Former Springfield United Football Club president Pye Augustine is a respected official who built a junior club from the ground up. Picture: Claudia Baxter
Former Springfield United Football Club president Pye Augustine is a respected official who built a junior club from the ground up. Picture: Claudia Baxter

Top 55 Ipswich sports officials: Who made the list?

THE responsibilities of being a sporting official are diverse and varied, with multiple challenges along the way.

The Ipswich region has been fortunate to have so many high quality officials who have conquered the hurdles before them and found new ways of taking their respective sports forward.

Ipswich has some of Queensland's most loyal and fiercely proud people, all doing a tremendous job in tough times.

Coming up with my 55 top officials from the past four decades was challenging but rewarding, highlighting Ipswich's widespread sporting excellence.

Check out the first group of achievers today in a countdown to the top echelon of officials.


55. Deanne Lawrie (vigoro)

THE current Ipswich Vigoro Association president has devoted more than two decades to developing her sport.

While vigoro is not one of the bigger regional codes, Ipswich has consistently led the way at Queensland championships. Earlier this year, the city celebrated two major state titles in seniors and veterans competition. Ipswich's junior teams also dominated.

Lawrie, from a proud Ipswich sporting family, has played a vital role, building on past efforts in an association celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

Lawrie has dedicated considerable energy to encouraging juniors, especially in the under-14 ranks with a view to future success.

The former Silkstone Primary School student started her run of official roles as publicity officer for Ipswich Vigoro.

She joined the junior committee around the same time before serving in various other positions. They include as secretary and treasurer leading up to becoming president, around having a five-year break to have her first child.

Lawrie has also coached Ipswich junior representative teams and Occasionals juniors throughout her career.

She is a badged umpire with 20 years experience. "I have always had an interest in providing junior development opportunities where children can come and learn the game and focus on having fun,'' Lawrie said.

"I believe vigoro has capacity to grow by appealing to families and there are opportunities for us to explore indoor options, which we are currently doing and mixed competitions.

"Being an administrator has always been something I have done when I felt I had the time and energy to commit to it.

"The part I really enjoy is working with other people and building friendships and memories around that . . . trying to get the best out of everyone.''


Ipswich Vigoro Association president Deanne Lawrie with junior player Hayley.
Ipswich Vigoro Association president Deanne Lawrie with junior player Hayley.


54. Brian "Ziggy'' Zeidler (baseball)

AS one of Ipswich's most dependable club people, Zeidler continues to play a vital role at Ipswich Musketeers.

Zeidler was manager of the Musketeers team that won four consecutive Brisbane Major League premierships in the late 1980s.

The former state player was also a club manager, having been with Musketeers since a junior.

Brian was named co-manager, along with Al Campbell, in the Ipswich Musketeers honorary team marking the club's first 50 years.

Brian has always appreciated the support of his wife Robyn, who is another club life member. The dedicated couple regularly organise memorial days and special activities to recognise players and long-serving club people. Brian in particular goes above and beyond in keeping Musketeers stories and memorable deeds of the past alive.

In their latest project, Brian and Robyn have been collating the QT's years of Musketeers coverage from many loyal supporters into books and albums to preserve for the future.


Long-serving Ipswich Musketeers manager Brian Zeidler (left) with another club great Dan Ludwig. Picture: QT file
Long-serving Ipswich Musketeers manager Brian Zeidler (left) with another club great Dan Ludwig. Picture: QT file

53. Janet Savage (vigoro)

THE long-time Ipswich and Queensland official was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards function.

For more than 45 years, the 2010 Ipswich Citizen of the Year has inspired countless children and adults to enjoy the benefits of vigoro.

She is the Ipswich association's longest serving president and is a state official who is still actively involved in the sport.

Savage has performed a number of important roles over the years, supported by daughters Rachel and Andrea who have also made valuable contributions.

Janet started playing vigoro with Tangaloomas before later joining Sports and Black Knights and co-founding the Wildcats club.

Rachel and Andrea have been Wildcats first division stalwarts, highlighting the strong family connections in the sport played at East Ipswich.

"Vigoro was started by a family,'' Janet said. "And we'd like to keep that tradition going as long as we can because if it wasn't for the Rice family that purchased the ground back in 1930, we wouldn't have a vigoro ground."


Ipswich and Queensland vigoro official Janet Savage with her daughter Rachel.
Ipswich and Queensland vigoro official Janet Savage with her daughter Rachel.


52. Clint Bateman (Aussie rules)

WHEN it comes to setting a positive example, the Ipswich Eagles club president is just the man for the job.

With the Aussie rules club since 2002, Bateman has played in 270 matches, including 113
Senior team games where he kicked 38 goals.

But while a handy footballer on the field, he's been equally valuable as an official.

Bateman has been president since 2017, after general committee roles from 2011-16.

He's also been a women's team coach and assistant, and worked with the men's Reserves side where he was vice-captain in 2010.

After an earlier stint with Yeronga, Bateman transferred to Ipswich in 2000, where club stalwart Kym Mansell secured his services.

"I met the Eagles president Mick Piper at the Goodna RSL one night and he also invited me,'' Bateman recalls. "I came down for a session and have been here ever since.

"It was a much smaller club in a lower division but the atmosphere was great and the players and coaches were all extremely friendly and welcoming. That was enough for me to stay.''

Bateman's administrative efforts were acknowledged with a 2018 QWFA award.

One of Bateman's strengths is his determination to gain wider exposure for Aussie rules in Ipswich.

"AFL is our nation's own unique sport,'' he said. "We are in a city that has a massive rugby league following. AFL is increasing with popularity with the news of the Lions relocating to Springfield.''

In 2015, the Eagles had 60 players. That has grown to about 240 this year, from under-6 boys and girls to senior men and women.

"I've had a fantastic, committed and passionate group of committee members and coaches who have all dedicated a lot of their time,'' Bateman said.

"With their hard work over the past four years, our football club has exploded with players numbers and we are expecting further growth in 2021.''


Ipswich Eagles club president Clint Bateman is working hard to put his sport on the map. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Eagles club president Clint Bateman is working hard to put his sport on the map. Picture: Cordell Richardson


51. Jill Franklin (tennis)

FOR many years, Franklin was the key force promoting major tennis events in the city.

As Ipswich Open Tennis Championships secretary, Franklin watched the tournament grow in leaps and bounds since its re-introduction in 2001.

"It started as a little turnament trying to break into the Tennis Australia circuit," Franklin said. "Since then it has gone through the paces to become what is known as 'the friendly tournament'.''

Before the Ipswich Open format changed in recent years, Franklin made a massive contribution to the sport.

She was also heavily involved with Pro Am and other elite championships that attracted leading Australia and overseas players chasing valuable ATP ranking points. Those events were staged at Alder Tennis Centre and regional venues.

Working with dedicated officials like Ross Orford and Fred Daniel, Franklin devoted countless hours to boosting Ipswich's tennis profile. She was a thorough professional.

"Jill Franklin is our T crosser and I dotter,'' Daniel said after one of the many successful events.

"Jill is the one to notify players of any changes and she does that with an unbelievable reliability.

"Jill starts her work with the entries as they are received and it continues through the whole process of organising the tournament.

"Advertising, sponsors and signage, press reports, general housekeeping, trophies. There are too many I's and T's for my head.''

Franklin regularly promoted tennis through her column in the QT where she acknowledged all aspects of the sport from those in the mid-week ladies and club competitions to the higher level players preparing for the European circuit.

Franklin has also been heavily involved in Ipswich squash over the years, mainly at the Brassall club where she is a life member. She has assisted the Ipswich Association in hosting tournaments, events and reunions.


Major Ipswich tennis contributor Jill Franklin
Major Ipswich tennis contributor Jill Franklin


50. Wayne Gaddes (softball)

ALTHOUGH much of his valuable contribution has been with the Tigers Softball Club, Gaddes has long been an avid supporter of all Ipswich sport.

The straight-shooting, spirited official is a softball fanatic with a keen interest in anything that gives our city the recognition it deserves.

He was recognised with a Diamond Softball Award from Queensland Softball, honouring his 40 year commitment.

That followed years of service as an association and club president, vice president and management committee member.

Gaddes was one of three founding members of the Men's Softball Association in 1982. He has served on games and grading committees numerous times.

He has also coached A and B Grade men's sides, along with roles as a senior and junior selector.

At the Tigers club when it didn't have a committee, he took an active lead with Order of Australia Medal recipient Edna "Hertie'' Hertrick. Gaddes later became the club coaching director and president.

Through all that, he promoted softball at every opportunity, writing a column in the QT for some time.

Despite some challenging times with Ipswich Softball, Gaddes and Hertie continued to battle for what they thought best for the sport.

"Tigers and Softball in general were/are like family to me,'' Gaddes said.

"I've had my run-ins with officialdom in softball, made a few enemies but so many lifelong friends and am mates today with opponents who were never mates at the time in some part.

"I believe because we respected each other for our competitiveness and sense of fair play no matter how tough the battle.''

Gaddes is fittingly a life member of Tigers and the Ipswich association (2001), along with Warriors Masters softball, which is the original men's association team.


Dedicated Tigers and Ipswich softball supporter Wayne Gaddes is also a proud Queenslander.
Dedicated Tigers and Ipswich softball supporter Wayne Gaddes is also a proud Queenslander.

49. Basil Coker (hockey)

AS a long-serving umpires co-ordinator, Coker set a standard for many others to follow.

The One Mile resident was awarded a Hockey Queensland life membership for his service.

He'd earlier received similar honours with the Ipswich Hockey Umpires, Ipswich Hockey Association and Hockey Queensland umpires.

Coker devoted more than 60 years to Ipswich Hockey, including 47 years on state associations or committees.

He umpired more than 1500 games, including a number of internationals.

His main role over several decades was umpiring, where he obtained an Australian badge. He later used his vast experience to coach and mentor others.

He could be seen at Ipswich's hockey headquarters casting a sharp eye over the next generation of umpires. If he saw them make a mistake, he would calmly talk to them after the match, giving advice and reassuring them.

Although the former motor mechanic and Ipswich TAFE teacher has retired from looking after umpires these days, Coker remains a familiar face, especially enjoying a weekend punt on the races.

His lifelong work is recognised through Ipswich Hockey's top umpiring award named after him.

His long list of umpiring achievements included officiating at national titles and state carnivals, along with overseeing promising whistleblowers at the Premier League series.

He was on the Queensland umpiring committee for many years with other top officials like Bernadette Gotting and Ipswich's current international umpire Steve Rogers.

He said attributes a good umpire needed included fitness, quick thinking and recollection, knowledge and intent of rules and an ability to protect the players from injury.

"The most important quality of a good umpire is to maintain a friendly and fair attitude with players,'' he said.


Basil Coker with his wife Doreen celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Sarah Harvey
Basil Coker with his wife Doreen celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Sarah Harvey


48. Errol Bognuda (motorsport)

THE Ipswich icon nicknamed "Scorcher'' loved having "the time of his life'' and "going the distance''.

So it was fitting the songs by Green Day and Cake were played as Errol's coffin was carried from a packed St Paul's Anglican Church during his funeral in 2006.

A symbolic white helmet, a model Holden Precision Car and a Yellow Cabs badge rested on Errol's coffin, representing the passion he had for his motorsport, exhibition driving and work.

A collection of motorsport photos and memorabilia also highlighted what the former Ipswich West Moreton Auto Club (IWMAC) president and life member packed into his 65 years of full-throttle living.

In a moving eulogy, close friend Paul Casos told of how a barefoot school runner from Dinmore "scorched the grass'' to launch his race through life.

Casos, also a motorsport stalwart, relived how Bognuda was part of the first Holden Precision Driving Team, worked for Faulkner Motors and later sold real estate. But through every stage of his life, motorsport remained his constant love.

Casos paid tribute to Bognuda's hard work and loyalty developing motorsport at Willowbank. That included his dedication serving one of Queensland's oldest motorsport organisations.

The IWMAC was the first group to vacant land at the site, under a verbal agreement with the then Moreton Shire Council. The first lease was signed in 1975.

In the late 1970s, Bognuda helped plan what was to become the current Ipswich motorsport mecca.

"Enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm. Errol was the inspiration,'' Casos said. "He never gave up.''


Ipswich motorsport icon Errol Bognuda.
Ipswich motorsport icon Errol Bognuda.



47. Sharyn Crouchen (multiple sports)

EVERY club needs a person with the proverbial drive and commitment of Crouchen.

In recent years, she's been focusing on her representative tenpin bowling career, being selected to play for Australia.

Over the past four decades, she has given tremendous service to a number of sports.

She was an active participant and team manager at the Bundamba tenpin centre before it closed. She gave up playing vigoro so not to risk damaging her bowling fingers.

The former Ipswich and Queensland representative player continued to help that sport as vice-president of the Ipswich Vigoro Umpire's Association.

She was a dependable statistician and results recorder during her 40 year association with vigoro.

More recently, Crouchen worked in spectator services in gymnastics and at the netball finals during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

That followed earlier roles at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and serving at the 2007 FINA (swimming) world championships in the same city. She also enjoys being regularly involved with tennis events like the Brisbane International.

Crouchen said working as a volunteer at major events helped her in her competitive tenpin bowling.

"I think I'm more grounded,'' the versatile Ipswich sportswoman said.

"There's always politics in sport and I kind of don't get too much involved in that because I can see both sides.''


Versatile official and volunteer Sharyn Crouchen. Picture: Rob Williams
Versatile official and volunteer Sharyn Crouchen. Picture: Rob Williams


46. Alan Basford and family (basketball)

AS a proud Ipswich family, the Basfords deserve recognition for a half of 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's 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 has been 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 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.


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


45. Heather Scott (hockey)

OFTEN working tirelessly behind the scenes, Scott has made a hugely beneficial contribution to Ipswich hockey.

She's versatile, professional, fair-minded and willing to help out.

Scott has performed a diverse range of roles at Ipswich Hockey including being record and assistant records secretary, serving on the technical committee and judiciary, time as a

treasurer and various club and representative team coaching.

The One Mile resident is in her 21st year as assistant records secretary.

She held several positions within the Ipswich Ladies Hockey Association prior to men's and women's bodies becoming one in 2000.

With husband Phil by her side, the Ipswich hockey life member also makes a mean bacon and egg burger during barbecues for representative carnivals at Raceview.

"The contribution Heather makes to Ipswich Hockey is amazing, especially when you consider just how long Heather has been giving of her time,'' Ipswich Hockey Association president Margret Mantell said.

She maintains key information for all women's and girls fixtures and prepares the match cards for all fixtures, male and female, during the season.

She does that time-consuming job while serving as a member of the technical committee and on the judicial panel.

Her contribution extends to whatever else needs to be done for the Hookin2Hockey program and carnival events.

"Whenever an extra pair of hands is needed, at working bees, Open Day or whatever it may be, you can be confident Heather will be there and with a smile,'' Mantell said. "For me, it is so reassuring to know if I need someone to look after something, I can ask Heather and if she can, she will always say yes and do what is required.''

The former Red Devils, Wanderers, East Wanderers, Hancocks and Vets halfback has also represented Queensland in masters hockey, sharing in a national over-60s team gold medal effort.

Before retiring, Scott was a shop assistant, working for 26 and a half years in the Ipswich Mall newsagency. She's also done office work around the city.

Those skills have been handy assisting Ipswich Hockey in many areas.

She was named Volunteer of the Year at the 2016 City of Ipswich Sports Awards.


Highly regarded Ipswich Hockey official Heather Scott also enjoyed success as a state player. Picture: Rob Williams
Highly regarded Ipswich Hockey official Heather Scott also enjoyed success as a state player. Picture: Rob Williams


44. Merv Page (greyhound racing)

AS a former state under-18 footballer, Page knows the importance of being committed to sport.

More than five decades later, the former Blackstone and St Helen's player is still playing an important role at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club.

Although standing down from the presidency, Page continues to help out, having added so much to the club for such a long time.

"I'd like the message to get through to people - greyhounds are a working man's sport,'' Page said. "Greyhound racing has been my life.

"From 17 until now, that's practically all I've done. But I wouldn't be able to do that without my family support.''

Having grown up at Walloon, the former plumber was a trainer for 40 years.

He remembers when he was a self-confessed "floater'' who "used to race everywhere'' driving around in his FJ ute with a canopy on the back.

For about 30 years, Page spent his Saturday nights at Tweed Heads non-TAB greyhound meetings. He also regularly visited the Ipswich, Lawnton, Lismore and Toowoomba tracks.

He was quick to help Ipswich when the club needed assistance.

"When Toowoomba closed, Ipswich was at a standstill,'' Page said.

"There was a changeover of committee and there was a bit talk about closing Ipswich. About half a dozen owners and trainers got together and we formed this committee to make sure that Ipswich didn't close too.''

From that point, Page was destined to become a leader. He has worked closely with other clubs like Albion Park to ensure Ipswich's future.

"We'll always take it on for the industry,'' Page said of the Ipswich club's willingness to step up when needed. "Ipswich has always been industry minded.

"We've got a motto - 'Ipswich greyhounds leading the way'.''

It was meeting wife Margaret at the Gold Coast when he has 19 that sustained Merv's greyhound racing passion.

"What I've tried to do, and will continue to do, is keep a happy, contented club,'' he said during his time as president.

"If you can keep your staff, the committee, the owners and trainers all happy, you'll be a successful club.''


Former Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Merv Page. Picture: QT
Former Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Merv Page. Picture: QT



43. Rob Oberg (motorsport)

WHEN not involved in major motorsport events, Oberg and his wife Karen are often out sailing on the high seas.

That's a pastime that has given the Ipswich couple incredible satisfaction.

However, Oberg has been one of the most valuable contributors to the development of the Willowbank Raceway and attracting world-class drag racers to the city.

With a strong marketing and communications background spanning two decades, he has been a leading commentator and promoter. The annual Winternationals and New Year series over the years have attracted thousands of fans.

Oberg has an incredible motorsport knowledge, linked closely to community organisations and companies.

The former Queensland Times marketing manager was responsible for arranging some of the best publications and souvenir guides highlighting the high-powered sport's benefits for racers and fans.

He has also built strong television production links that have supported his commentary skills.

Oberg has also been an MC and guest lecturer in marketing at the University of Queensland.


Well-travelled Ipswich couple Rob and Karen Oberg. Picture: Claudia Baxter
Well-travelled Ipswich couple Rob and Karen Oberg. Picture: Claudia Baxter



42. Pye Augustine (soccer)

STARTING her impressive development work at Springfield United FC in 2008, Augustine built up one of the fastest growing regional clubs in the state.

During her time as club president or vice president from 2009-15, she played a major role in bolstering participation numbers before joining Football Ipswich and later Western Pride.

At Springfield United FC, she performed multiple roles including coaching the under-16 girls team, marking out and setting up the fields, refereeing and other organisational duties. She also served as a ground official, secured sponsorship, registered players and purchased supplies for the club.

The current Western Pride football operations manager has also been a club secretary at the National Premier Leagues club. She has continued her focus on player development and creating policies for future expansion.

She helps other clubs in her role as a director with the Association of Australian Football Clubs.

With her vast football and administrative experience, the former state player and coach assists clubs with any issues and to devise a pathway forward.


Pye Augustine.
Pye Augustine.



41. Stuart Ware (tennis)

IT'S easy to see why the self-confessed tennis fanatic has made his sport of choice a lifelong passion.

Ware's list of qualifications are extensive. The highly regarded administrator is a proverbial jack of all trades.

He's been a top level administrator, lecturer, coach and co-ordinator, based at Walloon and working at his Tall Gums centre.

From an early age, Ware discovered the joy of playing tennis and wanting to devote his life to helping other.

He has coached full-time since 1982.

His professional efforts have helped many players, along with opening his Tall Gums centre in 1985 with wife Kay.

Stuart also been heavily involved with school programs and coached the Brazilian Davis Cup team.

He has been acknowledged through many awards, including 1999 Tennis Australia Coach of the Year and as Moreton Shire sports administrator of the year.

The former Central and Bremer High school student has also been honoured in Australia Day Awards and received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

He was a former President of the Tennis Professionals of Queensland.

In addition to coaching, he spent several years lecturing with the University of Queensland Human Movement department.

The former Ipswich and West Moreton Tennis Association president managed representative teams at national championships and fulfilled statistician roles.

His love of tennis started aged five, when handed a racquet by his father.

"Even to this day, I can't explain it. You just start hitting the ball and there's something inside you that says 'this is fun and I need to hit it again','' Ware said.

"Tennis is a sport you can legitimately play for a lifetime.''


Tennis “jack of all trades’’ Stuart Ware.
Tennis “jack of all trades’’ Stuart Ware.


Tomorrow: the countdown continues