Berry Park - Allen Guy 29th June 2007

My first involvement with the Mount Colah Soccer Club was in 1962 when I enrolled my son Ken in the Under 9s and was informed that there was a Soccer Meeting the following Thursday night if I would like to come along. The result was coming home from the meeting with a 9B soccer team to manage and coach in conjunction with Dave Priday.

I recall ground problems existing in the early days, Parklands lacked watering facilities, and consequently quite often it was a dust bowl. No grounds were available pre-season owing to sharing with summer sports, traveling to the other side of the Harbour for picnic matches was required to get pre-season training and competition.

It was in 1965, we were growing in numbers, with team enrolments and selections held at Asquith Boys High School on a Saturday. It was at a meeting that Bob Newton commented that it was a pity that the Army land opposite his home in Berowra Road be made use of as an oval. I followed up on his remark and found that the area was controlled by the Dept. of Interior, whom I contacted and was able to obtain the use of the land as a training area by the club, on condition that we  had no permanent tenancy and would have to vacate on a days notice if required.

Permission was obtained from Hornsby Council for the use of a grader to clear the site which was operated by Council employee George Wilkins and with the help of club members the area was cleared and kikuyu runners were obtained from a farm in the Dural area which were planted by hand. A watering system was installed with the help of Doug Terlick’s trenching equipment and the club providing PVC piping.

During this period, water restrictions were in place with the allotted time of an evening, then it was amended to 6-9am so a amended roster was organized, with the men watering from 6-7am, school boys 7-8am, and our ladies 8-9am with Ned Robertson storing the hoses at the end of each morning. Later we were fortunate to obtain a couple of disused watering machines from Asquith Golf Club which was a great help in maintaining the grass on the oval. Permission was obtained to demolish and old house in Lord Street and the material was used to build a Kiosk, also a brick wall for kicking practice.

In addition to having the advantage of our own training field at all times, the club was in a position to arrange picnic matches with other clubs not as fortunate. With the tireless efforts of our ladies, the profits from the Kiosk soon began to swell our finances, and with the help of our members we were able to install lights on the ground for night training.

The naming of the oval BERRY PARK after Jack Berry who was the founder of the club, was a very fitting choice, in appreciation of his dedication in those early days. Many more names come to mind in association with the establishment of BERRY PARK, but as with soccer, it is the teamwork of everyone concerned not so much individuals, that produce satisfying results.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:32)