatives.

Brad was voted Ipswich Region Chamber of Commerce's Business Person of the Year in 2016.



Ken Boettcher was instrumental in the development of Swifts League Club. Picture: Rob Williams
Ken Boettcher was instrumental in the development of Swifts League Club. Picture: Rob Williams

16. BOETTCHER family: Officially rugby league leaders

WHEN it comes to rugby league contributors in Ipswich, the Boettcher family remain in the front row.

Patriarch Ken devoted more than 60 years to the sport, having exceptional knowledge of how to deal with club challenges.

His sons Mark and Darren have also been influential figures at association and board level.

All had lifelong links to Booval Swifts, before wider roles in boosting Ipswich rugby league.

Ken passed away in March this year, aged 86.

From his playing days with the Bluebirds to his retirement as Swifts Sports Club chairman, Ken was one of Ipswich's most committed sporting figures.

As an official, he tackled major challenges like his time at Swifts purchasing and selling grounds, dealing with diminished sponsorship pools and financial hurdles that many progressive sporting clubs do.

"A lot of people don't look ahead but I've always looked forward,'' the former Silkstone resident said. "It just came along and some of those jobs became a bit of an obsession.''

He was Swifts Sports Club board chairman for 13 years after stints since 1956 as secretary, patron and president with the Bluebirds.

He was named a life member of Booval Swifts Rugby League Football Club and, in 2006, was inducted into the Swifts Hall of Fame.

Ken was also recognised by the South East Queensland Division and in the Ipswich Australia Day awards for his outstanding service.

Much of his early work was at Swifts' former headquarters in Joyce Street, East Ipswich, which is now the home of Ipswich vigoro.

Ken played a leading role in the club's move to Purga, securing the new site.

He worked as a chemist in the Ipswich CBD, before a stint in real estate from 1971.

His love of rugby league was carried on through his family.

Ken Boettcher with his sons Mark (left) and Darren. Picture: Inga Williams
Ken Boettcher with his sons Mark (left) and Darren. Picture: Inga Williams

Former Ipswich Rugby League chairman Mark and current Rugby League Ipswich board member Darren were two of five boys. Gary, Brett and Craig also played for Swifts.

As a long-time IRL chairman, Mark answered an SOS call in 1997 to help revitalise the North Ipswich Reserve.

With a $900,000 grant from State Member for Ipswich West Don Livingstone, a major $1.3m redevelopment was undertaken in 1999.

"We used to play night games here then and you'd be halfway through a game and the lights would go out,'' Mark said at the time.

"You'd have people all the way from Bundaberg or somewhere and you couldn't finish the game. It really was embarrassing.''

Former Ipswich Rugby League chairman Mark Boettcher. Picture: Nathan Richter
Former Ipswich Rugby League chairman Mark Boettcher. Picture: Nathan Richter

By the early 2000s, the Ipswich Rugby League was getting back on its feet.

The old dressing rooms were knocked down and a nw grandstand roof was fitted.

The clubhouse was extended and office blocks and a function room built.

Around the same time, Mark also worked with former Bulimba Cup player Jim Foreman to set up the Ipswich Rugby League Old Boys Association.

Nicknamed Mutley, Mark had spent nearly 20 years as a junior and senior premiership-winning player and being a club chairman at Swifts.

He helped invigorate the Swifts team which reached the 1993 grand final before luring Paul Srama to the club in 1994. That culminated in Swifts winning the 1995 premiership and enjoying an unbeaten run in 1996.

After revitalising the North Ipswich Reserve, the former Raceview State School and Bremer High School student had a second stint as RLI chairman which ended in January 2009.

Years later, Darren continues the family tradition as a board member with the renamed Rugby League Ipswich.

Rugby League Ipswich board member Darren Boettcher. Picture: Rob Williams
Rugby League Ipswich board member Darren Boettcher. Picture: Rob Williams

With more than 40 years experience in the game, Darren sees plenty of similarities between the game he loves and running a successful business.

"Business and sport run side-by-side,'' he said, having been involved in real estate since 1991.

"There's a thing we call leadership so leadership is the captain.

"Your planning is the training and then your skill level is your training. And then game day is your work life.

"Sport and business run parallel. There's a lot of similarities in that and I find that I get a lot of support out of both.

"The skills that you learn in business can be utilised in sport and vice versa.''

NEXT SERIES: The countdown continues. See which families are next on the list.