Gorillas to return to the Den

This Saturday, Wilston Grange celebrate 71 years of history at their Homecoming Day.

The colts, reserves and QAFL senior team take on Morningside followed by the QWAFL team playing Zillmere; all at Bendigo Bank Oval.

The birth of what is now known as Wilston Grange took place in 1945, when Len Gregory introduced his neighbors to the game.

On June 30, 1945, the Wilston club fielded its first junior team against Mayne in the Under 15’. It was that moment, one of the most famous clubs in Queensland was born.

From senior premierships, to the great names on field like Syd Guildford, Jason Akermanis, Clint Bizzell and even our own CEO Dean Warren, to the influential people off it like Peter Butler, Ron Lockens, Hec Barker and John Teale, they have all played a roll, and that’s what Saturday is about recognising.

“This Saturday is the game we’ve designated as our homecoming round, and that is really, for us, celebrating the 70 years of effort from the Gorilla army in creating our club, and making it what it is today,” Wilston Grange President Brie Weatherstone said.

“We have organised a general invite to all of the Gorilla army, to come down to the club and share their stories of their time at Wilston Grange.”

Weatherstone said it was crucial to reflect on how Wilston Grange became the club it is today.

“Certainly for me, as a relatively newcomer to the club, to look back, understand and appreciate the history of where we have come from is really important, in terms of setting a path with who we are, what we are, where we want to go and who we want to be,” she said.

“I think what comes out, when you look back through our history, is that at our heart, we are a grassroots community football club, made up of volunteers and of individual efforts, so that is really important to recognise and to welcome people down to the club to share their stories. That is what makes our club great.”

The stories people have been shared, and will be shared on the day, is when the family aspect of the Gorillas hits home for Weatherstone.

“What touches me emotionally is hearing people talk about their grandparents, and their parents, and the time they used to spend down at the club as a kid when their dad was the president or their parents helped mow the lawn. It’s really a fantastic opportunity for those people to reconnect with the club, and express their stories, their family involvement in the club, because at our heart, we are a family club,” she said.

As much as it is about the past, there will also be a showcase of the future.

“Something else we have organised is to show off our one club approach between and junior and senior clubs. To put that on display, we have organised our Under 12 and Under 13 players to spend the day with the senior team for pre and post game activities, to highlight that linkage and highlight the importance of the development pathway at Wilston Grange,” Weatherstone said.

It’s a very important day off the field for Wilston Grange, but there is stil the task of winning all four games on the field.

“That’s the plan, to win.. It’s going to be a big four games, supporting the men and the women, who play after each other,” she said.

Action kicks off with the Colts from 9:30am.

Check out the video Wilston Grange have put together to celebrate their history below…well worth a watch.


By Andrew Wiles

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