The early years in Western Australia of the

HARLEQUIN HOCKEY CLUB 

 

The Anglo Indian Connection

In the 1960's, many Anglo Indian Families had begun migrating to the shores of Australia, and in particular to the West Coast. They brought with them many of their habits, customs and traditions; one among them being the love of playing the game of hockey. At that time India was one of the top hockey nations in the world and many Anglo Indians had achieved the distinction and honour of representing India at the Olympic Games. Many Anglo-Indians migrated to Australia after the independence and partition of India in 1947. The Pearce brothers, Eric, Julian, Mel and Gordon Pearce, migrated from Lucknow to Perth after independence, and have all represented Australia in the Olympics. Eric played in 1956, '60 and '64, Gordon played in 1956 and '60, Mel played in 1956, and Julian played in 1960 and '64. Eric's daughter Colleen continued the tradition, representing Australia in the women's competition in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

 

The period of re-settlement in a new country to many migrant families is a daunting task. It was no different to Anglo Indian families migrating to Australia in the 60's. The focal point in the weeks social calendar for many young Anglo Indians in the winter days of Perth was to meet for a game of hockey on the grounds of Hamer Park in Mt Lawley. The games would go well into the evening on a ground with no lighting. The players included Baldwin Edmonds, Charles Gaudoin, Chris Carpenter, Errol & Aubrey Lafranais, the Daniel Brothers,  Lionel (Podgy) David,  Rex & Robert Rodrigues.

 

Formal Recognition

Watching from the sideline was a person by the name of Ilan Orner. He was intrigued by the way the game was skilfully being played by these lads who showed they were enjoying it. Although not much of a hockey player himself, Ilan was determined to use his managerial skills and do something with this group of newly found talent. He introduced himself to the group and put forward some suggestions to register and enter a team in the Western Australian Hockey Association. This was the beginnings of the "Harlequin Hockey Club".

 

The early years of this Club at Hamer Park in Mount Lawley were characterised with a greater emphasis on fun and fellowship, with the nearby Bus Shelter serving as a meeting place and changing room, and the street lights illuminating  the playing area. The initial band of merry men were now formally part of the WA Hockey Association competition, having been registered in the lower grade.

 

A Committee was set up to help with various Club issues and here began a new era in the social activities of many Anglo Indian Families who migrated to Perth in the 1970's. Fund raising functions were organised by Hazel and Carlton Bonjour on a large scale and picnics, car rallies, quiz nights, dances and bottle drives were some of the social events that made the Club popular among the newly arrived families from India, for it was at these functions that one would meet friends from the "old" country and exchange news of life both "then and now". The Club, without many realising it, had played and was playing an important social part in helping to ease that re-settlement task for many. Individuals and families alike came forward to help in many ways and the Club developed a strong following, both on and off the field. The membership of the Club  increased in huge numbers and teams were registered at various levels with the Western Australia Hockey Association.

 

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Get-Together to Thank Carlton & Hazel. 12 Sep 2020.

 

 

Photos of the early years of the Club can be emailed to Russel Fonceca sumgenius@gmail.com