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Fred Carpenter - My Redan Story


July 2016



Tell us about how you came to play for Redan.


I lived near the Western Oval and played juniors with my brother Bob. A lot of our teammates lived close by.


We lived in Sebastopol Street south of the Western Oval. In our street also lived the Holloway (related to President Damian Linton), Delaland, Hughes, Bayly and the Burt families.


Norm Carton (1946 Premiership side) was in Rippon Street, along with the Hines, Skillbeck and Beecham families while the Brayshaws were in Talbot Street.


In nearby Waller Avenue you had the Tweeddale, Bennett, Wallers and Sarah families while in Ascot Street you had Val Stewart (see image 2).


You had a decorated junior career as a key forward. What were some of your highlight as a junior with Redan?


I played in four junior premiership sides (1950 U/16, 1951 U/18, 1952 U/18 and 1953 U/18 with Bob) and won the 1952 U/16 BFL Best and Fairest and Leading Goal kicker with around 100 goals. 


We also lost the Under 16 Grand Final to East Ballarat at White Flat by one point. This was played the week before I played in the winning U/18 Grand Final.


When I was 12, I played in a Ballarat Representative side at Windy Hill in Essendon. I met Dick Reynolds then as he had a shop down the street from where I was staying.


In 1953 against Ballarat, I managed to kick 21 goals in a game and 16 in another game at Wendouree. That season I kicked over 100 goals and managed to play one game in the Senior side and managed to kick six goals against North Ballarat.


That game I was filling in for 'Bomber' Wells who kicked 116 goals that season to win the BFL Goal kicking award.  

Who were some of your toughest opponents at Senior level?


Sam Steines Geelong West Full back was my toughest opponent. He and Lance Prior their ruckman were both great players.


Ken Ford from Golden Point, Jack Indian from East Ballarat, Pat Hogan from Ballarat and Spud Taylor were all very good players.


You almost won the BFL Senior goal kicking award in season 1954, how close did you come? What was your largest bag of goals in the seniors?


Michael O'Beirne also from Geelong West kicked 63 that season and I finished second with 60 goals.


I am not sure of the year but I kicked nine against East Ballarat.


Tell us about your first taste of VFL football in 1953/54?


In 1953 at 16 years of age I played in a Redan side which defeated a strong Essendon line-up (minus John Coleman) at St Patrick’s Oval. This was a practice match a week before the 1953 Grand Final (Image 3)


That same year I also played in a drawn comp game which was the curtain raiser to a Ballarat Interleague match against Bendigo which was also drawn. The later saw a Bendigo player Ian Brown die in tragic circumstances from football injuries.


In 1954 I played at Essendon's main practice match which was during John Coleman's time and Dick Reynolds was the coach.


The next week I played at Footscray's main practice match and played against Herb Henderson who was the State Full Back and managed to kick six goals. Also playing were Charlie Sutton, Ted Whitten and Jack Collins who kicked seven goals in the Grand Final that year which was Footscray's only VFL premiership.


You spent some time in the VFL with St.Kilda, tell us about your experience there.


In 1955 I played in the main practice match when Les Foote was coaching the side. Then in 1956 I played six games in the seconds on permit for St Kilda who were then coached by Alan Killigrew at senior level.


Les Foote was a good a player as I've ever seen. I played against Keith Dridan another interstate Full Back.


Bill Young was the Full Forward in the senior side who played 94 games and kicked 274 goals from 1956 to 1961. He also made 67 runs against the touring England cricket side in a tour match.


Budd Annand who would later coach Redan debuted in 1956 while Alan Jeans did the previous season.


I was an emergency for the senior side twice with one of those games against Essendon. Army time at Puckapunyal came at the expense of football.


You played 20 seasons with the club across 1950 to 1973. Which coaches had the most profound impact on you and what was it that caused you to pull on the boots in 1973 after hanging them up in 1970?


Keith Rawle had the biggest impact on my career. We couldn't win before he arrived in 1950. When he arrived there was a reception for him at Ballarat Town Hall and it was packed.


The side's fortunes changed dramatically.


The game in 1973 was in Maryborough and the reserves were short. I played many times for this reason while in the seniors but never counted them.


Ron Parker at one stage had five doctors who were up from Melbourne on internships at the Base Hospital help us with numbers in the reserves back in those days. One of them was Galbraith who was a big man who could have played seniors.



Tell us about how you used your other passion of running to help with your football preparations?


I would run everywhere back in those days. I would run around Lake Wendouree before a game to warm up. This was to help warm up an injury with my hamstring and the coaches had no problem with this.


My best time around Lake Wendouree was 18 minutes 47 seconds at 43 years of age and managed to run under 20 minutes until the age of 56.


I ran under 19 minutes twice in the one week before going to the World Championships in Germany (Hanover) in 1977 I was 43. Then in England I got food poisoning before the games.


I would run to Clunes then get picked up. Then to Maryborough game but not be playing, just there to watch. This was around 1966-68.


Long training runs would include Ballarat to Learmonth and back. Ballarat to Dereel, Ballarat to Linton.


One run of interest was to Cape Clear on Grand Final day for Bradvale in the Western Plains League. Ian Jenkins was coach of Bradvale and it was their only Premiership in 1965. Other Redan players who played with Bradvale were Ian Burt, Max Lyle, Garry English, Ian Jenkins and Norm Schiltz (father of Andrew and grandfather of Ben).


I would often run 20 miles from country work place to SEC depot at Lake Wendouree which was the old Fry's Flour Mill, south of Mill Street and the Lake View Hotel.


I never drank on any of these long runs or marathons. It was the practice in those days but looking back now, it was wrong.


I ran with a 16yo Phil Carman when I was living in Lake Wallace near Edenhope. He watched me race at Stawell and I caught up with him in recent times when he was coaching Sebastopol.


Working with the SEC I ran Single wire earth return (SWERs) from one farm to another within a 40 mile radius of Ballarat.


What can you tell us about Val Stewart and do you think he would agree with Brendan 'Bobby' O'Brien who in his recent interview mentioned his view that ice baths were probably just a placebo?


Val used extreme heat in many ways with a lot of success. He had a hot box which is like a sauna that used light globes at his home in Peel Street near the Eastern Oval. 


He would have jockeys and boxers use the hot box. He even had greyhound trainers come to see him to rub down their dogs.


For foot injuries he would use old kerosene tins with very hot water.


Val once treated Harry Venner from Golden Point who was injured ahead of the Grand Final against Redan. Venner played and Golden Point won the Premiership, some were not too happy with Val.


Val was a volunteer with the fire brigade for over fifty years. He never missed a day of school.


His wife was a Polkinghorne and was the Great Uncle of Grant, Travis and John. He was also Uncle Val to Ian and Bruce Nankervis at Geelong.


He was a butcher with Hynes Bros in Bridge Street. He worked with smallgoods in hot water quite a lot so had a much higher tolerance of it than the players he treated. He also had very strong hands which were very scaly through his work.


He taught boxing at St Pat's and really loved boxing.


He also trained lots of runners at the Eastern Oval. He trained Brian Frawley and his sons Tony, Danny and Michael. Once at Stawell a very excitable Brian went out to race in only his jock strap before Val frantically ran back to collect his shorts.


He was a good Christian who went to church every Sunday. He would help pensioners suffering with pain using his water treatment.


His son Robert Stewart played seven games with North Melbourne in 1963 and Val trained there at the time.


He got on well with John Northey and was also involved in Northey's successful Interleague sides.


How did the 1952 side compare in terms of dominance with the Premiership sides of the late 1970's and 2000s?


The 1952 side was the most dominant and talented of any Redan side. They would have matched it with any Ballarat sides ever.


One of the members of that side Frank Murphy was a half back flanker and very fit. Frank is still with us and rates that side very highly, in particular Keith Rawle, Graeme Willey and Bill Ebery.


In 1956 I played with Frank in the Reserves Premiership with Redan.


He and Jack Atkinson of the 1946 Premiership side would to my knowledge be some of the last surviving members of our first two premiership sides.


Tell us about Redan back in the 1950 and some of the things the players would do to help the club survive.


We would often head out in buses and cars on Rabbit drives to places like Brewster out past Lake Burrumbeet and Dereel.


Brewster is a Soldier Settlement area west of Ballarat. 1st World War and 2nd World War.


My Dad and Uncle 1st World War were granted land plots to farm but it was hard and rough living in tents. So they had to walk off their plots.


Now this is the country that we (Redan) had rabbit drives.


Now as luck would have it, Ian Matthews whose boys now play with Redan owns this land. Maybe right where we had these drives.


Tell us about the role of the St George's Hall prior to the construction of the Dalton Hall.


St George's Hall was located just south east of the Western Oval in Urquhart St. Back then it was forest and was the scene of many presentations, white elephant sales, Saturday night parties, dances, and suppers.


Euchre card games were also played there and they played a vital role in fundraising for the club, much like Bingo in later years.


Jake Fern was the curator of the Hall.


Where does your BFL Reserves Best and Fairest (George King Medal) in 1966 and Reserves Premierships in 1956,1969 and 1970 rank among your achievements with Redan?


They are some of my greatest highlights along with the Under 16 League Best and Fairest and playing 300 plus club games with Redan.


After being dropped from the Senior side in 1965, I was keen to prove a point. I got on well with the coach Garry English but couldn't perform for him. I could have gone to other clubs but wanted to prove that I was good enough to have played in the Senior side.


How would you describe the way you played your football and your strengths as a Full Forward?


Mobility and ball handling were my main attributes. I was an accurate shot for goal, used my speed and loved playing on the open spaces of the City Oval. Back then the oval extended out to the current fire track and the goal posts went right back to the fence.


The players whose delivery really stood out would have been Bill McKenzie during my junior days and Ray Spargo in seniors who really knew how to kick it out in front of you.


You also had a very distinguished running career, what were some of your great achievements?


My first season of professional running was 1959-60. I competed at Stawell for 30 years with my last race in 1990. I also raced in every state of Australia.


I won races in Devonport (1 mile), Bendigo, Alice Springs, Carlton (6 miles), Ararat (800 yards), Geelong to Queenscliff (20 miles road), Geelong 1978 Championships (8,000m) Ballarat (1 mile at City Oval and 2 miles at Sebastopol), Flemington (10,000m and Cross Country AUS title Over 40s) the Over 40 1,600m/mile Centenary Year at Stawell in 1977 and ran Lake Wendouree in under 20 minutes. Ran marathons with a personal best of 2 hours 30 minutes.


In Veterans competition I have won 13 Gold Medals at Australian Championships, 19 Gold Medals in Victorian Championships and 4 team medals at the World Championships in 2009. Melbourne, New Zealand (Christchurch) and Germany (Hanover).


Can you tell us about your first marathon in 1967 and some of your best times in that event?


My first marathon in 1967 was 2.36.

My best time was 2.30 - start St.Kilda

Marathon in Germany - 2.36

My last and slowest one was at Lara. I became de-hydrated and was wearing too many layers. I was the backmarker and gave a 45 minute head start and finished with a time of 2.42.


Being such an elite middle to long distance runner, you would think as a footballer you would have played in the midfield. What was it that made you most effective as a Full Forward instead?


I started out as a Full Forward being in very strong junior sides. I played a lot in the centre also.


What are some ways you have remained involved with Redan since your playing days?


Only loyal to Redan with many jobs helping out. But give trophies to Reserves and also juniors which I watch as much as I can.


Share with us your thoughts on the Save the Lions Group and how dire things were in the lead up to their formation?


I can only say we oldies stuck it out and helped where we could. They were hard times but we are still there now being 2016.


Can you give us some insight into the house restoration project at Russell Tweeddale's Waller Street house?


This house is the continuation of Sebastopol Street and as before mentioned, all these players were very much Redan and we had lots of loyal help.


Who are some of the best players you played alongside with at Redan and who are the best players you have seen during your entire time with the club?


Keith Rawle (and best coach) and Graham Willey would be the two best players I played with at Redan.


Keith Rawle was a very gifted player. Graham Willey could do it all in wet and dry conditions. I saw how good he was in the dry and I said to myself one extremely wet day we will see how good he is. Best man on the ground.


Jarrod Edwards is the best player I have ever seen play at Redan. Some people look at the prettiness of a footballer but I look at value. I have never seen a more valuable player who could dominate so often, he would regularly have 40 to 50 possessions.


He was a very strong player who got the hard ball but also very fair.


Michael Smith, Ray Spargo, Billy Burge, Dinny Murphy, Bomber Wells, Bill Ebery, Keith Rawle and Budd Annand. 


How enjoyable has it been watching the side since 2002 and did you ever think you would see such a golden era following the late 1990s hardship?


This was more your time Simon and who knows more than you. We are so grateful to you and the boys who have us where we are now.


What does it mean to be a Life Member and Hall of Fame member of Redan?


I was overwhelmed by the honours.


What is the biggest change and greatest similarity between Redan in 1950 and the club you see today?


The biggest changes in the game itself would be a lot more congestion and stoppages. It was all man on man and set positions back when I started.


Under 16 was the youngest age group. 


There have been plenty of changes to the jumper.


As VFL footballers were not terribly well paid, they would often come to clubs such as Redan on higher match payments. A few players came from Essendon and North Melbourne. Dick Reynolds was paid only 12 pound as coach at Essendon.


The clubs are more business like now employing paid staff.


The club is still a working man's club, we have never gone out and bought players. Everyone puts in around the club.


The Women's Committees have been fantastic over the years. Emily Lees, Shellie Roberts, Mrs Wellard and in recent time Julianne Forbes have been wonderful servants of the club.


What was the best piece of advice you were given as a junior footballer and what would you say to the junior footballers and netballers about the great club they have joined?


What a fantastic club to be involved in with such a rich history.


It should be an honour to play with a club that has proven itself many times over the years and produced Les Borrack, Neil Tresize, Shaun Grigg, and Greg Wood through the juniors. 



Broken Hill 1600m - Peter Heenan Winner - couldn't be much closer.

Prior to the Dalton Hall at the Western Oval, St George's Hall was used for club functions and dinners.

Redan families near the Western Oval.

1966 George King BFL Reserves Best and Fairest

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