East Fremantle Lacrosse Club

History

The East Fremantle Lacrosse Club has one of the most distinguished and extensive histories in Western Australian and for that matter, Australian Sport. The concept for the East Fremantle Lacrosse Club started in 1896 when a meeting was held in July at O’Birnes Club Hotel in Fremantle for people interested in playing lacrosse in the Fremantle area. From 1897 – 1898 social games were played in order to gauge and build interest.

In 1899 the East Fremantle Lacrosse Club was formed. Initially, the club wore a long sleeved dark blue jersey with orange arm bands and cuffs with white knickers and white stockings. This was the inaugural uniform which was worn until 1901 when the uniform was changed to a long sleeved black jersey with a royal blue collar and cuffs, white knickers and black stockings.

The club continued to play annually with our first premiership success occurring in 1904, some 105 years ago. The club continued to play as East Fremantle until 1909 when East Fremantle amalgamated with Fremantle. Success was instant with the club winning the 1909 senior premiership. The clubs remained amalgamated until 1914 with the club still playing in the colours of East Fremantle.

In 1915 the club ceased playing due to World War I, but upon completion of the war in 1919, the club resumed playing with Fremantle until 1925.
On 2 February, 1926, interest in East Fremantle continued to grow and as a result the temporary amalgamation with Fremantle ceased and in 1926 East Fremantle resumed playing under its own banner.

In 1934 the club again amalgamated with Fremantle and while the club played under the name Fremantle (they were using the home ground of Fremantle), they retained the colours of East Fremantle so the club’s identity remained.
In 1940 East Fremantle again won the premiership after a long wait of 14 years since the reformation. This success was repeated in 1941.
Despite lean years brought upon by world wars, the club managed to taste some success with the club winning the WALA Victory Cup for the best club in 1949, 1950, 1954 and 1959. After World War II, the club’s first post war premiership occurred in 1950 when D Grade won the flag.

In 1957 the Club took another significant step with the Club becoming incorporated. The club remains incorporated until this very day.

After spending the first 61 years bouncing around between East Fremantle Oval, the Fremantle Trotting Track, Fremantle Park, Bicton Reserve (used the Swimming club as the change rooms) and Wauhop Park, the hard work of the club finally paid off with the club landing at our current home, Preston Point Reserve in 1960. The Clubrooms were erected in 1960 and consisted of the change rooms and the tiled area only. While small, it more than catered for the needs of a club longing for a home. The clubrooms were opened on 19 May 1960 at a lavish ceremony attended to by the East Fremantle Mayor, who was an avid fan of lacrosse. The grounds were ready for the 1961 season and the club tasted immediate success with the club winning its first senior premiership for 20 years.

5 years later in 1966, the second aspect of our new club was born with the establishment of the East Fremantle Women’s Lacrosse Club. Coming into the competition a year after the women’s competition was established, the East Fremantle Women started with immediate premiership success with premierships in 1967 and 1971.
After folding due to lack of numbers, the Women were eventually restarted by the efforts of some dedicated wives and girlfriends and this time the club would stick.
Meanwhile, while the men’s uniforms had changed and the stockings and knickers had long been discarded with the times, the club retained the colours of royal blue and black and it would be under these colours the club would wait another 14 seasons to taste premiership success again with the club taking out the 1975 premiership in one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in WALA history.

This would commence a reign which would see the club win 18 senior premierships over the next 34 seasons, more than half of those available.
In 1976 the club managed to obtain partial lighting at Preston Point Oval in order to allow night training and from 1977 to 1979, the club would make extensions to the clubrooms. More importantly, in 1977, the modern day identity of the club was obtained when the club made the decision to change the club colours to royal blue and white.

The club continued to experience numerous successes which would come to a peak in 1981 with the club equaling an Australian Record with 6 premierships in the 1981 season, including the senior premiership. It is a record which still stands. While the winning continued, the clubrooms continued to evolve with further extensions occurring in 1986 and again in 2000 where the modern day look was established.
While the Men continued to win, the Women’s also began to taste some long awaited success with a third premiership in 1983 followed by successes in 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999.

The Men’s club regained their winning ways after 4 successive grand final defeats with victory in a tough 1999 grand final which would lead into 5 more premierships so far in the 2000’s.
In November 2008 however, the club took probably the most significant step in its history with the club voting to amalgamate with the East Fremantle Women’s Lacrosse Club.

Since 1899, the club has fielded approximately 169 Senior Teams and 226 Junior Teams with the club winning 77 Minor Premierships (15 of these undefeated) and some 95 Premierships.

In addition to club success, the club has seen some 36 men and women club members represent Australia since 1947 as players (9 have been named captain of the Australian team), coaches, assistant coaches, managers and referees. 3 have been named in the World Team for Seniors, with two, namely Peter Cann and Jeff Kennedy, winning world MVP honours.

Other individual accolades of club members over the years include 17 Australian Lacrosse Council “Certificate Of Merit” winners, 1 Australian Lacrosse Council “Fellow” Award, 6 Australian Sports Medal recipients, 4 WALA Life Members, 1 Laxwest Life Member, 7 WALA Sportsman of The Year Nominees, 1 WA Sports Federation Coach of The Year, 59 WALA Fairest and Best Awards, 2 Laxwest Fairest and Best Awards, 4 ALC Fairest and Best Awards and since 1992, 9 KULJAK Medal winners for best on ground in State League grand finals.