By Phil Skeggs
A blast from the past has blown us away with previously unseen photos from the club’s 1969 premiership season. Alan Phillips, a photographer and artist in Beechworth, recently contacted the club via our website after he found a collection of 35mm black and white negatives while moving house.
Alan’s brother Peter Phillips played on the wing in Ivanhoe’s B grade premiership alongside his best mate from Northcote High, Dave Berry. Dave recalled Peter had pace and skill as a player and never indulged in roughhouse tactics. “He always kept a cool head – on and off the field,” said Dave.
Peter had been doing weight training in the backyard gym of Northcote High sports-master Alec Weston. Alec was an ace recruiter and under 19s premiership coach and Peter and Dave were among several fine young athletes invited to play under 19s at Ivanhoe in about 1964. “He (Peter) was a very talented sportsman,” said Alan. “He held some Victorian swimming records, he captained the Victorian under 16 basketball side and he was vice-captain of the under 18 side.”
Premiership captain and Hall of Fame member Billy McWhinnie, who also played basketball with Peter, said his skilled teammate played about four or five more senior games in A grade in 1970 before a knee injury ended his playing days. “He had the next year out and then came back as an A grade umpire in the VAFA for a couple of years,” said Billy.
After the VAFA, Peter umpired in country leagues including the Ovens and Murray as well as the Diamond Valley league, forerunner of today’s Northern league.
Hall of Fame member Don Blackwood said Peter found time to join the committee in 1977 when Don was president. Peter wrote weekly match reports for the local paper, The Heidelberger. “He did a terrific job – a loyal person,” said Don.
Peter went on to become a highly respected Commander in the Australian Federal Police and was awarded the Australian Police Medal in 2004. He died in Canberra in December 2004, aged 58. His son Luke Phillips starred in an NRL premiership as fullback for the Sydney Roosters in 2002, playing with a broken shoulder.
Alan never pulled on the boots for the Hoes, but he was quite happy to take match photos with his second-hand Minolta SR-T 101 and telephoto lens. The Minolta was a 35mm manual focus SLR camera that was popular with amateur and semi-professional photographers. Good action prints were sometimes sold and he put the “pocket money” towards film and materials while studying industrial design at RMIT.
Alan’s images are an invaluable addition to the club’s online history, complementing his 8-minute clip of the 1969 grand final against De La Salle at Victoria Park. His stills also capture memorable moments from the 1972 B grade grand final against Geelong Amateurs.
There’s also action shots from several home-and-away games during the early 1970s that featured future stars Andrew Ireland, Mick Callinan, John Rojo, Hadyn Hughes and Billy Phillips (no relation). All five went on to play for the VAFA’s state teams – the first three were named All-Australians.
Keen observers will also note in some of the home game images how supporters were allowed to park their cars almost halfway around the Wamba Road wing. The ground was also particularly boggy in the pocket closest to the clubrooms because of the original location of turf wicket training nets. And in a couple of the 1969 grand final photos, you can see three of the club’s precious premiership flags draped along the fence in front of the Rush Stand.
The Phillips Collection has been donated to the club by Alan and dedicated in memory of his late brother Peter.
To view the full gallery, go to the history section on the club’s website, The Phillips Collection.
For more details about Alan Phillips, go to: www.alanphillipsart.com
A police tribute to Peter Phillips, who died on December 11, 2004, can be seen at: https://www.afpfma.org/tributes/december/
Special thanks to 69ers Don Blackwood, Russell Knight and Billy McWhinnie for helping to identify many of the players in these images.