Monday , February 6 2023

The Early Years

For sixty years, the community of Collaroy Plateau has been represented in the Manly Warringah Cricket Association by the Collaroy Plateau Cricket Club. This is an achievement that Club members are justifiably proud of as the continuity of the Club is an historic reflection of the growth and development of Collaroy Plateau itself.

Life member, resident and historian Milton Lidgard recollected the beginnings of the Club in the 1964/65 C.P.C.C. Annual report:
“The enthusiasm for cricket generated by Chip Browne and Vic Huxley in the local youngsters found its outlet with them playing in the streets after school with the typical fruit case wicket. One such group played regularly that summer of 55’ near the first streetlight in Essilia Street up from Ramsay St (now Acacia), even after the lights came on.

Some of the boys were Dennis Robbie, Bruce Shearer and a long legged boy in shorts – Ken Hunt. Ken fell for cricket and in no time spread the enthusiasm of the boys to a group of bigger boys, per many rounds at the Local with the result that the first Annual General meeting of the Boy’s Club, held at Vic Huxley’s home and attended by those stalwarts of cricket, Des Sainsbury and Alex Anderson, accepted an adult team and changed to the Collaroy Plateau Cricket Club.

Two teams were entered, the boys under Vic in 4th grade and Chip Browne took the adults into 3rd grade. The team selected for the first match in 3rd grade and advertised in the Manly Daily no less was Chip Browne, Keith Sedgewick, Ken Hunt, Jack Lloyd, Norm Stephenson, George Turner, Ray Horton, Jack Eaton, Milton Lidgard, Barry Harland, Peter Bond and Frank Huxley.

By the end of this season it was apparent that a playing field should be developed on the land in Blandford St. Council was asked to acquire the land from the Estate of the late Jessie Green. Thus began the Club’s efforts for the creation of Plateau Park, and with tremendous Executive Committee led by a very hard working President in Barry Harland, the solid foundation of our Club organisation was laid”.

CPCC AGM circa 1963 - Ken Hunt, President addresses the meeting in the Youth Club
CPCC AGM circa 1963 – Ken Hunt, President addresses the meeting in the Youth Club

During the early years, 1950’s through to 1963, the park was but a small clearing with half a concrete wicket left by an anti-aircraft unit that was stationed there during the war years. Club members shaped a field of sorts and in 1963-63 season, with the support of Councilors Beverly Job, Des Sainsbury, Col Huntington and Gavin Gracie, the ground was ready for official play.

Since that time the Park, under the watchful gaze of the Watertower, has been the venue for many years of Collaroy Plateau cricket. Almost since the community of Collaroy Plateau first became conscious of it’s own existence, has the Collaroy Plateau Cricket Club been a part of many Plataen’s lives. For most, the Club has provided a convenient opportunity to participate in cricket for the enjoyment of playing the game and being around friends. For a select few others, it has been a place to develop and test skills from a young age in the hope of playing at a higher level.

1954 – Meeting held at Vic Huxley’s house in 96 Blandford Street. Decision made to form CPCC.
1955/56 – Foundation Season. First match at Dee Why Oval (3rd Grade) & Mona Vale (Boys team)
1956 – First AGM
1962/63 – ‘Onoto Pen’ Club Champions
1963/64 – Plateau Park completed & ready for play

1973/74 – Mick Riggall sets Club Record for highest score in an innings with 169 at Balgowlah Oval.

1977/78 – U10 Premiers. Team coached by Frank Stanton. Players include Rob Minnett, Col Huxley, Bob Vere & Greg Luckman
1980? – Club incorporated

1995? – Cricket nets redeveloped with ‘Coca Cola’ cash for runs promotion & matching Council grant
1996? – Cricket ground named ‘Vic Huxley Oval’ after one of the Club’s founding fathers

1998/99 – Bob Williams takes his 1000th wicket for the club. Paul Brown equals Mike Riggall’s record for most runs in an innings with 169 in A2s at Lake Park.

2000/01 – First outright A1 Premiership
2004/05 – 50th Anniversary Season. CPCC’s first overseas tour to England
2006/07 – A1 Premiers
2007/08 – Dave Moss breaks Mike Riggall & Paul Brown’s club record of 169 by scoring 179 in a 35 over one day game at Vic Huxley Oval.

2008/09 – CPCC’s first international player. Junior Mikaela Turik selected for Canadian Women’s team
2009/10 – 2nd England tour with matches also in Singapore & Amsterdam. CPCC enters Masters Team in Sydney Masters Competition

Founding Fathers

Whilst Vic Huxley’s long service to the Cricket Club, Primary School, Youth Club and Baptist Church saw the oval named in his honour, others like Geoff ‘Chippy’ Browne and Barry Harland were also instrumental in laying the foundations for our Club which has lasted fifty years.

Their work did not stop with CPCC however as these pioneers of the Plateau community were also instrumental in establishing the Collaroy Plateau Youth Club with Barry & Chip holding down President and Secretary positions respectively.

Vic and Chippy are seen here in 1983 at the President’s XI v Captain’s XI match.


CPCC Museum

Located in the foyer of the Youth Club, the CPCC Museum displays equipment, trophies and other memorabilia from our Club’s long history. The collection is dominated by trophies, plates and other souvenirs from CPCC’s two England Tours, in 2005 and 2009. The cricket equipment display contains old bats, gloves, pads and other assorted gear that many a young Plataen would have found in the kit and used as they grew up playing cricket for CPCC. Bats on display include the revered ‘Non-Jar’ (see description below) and old County, Gunn & Moore, Stuart Surridge and Duncan Fernley models. The Club’s bat collection also includes a 1977 Gray Nicholls bat signed by the inaugural World Series Cup teams (Australia, West Indies and Rest of the World). Other items of special interest are a piece of the old Nolans 1 pitch which played host to CPCC A1 & A2 premierships, and a Tour Tie of Sanath Jayasuriya.

The ‘Non-Jar’
The Gunn & Moore ‘Non-Jar’ looked more like the leg off an antique desk than anything useful for a Plateau batsman. Its deep ebony hue suggested that the Non-Jar’s’ middle had the feel of a lump of cement and that it’s last innings was at a time when WG Grace was a rookie. The fact that GM felt it necessary to market it as ‘Non-jarring’ did little to install any confidence of its run scoring potential to CPCC players. The much maligned Non-Jar therefore lay in-active for many years at the bottom of the old C2 kit bag until one sunny day at Seaforth Oval in 1984. A young Russell Murray was debuting his new ‘County Clipper’, the latest in bat technology. After several overs Russell realised that the cheap ‘Indian Rock’ being used by the opposition was damaging his new pride and joy so Russell called for the only thing that the ball couldn’t damage – the ‘Non-Jar’. Over the next few hours Russell and the Non- Jar put on a still association record partnership of 200 with Neil Gray with Russell scoring 100. The Non-Jar was now part of CPCC folklore.

A Year to Remember

In 2001 the A1’s convincingly won the Clifton D Leake Shield after a fantastic post New Year run where they were undefeated. The team went through the 2001 calendar year losing only one match. This was the Club’s first outright A1 victory in fifty years of cricket.

Tower Of Strength

Psychological Implications of the Plateau Watertower.

by Alan Richardson

In the early years of the 19th Century, colonial cartographers and surveyors were struck by the natural beauty of our local area. Magnificent golden sandy beaches, rocky headlands and estuarine waterways could be viewed from coastal hills, of which Collaroy Plateau was one.

Yet somehow the sense remained that Mother Nature had fallen short of perfection. The Plateau stood as a crownless king, a sordid monument to the futility of Mother Nature herself. Another century would slip by before salvation arrived in the form of ‘The Tower’.

When one gazes up at The Tower today, it is difficult not to be moved. It rises above us all, an emphatic reminder that aesthetic hooliganism is not our enemy, but is there to be loved and respected by all. While nature had dithered and lolly-gagged its way through the millennia, twentieth century technology had “crowned the king” in a matter of months.

It is impossible, however, to talk of The Tower without talking of the Plateau – for they are one and the same. The Tower resonates with the very essence of the Plateau. The merciless, box-like proportions and brute functionality of The Tower are merely a reflection of the suburban grid of the Plateau’s streets.

Town planners of yesteryear apparently felt that curved streets were for “…lefties and pinkos…” Yet any born and bred Plateau-dweller will know that the names of those very streets echo in childhood memory like poetry; Grevillea…Stella….Acacia….Telopea. Sadly, the suburban pioneers (who so beautifully named these streets) soon ran out of imagination in the southern side of the Plateau reverting to such brain-dead fodder as “Emu”, “Kangaroo” and “Boomerang”.

The Tower, above all other factors, has a powerful influence over the psyche of Plateau-dwelling children. For the very young, it is the benevolent spirit that oversees their childhood games. Later it becomes the loveless demagogue, sneering down at their often violent and traumatic initial forays into competitive sport, a role it continues as the young Plateau-ites plunge into teenage angst. Then, for many teenage Plateau-dwellers, The Tower comes to represent their rites of passage, as its laughable defences are defeated and its heights scaled.

Until the 1990s, The Tower remained unchallenged as the Plateau’s only monument. This all changed when a certain telecommunications company constructed a rival monument in the area known as ‘The Enchanted Forest’. This post-modernist monstrosity features and multi-coloured paint scheme as well as a full scale replica drum kit – an obvious attempt to win the hearts and minds of locals, thereby diluting the passions formerly directed towards The Tower alone. In an effort to compete, The Tower itself has been adorned with its own array of communications equipment. Only time will tell which monument shall receive the devotion of the local population.

The Tower has clearly had a huge influence on our lives. And now, in 1997 as The Tower (along with its new companion) irradiates nearby residents with masses of high energy, DNA-altering electromagnetic pulses, it is obvious that it will continue to have a huge influence on the next generation, and those following.

Note: The Tower is also responsible for the local water supply.

Collaroy – Did You Know?

SS Collaroy. Iron paddle steamer, 419 tons. Built Liverpool, 1853. Arrived Sydney under canvas in 1854. Ran between Sydney and Hunter River. Wrecked American coast, probably California, June 1889. [DG] On 20 January 1881, ashore on Narrabeen Beach, NSW. Remained until September, resisting attempts of nature to break her up, when refloated and taken to Sydney for repairs. Converted into a schooner and made two trips to California. Such was her attraction whilst stranded that the beach became known as Collaroy Beach.