Fred Knee, a Life Member of the Wonga Park Cricket Club and an absolute legend of the Club, a better, more genuine bloke you will never meet. Fred was 90 when he passed away and has been suffering ill health for some years now. His eldest son Les (“Legend”) Knee (Life Member) very sadly passed away in 1999.
Freddie was a handy cricketer but his biggest contribution to the Club was his enormous contribution to the Club off the field for a long time. Fred started playing cricket when he was 14 when we had just two senior teams. The top ground was much smaller than it is now and as Fred described some years ago “it was pretty much gravel”. He only played for one year and was then in the navy for a few years. He started playing again when he was 21 and played his last game when he was 56 (in ~1982). Fred played in our 1950-51 premiership team. He married the wonderful Hilda (Life Member) in 1946. Fred was President of the Club for 16 years, beginning in 1964 and finishing in 1984 (Herb Read was President for a few years in between). In that time Freddie oversaw some key moments in our history including: the agreement with Lilydale Shire Council to construct a second ground at Wonga, now the main ground. Having an adjacent ground was critical to our development as a cricket club, and the club as we know it today In the 1950s the guys began to take beer to the cricket for after game celebrations for the first time but people then wanted a BBQ to go with it. So in about 1965 Fred and Hilda invited everyone back to their house in Dudley Road to have more formal social evening after cricket. And so our wonderful tradition began of Saturday nights ‘back at Wonga’. A beer barrel was ordered, Fred would fire up his BBQ and the days cricketing stories would begin. Fred and Hilda hosted Saturday nights for approximately 15 years – this is Wonga folk lore.
Our long history of people getting together to socialize is absolutely the fabric of our great Club, and Fred and his wife Hilda played a huge part in this. We cannot thank them enough. Our 1st XI Bowling Award was named in Fred’s honour back in 1971/72. After Freddie stopped playing cricket, and moved away from his official duties he became involved in bowls, and of course threw himself into that. But while his health permitted he was never far from the cricket club, attending functions with Hilda when he could. For those of us who knew Fred we have many wonderful memories. For those that didn’t know Fred, take a moment to look around the Club and understand that Fred Knee had a massive part in what you see.