KEEPING TRACK: Ipswich and District Athletic Club official Vic Pascoe reflects on a wonderful milestone coming up at Bill Paterson Oval in the new year.
KEEPING TRACK: Ipswich and District Athletic Club official Vic Pascoe reflects on a wonderful milestone coming up at Bill Paterson Oval in the new year. David Lems

Forty years of athletic feats being celebrated

PREPARING to celebrate the Ipswich and District Athletic Club's 40th year, officials, members and supporters have plenty to be excited about next year.

As club stalwart Vic Pascoe rightly declares: "The club has stood the test of time by having outstanding, passionate volunteers and coaches.

"Athletes over the years have made their mark on the international stage and it is important to have the anniversary where memorabilia with older volunteers and past and present athletes can get together.''

Next year's milestone will follow a 25 year celebration at the PA Hotel and an earlier 10 year function at the Bodega Restaurant on Brisbane Road.

The proud Ipswich club has been been based at Limestone Park since selling ice blocks out of an esky under a tree in the grounds of Bundamba State High School to a new clubhouse at Bill Paterson Oval.

Over 40 years, the club has produced state and national champions, world record holders, Olympians and Paralypians.

Pascoe recounts the club's formation.

"In the early eighties, a parent and a local councillor were chatting while their children trained on the cricket oval at Limestone Park,'' he said.

"The parent looked over at the city dump site below and commented 'wouldn't that make a lovely track'.

"Soon after, the finest non-synthetic 400m athletic track in Queensland with a $30,000 lighting system was constructed. It was named after a well-known local coach and identity Bill Paterson.''

Bill Paterson Oval became home to the Ipswich and District Athletic Club established on September 24, 1978.

The Ipswich Branch of the Little Athletics Centre (formerly Bundamba Little Athletic Centre) was formed on September 16, 1976.

Pascoe said the new Ipswich site was ideal, close to the city centre, with the adjoining Limestone Park Cross Country venue recognised as one of the best in Australia.

With continuing improvements, the oval has an all-weather synthetic long jump runway to two pits, three shot put circles, two discus circles and a sprinkling system.

A new clubhouse was built in 1995 and a new equipment shed was erected in 2003.

A hammer/discus cage was completed in October.

Pascoe said the club averages 100 members each year.

Many athletes have progressed from the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre to the senior club, or been members of both highly regarded clubs.

Many parents who helped establish athletics in Ipswich in the seventies are still involved today.

In 1978, the club president was Vince Coyne, supported by secretary Dwayne Davidson and treasurer Bernedette Steinmuller.

The following year, long-serving Ipswich official and coach Des Johnston became president. John Daddow was secretary with Steinmuller remaining as treasurer.

John Daddow took over as president in 1980 with Laurie Jarret as secretary and Steinmuller continuing as treasurer.

The early monthly meetings were held at the old Bremer State High School and the home of the secretary.

Having played a major role guiding the club in more recent years, Pascoe has little doubt why athletics has flourished in the city.

"It's the club volunteers who are so passionate about track and field, including cross country, along with some very dedicated coaches,'' he said. "They have made this club very enviable over the years.

"A strong association with the Ipswich Little Athletics Club has proven to work well with both clubs in the one clubhouse.''

The club also accepts Get Start Vouchers, which can save eligible families money.

Thanks to Vic for providing valuable club history.