Auckland University Track Club Centenary Celebrations
Dick Quax was named club athlete of the centenary at the recent Auckland University Track Club Centenary celebrations. Dave Harkness reports on the celebrations and unfolds some historical details of past members.
Dick Quax - club athlete of the centenary
On Saturday 28 March 2009, 120 past and present members of the Auckland University Track Club (AUTC) gathered at the old Government House in the grounds of the Auckland University to celebrate the club’s 100 years of history.
The club was founded by H Wills, a shot putter and the first club treasurer, on 28 March 1909. The membership fee was 2/6. The original club name was the Auckland University College Amateur Athletic Club. In 1931 Geoff Skeat founded the Auckland University College Amateur Harrier Club, and both clubs amalgamated to AUTC in the 70s.
There have been eight Olympians and 15 Commonwealth Games representatives from AUTC past and present members. Between them they won three Olympic and five Commonwealth Games medals.
Peter Montgomery, a 400m flat and hurdler in the 60s, was the MC for the dinner. The speakers were: 1960 Olympian and former English professor Don Smith; New Zealand cross country and marathon representative Lloyd Walker; 1976 Olympics silver medallist Dick Quax; 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games 5000m fourth place getter Kerry Rodger; and exceptional masters cross country and road racer Gavin Stevens, who also won cycling gold in the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
The club “Top Three” team performances by popular vote were:
1st = 1981 victory in the NZ Road Relay Championships in record time, that still stands, of the Takahe to Akaroa relay,
1st = 1970s nine straight wins in the annual Southland Centennial Relay,
3rd 1978 winning “Ten Man Teams” cross country team, where the club’s 10th finisher was 18th.
The club athlete of the decade for the last 100 years:
- 1900s - H Wills for starting the club
- 1910s – Eric Hanston, NZ University records over long jump, 120 hurdles & 4 x 440 yds relay
- 1920s – Reginald Webber, 1923 NZ 1 & 3 mile champ & Australian 3 mile champ
- 1930s – Harold Brainsbury, 1934 Empire Games triple jump bronze medal
- 1940s – Jack Sinclair, 1949 NZ mile champ & resident record holder
- 1950s – Dutch Holland, 1952 Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medal
- 1960s – tie between Don Smith, 1960 Olympics 800m 13th fastest time, & Barry Robinson, 1960 Olympics, 1962 Empire Games & NZ 400m record for 13 years
- 1970s – Dick Quax, 1970 Commonwealth Games 1500m silver medal, 1976 Olympic 5000m silver medal, 1977 5000m world record & NZ record for 31 years
- 1980s - tie between John Bowden, 1983 NZ World Cross Country team & 1986 Comm. Games, & Shane Marshall, 1983, 1985 & 1987 NZ World Cross Country team
- 1990s – Peter O’Donoghue, 1990 Comm. Games 1500m bronze medal
- 2000s – Gavin Stevens, world ranked 1st over 50 for the marathon in 2006 and 2007
People came from all over the country for the event, including Dunedin and Te Anau, from Australia and Bill Allison came from Jamaica. A good night was had by all.