Spring’s end was near in 1982 as John Brooks, who had colour in his hair back in those days, kicked back with a beer in his hand and watched on as his son Cary celebrated his 21st birthday with past schoolmates and mates alike. Young men are notorious for the formulation of wild ideas while under the influence of liquor and so he thought as a young Don Korner approached with his own. We want to start a footy team. Will you be coach? Not thinking much would come of it, John said yes. Well, as much as young men are known for wild ideas, they may also be known for their drive, as the following years would prove. Soon a meeting was held with twelve attending. By the start of 1983 the idea had gathered momentum with approval from the amateur league and soon a team was training under the tutorage of John Brooks and the lights of Tea Tree Gully Memorial Oval. And so it was, a group of friends were to play their first game together under the banner of Banksia Park Old Scholars Football Club.
The Eighties Three-Peat
With one team in Division Eight they played their home games on the oval at Banskia Park High School with Doreen Oliver serving supporters coffee, tea and hotdogs from a card table. The club had a promising start to its inaugural year winning eleven games and its first final, but would bow out of the series losing the preliminary final to St. Dominics Football Club. Don Korner, a main instigator in the inception of the club, would win the association medal. The club recorded a profit of $92 for the year.
As word of the new club trickled between friends numbers grew on the training track, although the club, again in Division 8, would field only one side. A formidable side it was though, finishing the minor round five games clear on top and easily accounting for Adelaide University in the Semi-Final. Finding itself in the Grand Final in only the club’s second year, the young side was not to be daunted by the occasion. Rather, they were unstoppable as they demolished Burnside Kensington by 80 points and what had been a mere adolescent fantasy two years prior was suddenly a reality. It was precisely the kind of success the club needed to secure its foundations.
The success continued into the club’s third year, winning all but two games and finishing the minor round of Division 8 in second place behind National Australia Bank. The Parks (as they were known) lifted their game for the finals to beat the minor round premiers in the second Semi-Final. They would meet NAB once more in the Grand Final and continued the fairytale beginning with a twenty one point win. Word of the club and its success had spread between mates and acquaintances and in 1986, after being promoted to Division 7, they fielded a Reserves side for the first time. That year the club moved to the Houghton, Inglewood and Hermitage Memorial Oval. One could be forgiven for thinking they had a serious case of déja vu at the end of the year with National Australia Bank again finishing minor round premiers and Banksia Park Old Scholars second. History would repeat in the second Semi-Final as the Parks clinched a three point victory against National Australia Bank, whom they would once again play in the Grand Final. The game would not go down to the wire this time as the Parks secured the trifecta with a seven goal win. John Brooks describes it as being the most satisfying of all three Premierships. He would continue to coach the club until 1988 and has played an active role throughout the years.
At the end of the 1994 season the club officially changed its name to the Houghton Districts Football Club to recognise the association it had with the local area. The Raiders were born. In 1999 they would taste more end of season glory, securing the Division 7 premiership with a three point win over Brahma Lodge. The club has won the Association’s Best and Fairest ten times and provided the Division leading goalkicker on five occasions, producing many great players, including legends of the club such as four-time premiership player Dave Trevaskis, club leading goal kicker Andrew Oliver and games record holder Aaron Musolino.
The Houghton Districts Football Club is nestled in a unique location with picturesque surrounds. The ambience of the region is only interrupted when the natural amphitheatre is filled with those who’ve made watching football there a regular and popular pastime. It has become a formidable venture for opposition teams, but the echoes of a raucous crowd remain an inspiration for the home side. The clubroom, atop the hill and peering out across the oval, has been the site for endless tales of fellowship and hilarity. As the tireless old guard of the club slowly hands over the reigns to the young blood, the genuine and warm nature always found within those walls still remains. The camaraderie that built the club in the early eighties runs deep and is felt by all who walk through the gates. It has been home for many and still is for many more.