Ipswich footballing great Ian “Lodger’’ Lawrie and his family have an important place in regional sporting history.
Ipswich footballing great Ian “Lodger’’ Lawrie and his family have an important place in regional sporting history.

Loyalty, family values, larrikins make our dynasties great

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 sensational Ipswich families are celebrated in today's fifth part.

PART 4: Iconic Ipswich families

PART 3: Tackling major challenges

PART 2: Great commitment to sport

PART 1: Super seven

10. PARCELL family: Homegrown legacy rising to the top

THE recent passing of Gary Parcell highlighted how prominent and popular he and his footballing family are.

The tributes to Gary showcased his loyalty, family values and sense of humour.

Gary was part of the famous 1960 all-Ipswich Australian Kangaroos front row with Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly.

Gary's son Steve and grandsons Matt and Sam continued the family football legacy.

Gary Parcell
Gary Parcell

As QT rugby league columnist Michael Nunn described in a terrific piece earlier this year, the Parcell family was made of the right stuff.

"If I was going to build an Ipswich footballer, I'd make him tough and resilient,'' Nunn wrote.

"He'd have to be from Ipswich and play for Queensland and Australia while trucking it forward in an era where there was little other choice but to keep your head down and sometimes hope for the best in regards to your safety.

"He'd be quick out of dummy half and be smart too, great defender and a leader of men.

"He'd be as Ipswich as coal dust, Jacaranda trees and McMahons Sars and the dash board light would be on to indicate humble and flashing bright green to indicate Ipswich pride.

"I'd probably just build a Parcell.''

Gary Parcell
Gary Parcell

Gary reached the greatest heights in the proud family, all while remaining based on his country farm.

He played eight Tests for Australia and represented Queensland 14 times.

Yet the Harrisville farmer remained fiercely loyal to his homegrown life, having risen from Ipswich Brothers to international honours.

After Gary's illustrious career ended, the Parcell family provided three future Jets.

His son Steve, and Gary's grandsons Matt and Sam donned the Ipswich jersey.

Family patriarch Percy Parcell began the family's country upbringing at Radford before playing for Ipswich Brothers and lining up in seven matches for Queensland.

Gary took the family heritage to the next level, touring with the Kangaroos in 1959.

That tour of the United Kingdom stretched from September until January 1960, featuring 38 matches including six Tests. Gary played in five of those Test matches.

Gary returned to England for the 1960 World Cup.

 

Steve Parcell
Steve Parcell

Steve made his Jets debut in 1983, playing in the 1988 and 1989 Brisbane competition grand finals.

Steve was also selected in the 1989 Queensland Residents side that toured France.

He was a fine leader and fearless defender.

In 2015, Steve's son Matt also earned Queensland Residents selection.

A massive highlight was sharing in the Ipswich Jets 2015 premiership victory.

Matt scored 10 tries in five games during the incredible finals run that concluded with the Jets beating Newcastle in the State Championship on NRL grand final day.

Matt also played for the Brisbane Broncos, Manly Sea Eagles and Hull Kingston Rovers in the English Premier League.

In another family link, Percy's nephew Hector Gee also played for Australia.

Hector scored twice in the "Battle of Brisbane" - the 1932 Test against Great Britain noted for being a brutal contest Australia won 15-6.

 

 

 

Alex Gibb’s historic football cap.
Alex Gibb’s historic football cap.

9. GIBB family: Setting the standard

AS a fifth generation Ipswich sporting family, the Gibbs hold a special place in the city's sporting history.

When Lex "The Duke'' Gibb was selected to represent Australia in 1938, it was a classic example of like father, like son.

Lex and his dad Alex became the first father and son combination to secure national honours for their country.

Alex was an Ipswich pioneer who paved the way for others to follow when he captained the inaugural Australian team on its 1922 tour of New Zealand.

Born in Ireland and raised in Scotland, Alex migrated to Australia just before World War 1.

The versatile halfback played for Ipswich teams Bundamba Athletic and Bundamba Rangers, as well as South Brisbane Scottish.

Alex continued set the highest standard during his 14 matches for Australia.

After completing his playing career, he turned to administration, becoming chairman of the Ipswich and West Moreton British Football Association.

He also served a a representative team manager and a selector of state and national teams.

Alex was admitted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lex followed Alex's rise to the top, making his Australian debut in 1938.

Lex represented Australia in 19 games from 1938-51.After playing his junior football at Ipswich team Alphas, Lex progressed to Ipswich senior sides Bundamba Rangers and St Helens and Brisbane teams Latrobe and Corinthians.

Ipswich-born Lex was an outside left, centre half and halfback.

During a fantastic Ipswich football international project led by Ross Hallett and John Roderick, some key highlights of Alex and Luke's careers were showcased.

Lex's 11 year national career included matches against the touring English Amateurs, India, Palestine and South Africa. He toured New Zealand in 1948.

Alex had earlier captained Australia on six occasions in 1922 and 1923.

He was awarded two medals as best Australian player in both series he played against New Zealand.

From 1912-1925 (outside the war years), Alex played in every Queensland team.

Alex Gibb's historic Australian cap and blazer was fittingly placed in the middle of an Encyclopedia of Socceroos presentation at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre in 2018.

Author Andrew Howe appreciated the Gibb family showcasing the valuable piece of Australian football memorabilia.

The feats of the Gibb family were also recognised at a Socceroos match in Brisbane in 2013.

Gibb brothers Alf and Alan also had strong Bundamba club ties after World War II.

Alf was a state representative from 1948-53.

Centre half Alan made Ipswich teams during his football career, later becoming a selector.

According to a family piece in A History of Ipswich Soccer, Alex's daughters Margaret and Mary were state representatives. Margaret excelled in vigoro and basketball, with Mary a netballer.

Mary's daughter Andrea was a state level athlete.

Lex's son Buddy also earnt state selection in football.

The proud Gibb clan continues to follow football closely, with some family members working as accountants in their Ipswich partnership.

 

 

 

One of Ipswich’s best footballers Ian “Lodger’’ Lawrie
One of Ipswich’s best footballers Ian “Lodger’’ Lawrie

8. LAWRIE family: Never-ending desire to improve

NATURALLY gifted Ian "Lodger'' Lawrie crafted his skills in the backyard sporting haven of his parents Bob and Joyce.

Ian would later team up with dad Bob to become the second father/son combination from Ipswich selected to represent their country.

Former Silkstone State School teacher Bob represented Australia in 43 games from 1939-53, captaining his country 27 times.

But it was in that backyard that Ian flourished. It was made up of a soccer pitch, complete with a full size set of goals and a turf cricket pitch.

As good family friend and schoolmate Greg Donnelly recalled after Ian's passing in 2009: "A group of boys would descend on their house every afternoon after school, rain hail or shine.

"They would not leave until dark or our parents phoned to tell Mrs Lawrie to kick us out.

"The soccer and cricket games played in that backyard were the most competitive and enjoyable games I have ever played. No one wanted to lose, especially to your matches.''

Donnelly went on from those backyard battles to become one of Australia's leading indoor cricketers and administrators.

"This group of kids learnt a lot about life in that backyard and made friendship that will never end,'' Donnelly said.

"He (Ian) was an Ipswich icon but not just for what he did on the soccer field. As good a soccer player as he was, Ian was a better person than most of us could ever aspire to be.''

Lodger represented Australia in two games in 1975. He played in the Jakarta Anniversary Cup in Indonesia against South Korea and Burma.

Ian was also chosen in an Australian under-23 team.

He played in 27 National League games for Hollandia, along with his successful stints with Ipswich United (1982, 1984 and 1985) and then Coalstars.

Throughout his career, he was always planning his next soccer success.

Ian was part of Coalstars' 1986 Ampol Cup, Presidents Cup and grand final victories.

A 2-1 win over North Star was his fourth grand final success in five years.

Even after that victory following premierships with Ipswich United, the defender was demonstrating why he was such a fierce competitor.

"We were never going to get beaten,'' he said post match.

After those grand final successes with Ipswich United and Coalstars, Ian coached at the Ipswich City Bulls, spreading more camaraderie during the mid 1990s.

Bulls club official Scott Thompson summed up Ian's arrival aptly at the time.

"Great guy, heaps of skill on a football field,'' Thompson said.

"While at the Bulls, the club may not have won premierships and/or grand finals but the feeling around the place was tremendous.

"The Bulls, being the 'little brother' of the bigger clubs around the district, didn't usually attract the top line players but Lodger made his way to Sutton Park and brought with him, much needed professionalism.

"He was an administrator's dream.''

Ian followed in his international footballing father Bob's footsteps.

 

Ipswich football great Bob Lawrie
Ipswich football great Bob Lawrie

In 1937, in his first year in senior football, Bob gained intercity and interstate honours on his way to playing in 43 games for Australia.

The Blackstone Rovers centre half went on to captain his country 27 times.

That included leading Australia in six games against an English FA side in 1951 and four games in 1953 against a Chinese XI.

Bob played for Queensland in every year from 1939-55 when the Ipswich teacher was available.

 

Bob Lawrie
Bob Lawrie

Bob was also a life member of the Ipswich and Queensland Primary Schools Football Association.

That commitment to grassroots sport was carried on by current Ipswich Vigoro Association president Deanne Lawrie, who was recently honoured with life membership.

Bob was Deanne's grandfather and Ian was her uncle.

Deanne's dad is Glenn Lawrie, who made the Queensland under-18 side and played mostly on the left wing.

The Lawrie family has also had a 100-year, five generation connection to Silkstone State School.

The family's first generation at the school was Bobby's great grandmother, Sarah Richards, who was a pupil at the then Newtown School in the late 1890s. She went on to become a teacher at the school.

She enrolled her son Bob in the renamed Silkstone State School in 1925.

He followed in his mother's footsteps as a Silkstone teacher.

Grandfather Glenn started at Silkstone in the early 1950s.

 

Glenn Lawrie
Glenn Lawrie

Glenn recalled his father coaching the local boys soccer team on the school oval, which was named the Bob Lawrie Oval in his honour.

Glenn said the school was almost the same when his son Scott started in 1981. However, shortly afterwards a fire destroyed some of the school's oldest buildings.

Glenn's daughter Deanne also attended Silkstone Primary School, before her incredible commitment in various official, umpiring and coaching roles fostering vigoro in the Ipswich area.

The Lawrie tradition lives on.

 

 

7. KINNANE family: Multi-talented achievers

IS there anything a Kinnane sportsperson can't achieve?

Highlighted by Ipswich husband wife team Les and Trish, the Kinnane family built a reputation for hard work, diversity and multiple skills.

Ipswich club and international official Trish is recognised as one of Queensland's leading athletics officials at national, Oceania, Commonwealth Games and Olympic levels.

Highly respected official and educator Trish Kinnane with her daughter Kerri.
Highly respected official and educator Trish Kinnane with her daughter Kerri.

Being a chief judge in the call room, Trish was like a customs officer at an airport. She worked with athletes to ensure they followed the correct procedures before entering a competition arena. That included everything from checking their shoes and length of spikes to advertising on their clothing and any medical needs for people.

But whether it was at an Olympics or local track and field meeting, Trish applied her decades of experience to remain calm and professional.

One of the highlights for the Raceview resident was being appointed a call room judge at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

She also served at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and as a technical officer or administration manager at Oceania Games and other elite competitions.

Trish is a life member of the Ipswich and District Athletic Club and Queensland Athletics.

Her outstanding contribution to athletics was recognised in 2008 with an Athletics Australia merit award. During her extensive athletic career, she was an administration manager for state and national championships in the 1980s and 1990s.

From a family of dedicated officials in a range of sports, the Queensland Athletics board member was also highly regarded as a teacher and deputy principal.

"For me, the satisfaction is the athletes I've had in Australian teams and having them still come in through the call room,'' Trish said.

"You share in their highs and lows.''

Ipswich sporting stalwart Les Kinnane
Ipswich sporting stalwart Les Kinnane

Given he received nine life memberships during his wonderful sporting service, Les belongs in the top echelon of Ipswich officials.

The multiple roles Kinnane performed, before his passing a month short of his 69th birthday in 2012, were testament to his commitment.

His years of service in a range of sports will be long celebrated.

Les was a wonderful coach, linked closely to his 48 years as a teacher and his outstanding community spirit.

Growing up in Ipswich from an early age, he started his teaching career at Blair State School in 1963, before stints at Amberley, Kruger, Ipswich Central and providing a supply service before his untimely departure.

He fulfilled multiple roles coaching children in many sports while also having important administrative roles at school and club level. He became a state coach.

Les was secretary of the Ipswich Primary Schools Sports Association for a decade, heavily involved in organising swimming and athletics carnivals, all while managing representative teams to state championship level.

He was President groundsman at the Len Johnson Oval from 1980, a venue that virtually became a second home.

He was an avid and highly regarded leader with the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association, Ipswich Schoolboys Cricket Coaching Squad and Ipswich Primary School cricket.

The Ipswich achiever's extensive sporting reach spread to Ipswich Brothers and Hancocks hockey. He helped community sport through regular fundraising venture at the Ipswich RSL and Raceview Tavern. He also had strong links to umpires and served on judiciaries.

In 2000, Les was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his service to cricket.

Les' brother Kev is a Brothers Cricket Club life member who has devoted countless hours to sport over many years.

Such was his incredible contribution, Kev received his life membership aged 26.

Kev Kinnane
Kev Kinnane

Kev's lifetime of service included coaching, club and representative cricket, captaincy roles and a stint as club president.

He was an accomplished opening batsman and offspin bowler who was chosen to represent Queensland Country against a touring Indian side before the match was washed out.

He also played against a pre-apartheid South African team on a wet wicket at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Playing in 193 matches for Brothers from 1956-80, Kev scored 6371 runs with a high score of 152.

He was also a Queensland hockey player, like other members of the Kinnane family.

Kerri Kinnane during her athletic days
Kerri Kinnane during her athletic days

Kerri, daughter of Les and Trish, was a national level sprinter who represented Australia at the 1988 Junior World Championships in Canada.

She also played hockey, along with her brother Brent and Kerri's sons Hayden and Brendan who regularly play A-Grade together with Hancocks.

Hayden has represented Australia in indoor hockey.

Brent, who is heavily involved in Queensland masters hockey, is the General Manager at TAFE Queensland South West Region.

Brent is also a Director of the Board of Brothers Leagues Club Ipswich.

 

 

6. LANGER family: Ever-loyal Ipswich larrikins

THE Langer family typify all the traits that make Ipswich sport so great.

Allan, or better known as Alfie, is still regularly in the news for his exploits as a Broncos trainer.

He remains immensely popular but above all fiercely proud of his Ipswich upbringing.

One of Australia's greatest halfbacks was chosen for a statue in his honour at Suncorp Stadium.

Alfie performed countless wonderful deeds for the Ipswich Jets, Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Maroons and Australia where the creative halfback destroyed many opposing teams.

And who can forget the remarkable State of Origin comeback he made in July 2001?

Langer returned unexpectedly from England to lead Queensland to one of the state's greatest State of Origin victories, thrashing NSW 40-14 in Sydney. That secured Queensland the series in the third and deciding game.

Alfie's astonishing success in that match came two years after he quit rugby league in Australia and 14 years after his Origin debut.

Ipswich rugby league great Allan Langer
Ipswich rugby league great Allan Langer

Alfie's outstanding rugby league career and his passion for Ipswich justify why he remains arguably the city's best known and most successful sportsman.

Born in Ipswich in 1966, the "Little General'' has achieved it all.

His long list of accomplishments include 25 matches for Australia, 37 games for Queensland and 258 appearances for the Broncos. That included four National Rugby League premierships.

Alfie won Dally M awards for being player and halfback of the year. He won Clive Churchill and Rothmans medals for his on-field deeds.

The Ipswich-bred footballer won four man-of the-match honours in State of Origin and was a five-time Broncos player of the year.

He was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Kevin Langer
Kevin Langer

His rise to the highest level of rugby league started in the Langer family's backyard at Sadlier's Crossing where Alfie had to punch above his weight to compete.

Ipswich folklore is that brothers Cliff, Kevin and Neville taught their little brother everything he knows.

Allan's brothers carved out careers of their own, playing for Norths under the watchful eyes of parents Harry and Rita.

 

Cliff Langer
Cliff Langer

Harry passed away in October, 2002.

The former carriage builder at the North Ipswich railway workshops was honoured as a central figure at Norths and for his support for his footballing sons.

While most fathers would encourage their children to do the homework, Harry would tell his kids to "get down the backyard and practise your football or cricket''.

Harry played rugby league at the club before helping out with the juniors and behind the scenes.

He is remembered in annual tribute days hosted by Norths.

"We're just proud to have a trophy named after our dad," Neville said.

Harry and Rita married in 1957.

 

Rita Langer
Rita Langer

Rita, a Norths Tigers life member, continues to serve the community in various volunteer roles.

She has done that for 50 years, still being a familiar face wherever she offers her time freely or helps others.

Her many roles including working at the Norths Rugby League Club canteen and the tuckshop at Blair State School, long after her fanatical rugby league sons completed their education and finished played football.

She's humble and quietly spoken but clearly gains immense satisfaction contributing to sport as a volunteer.

She turns up to help out whatever the conditions, always with a smile and ready to cook up a treat.

TOMORROW: The top five selections