Ernie’s contribution to the Club over a very long time was outstanding, both on and off the field. He was awarded Life Membership in recognition of this contribution in 1972, and as most of us will know, he mowed our grounds for years and only stopped a few years back when ill health finally caught up with him. He took great pride in making sure the grounds were looking great and ready to go for Saturday cricket.
The Kear’s moved to Wonga Park in the early 1930’ and as a 6 year old in 1934 Ernie would go along to the game each Saturday afternoon hoping that someone wouldn’t turn up so he could get to field, and on most occasions he would. Ernie probably started playing when he was 13.
As a cricketer Ernie would make “1 or a 100”. He liked to hit the balls up towards the Hall, once getting a century in about 30-40 balls. He captained the B Grade Premiership team in 1956/57 and in that season took 7/18, including a triple hatrick! Five wickets in five balls! So Ernie was a very accomplished cricketer, but of course he made a huge contribution off the field as well.
Ernie recalled a story in 2007 that in 1966 the Club decided to level the top ground so a whole bunch of blokes were there with shovels until Ernie rolled up in his bulldozer – much to everyone’s delight! Whether it be improving the grounds using a bulldozer, or a mower, Ernie loved the place. He will always be remembered.
Our history is built upon the huge contribution of families such as the Kear’s, Knee’s and Burch’s. Even if you didn’t know these gentlemen, you have to be inspired by their contribution. It’s up to all of us at the Club to ensure the tradition of selfless hard work continues.