2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. In celebration of this milestone, we dig back into the archives to recognise the people and events that have shaped and influenced the Hall of Fame. Today we look at the inaugural induction ceremony of 1996 and the events leading up to it…
The formation of the Hall of Fame Centenary Committee in 1996 created Australian sporting history as the nation’s first football Hall of Fame. That history-making Committee featured the considerable talents and knowledge of John O’Connell, Alan Beale, Julius Re, Bob Brown, David Andrews and Frank Miller.
The Committee decreed that the philosophy behind the Hall of Fame would be to discover, highlight and honour through a series of induction ceremonies the very best talent that has graced football in WA since the first official game between Perth and Civil Service on a blustery morning in 1896.
To achieve this, guidelines were established to formalise a system that would be reflective of all facets of the code. The criteria for entry into the Hall of Champions – which recognises the elite players – was based on points gained for national and State representative honours, trophies won and seasons played in the top flight and the like.
From the start it was acknowledged that the game is made up of more than just players. There are many who contribute significantly off the field such as referees, coaches, administrators, journalists and sponsors who were considered worthy of recognition. And so was born the Hall of Recognition.
The first Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a black-tie event in November 1996 at the Novotel Langley. Sir Francis Burt, who served Western Australia in the capacity of Chief Justice and Governor and whose ancestors were among football’s founding fathers a century earlier, was named Patron.
The inaugural inductees were champions from the code’s foundation and through the 20th century. Amongst the twenty-nine players that entered the Hall of Champions were former Australia captains Ron Adair and Gary Marocchi, five-time Gold Medal winner Theo Paap and star of the women’s game Sandra Brentnall.
Seventeen individuals were inducted into the Hall of Recognition, amongst them respected referees Barry Harwood and Roy Stedman, super coach Alan Vest and iconic trainer Bob McShane. A special place was reserved for the Burt family who, above all others, were responsible for inspiring and establishing football in WA.
Inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame WA in 1996 were –
Hall of Champions: Ron Adair, Alan Beale, Sandra Brentnall, Robert Cherry, Jack Conduit, John Davidson, Len Dundo, James Gordon, John Henderson, Peter Holt, Ray Ilott, Stewart Johnson, David Jones, Don McArdle, John McInroy, Frank McShane, Gary Marocchi, Alex Marr, Sharon Mateljan, Hugh Miller, David O’Callaghan, John O’Connell, Graham Oughton, Theo Paap, Con Purser, Stephen Sceats, Anna Senjuschenko, Jack Smethurst and William Waddell
Hall of Recognition: The Burt Family, Harry Croft, Peter Dimopoulos, Tom D’Orsogna, Claude Eayrs, Barbara Gibson, Barry Harwood, Dr Oscar Mate, Bob McShane, Mick Mateljan, Fred Newton, Ron Oswald, Stan Power, Julius Re, Barbara Rogoysky, Roy Stedman and Alan Vest
Following this ceremony the Hall of Fame went into hiatus. It would be six years before the Committee was re-activated.