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Len Templar - My Redan Story

September 2020

Where did you grow up and what are some of your earliest football memories?

I grew up in Donald and was attending school at Donald High school. One of my memories was running the boundary for the senior side with Phil O'Brien. Both of us eventually played league football.

What was it like playing senior football against the men as a 16 year old and how did that help with your development as a player?

Watching the seniors playing and training so hard, taught me that training kick to kick was most important and training with older men made me try harder.

Redan club President Les Waller recruited you in 1950, What can you remember of this time and what were your initial impressions of the club?

President Les Waller and Keith Rawle recruited me, one reason was I was voted second in the Best and Fairest in the North Central League. 

I was surprised how professional the club was. I was then working for the SEC (State Electricity Corporation). I was shocked at the friendly approach made to me by Charlie Eltringham, Bill Dunstan and others. 

It was a real learning curve coming to Redan.

Describe Keith Rawle the coach and player.

Keith Rawle was a great coach of young players and gave me so much confidence and support. Coming from the bush he really looked after me.


As a coach he was a perfectionist. He was quiet, he didn't bellow and swear.  As a player he was a beautiful kick.

What are your recollections of season 1952 and what was it like being part of that team?


Played full season, highly successful, premiers and champions. Was a highlight of this stage of my career.

It was the best kicking team I'd seen in those days. 

I remember seeing all the bikes leaning against the grandstand at the City Oval, very few players had a car. In 1952 most training nights there were big crowds watching, it was like a league side.

On Grand Final day at the Eastern Oval the crowd was massive, people were sitting on the ground outside the boundary line. 

It was a hell of a group, a very young and quick side.

You featured in the best players on Grand Final day where Redan defeated Ballarat by 24 points. Who was your opponent that day and what do you recall of the match itself?

My opponent that day was Carl Hoffman, left footer. Many good players Bill Ebery, Les Borrack and Keith Rawle.

The following season Redan were minor premiers losing only one game by a point, Bomber Wells topped the goalking with 116, Redan defeated Essendon in a practice match but Golden Point were premiers. What are your recollections of 1953?


Most disappointed that day, my opponent was Russell Jamieson who didn't care about getting a kick himself, so long as I didn't! Their coach Lance Collins out-coached us that day.

Describe yourself as a footballer.

Dedicated to win always. Had good speed.

Who were the best five players you played with at Redan?

Keith Rawle - brilliant leader.

Bill Ebery - consistently getting the ball.

Les Borrack - brilliant kick.

Dinny Murphy - clever and tough rover.

Max Spittle - quick and smart.

Who were some of the officials and support staff who made a big contribution to the club's success back in those days?

Les Waller, great President, Bill Dunstan as Secretary and Val Stewart our trainer.

What was it like playing in front of a packed City Oval in the 1950s?

Very different from playing in front of a country crowd.

You then went on to play 60 games with North Melbourne from 1954 to 1957, what were some of your highlights?

Playing against champions of that time such as Bobby Skilton (South Melbourne), Bill Hutchinson (Essendon) and Allan Ruthven (Fitzroy).

You kicked five goals in a Semi Final in 1954, what do you remember of that game?

Kicking the five goals of a losing 11 goals, voted 2nd best on ground.

After your time with North Melbourne, you went on to have a long association with Ballarat Football Club. What are some of your greatest memories with the Swans?

Member of the Team of the Century. 

Can you tell us about your involvement with Athletics?

I trained an athlete to win every event of the Stawell Gift. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Highlights was of Rodney Matthews winning the Stawell Gift. Peter Donovan broke the world record in the 550 metre race. Also my grandson winning, Nathan Hartigan the 1 mile (Stawell).

You now watch your grandson playing football at Bunninyong, do you get along to watch him play?

Yes my grandson Matthew Hartigan has played senior football with Bunninyong and still is a member. I regularly watch him play.

Have you been along to many Redan matches in recent years and what do you make of the club's success in recent years?

The odd one!


Iconic club, well run today as in the era of Les Waller and other great officials.

Describe the honour of being a member of Redan's Team of the Century.

A great honor to be named alongside the likes of Les Borrack and Calude Howard. Also enjoyed seeing Keith Rawle's video on the night who was a great mate to the players.

1952 cartoon
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