Sharing in the launch of a special Ipswich Rangers book are (from left) club president Jason Dutton, author Helen Brackin, Jennifer Howard MP, and life members Geoff Pegg and Mark Osborne.
Sharing in the launch of a special Ipswich Rangers book are (from left) club president Jason Dutton, author Helen Brackin, Jennifer Howard MP, and life members Geoff Pegg and Mark Osborne. Cordell Richardson

Valuable Ipswich Rangers history to preserve

RUGBY UNION: As a professional historian, Helen Brackin has enjoyed compiling diverse information for different societies and the Ipswich City Council.

However, she completed her first sporting project with a renewed appreciation for the hard work that goes into forming a club and maintaining it for half a century.

That's why Brackin (formerly McMongale) is delighted to see the release of her latest book "Glorious Green & White - 50 years of the Ipswich Rangers''.

"It was fantastic,'' the author said, highlighting another benefit.

"I got to go and watch the footy every Saturday along with a few Old Boys.

"The club is lovely.

"All the members are gentlemen and they were all very keen to support the project.''

The book was showcased at Friday's function at Woodend as part of Ipswich Rangers 50 year celebrations.

As Ipswich Rugby Union Club supporters gathered for the launch, Brackin praised the countless volunteers, players and stalwarts who contributed to the proud Ipswich club's colourful history.

"I talked to a lot of Old Boys to get their memories,'' she said.

"And a lot of them still have a lot of their records from when they were playing.

"They shared some really good stories.''

Brackin started her research project in April last year after the concept was initiated by club official Kim Rowcliffe.

She enjoyed exploring a number of different sources to provide a valuable record of Rangers' 50 year history.

To gather the wonderful history, Brackin also went through a treasure trove of old photos and minutes the club had kept.

 

Helen Brackin's book launch for
Helen Brackin's book launch for "50 years glorious green & white". Cordell Richardson

Reluctant to single anybody out, she highlighted the personality of the club by especially thanking stalwarts Michael "Melon'' McLean and Dave "Honk'' Handyside for their contributions.

McLean was named a life member in 2002, with Handyside receiving the same status in 2008.

Life members Geoff Pegg (1984) and Mark Osborne (2012) were among the guests on Friday, highlighting the multiple roles and dedication of Rangers' supporters.

Brackin praised such people for their efforts in her 124 page book.

"Part of it is honouring the hard work that went into the club and maintaining it for such a long time,'' Brackin said.

Brackin said one of the lasting legacies was how committed the Rangers founders were, having their first formal meeting on March 21, 1968, at the Palais Royal Hotel at the corner of Brisbane and East streets.

"It was just the drive that the early members had for creating this club,'' she said.

"It was a group of guys sitting around a kitchen table saying 'right we need a rugby club, let's do it'.''

She said having influential Ipswich people and the business community involved provided a terrific foundation for future development.

However, enjoying the social aspect of rugby was another feature of Rangers' progress through the years.

"During the 60s, 70s, 80s . . . those early decades it was their whole life,'' she said.

"Their whole social world revolved around it. They hung out together when they weren't playing footy and had barbecues at different places and it was like a family.''

Having started a historical society, Brackin knows how much work is needed to attract people to keep such organisations going.

She praised Rangers officials, members, players and supporters for continuing the momentum over the past five decades.

"To reach 50 is a huge milestone,'' she said.

Pegg, named the club's second life member in 1984 after inaugural recipient Reg Hardie (1978), retraced some Rangers highlights over the years at yesterday's function.

Having fulfilled many roles, Pegg appreciated all the work putting the book together. He was proud of how Ipswich has produced some of the best rugby players in Queensland and enjoyed memorable premiership successes.

Current president Jason Dutton said it was fitting Rangers acknowledge the terrific milestone at a time the club's junior stocks are again rebuilding.

The full list of Rangers life members are Hardie (1978); Pegg, Grant Morrison, Sel Foote and Les Wadley (1984); Alan Kirkwood, Jim Baxter and Ted Ellis (1988); Barny Dwyer (1996); Bruce Peel (2000); Michael McLean (2002); Barry Hoffensetz, Craig Eason and Steve Castles (2007); David Handyside (2008); Geoff Brown (2010); Simon Turner and Osborne (2012); Gary Hill (2013) and Nicholas Pender (2017).

The book includes an evolution of their current base at Woodend Park from the 1930s until today.

 

Helen Brackin's book launch for
Helen Brackin's book launch for "50 years glorious green & white". Cordell Richardson

Important memories to live on

COPIES of "Glorious Green & White - 50 years of the Ipswich Rangers'' are available for $30.

Email inquiries to secretary@rangersrugby.com.au

Friday's book launch is part of Rangers celebrations commemorating the club's achievements over the past five decades.

Another major event is on next Saturday night when Rangers host a Gala Dinner at the Ipswich Civic Centre.

Among the highlights will be the naming the club's 50 best players over the decades and the people being honoured with fields at Woodend Park being named after them.

A special golf day is also being held on Friday at Sandy Gallop Club.