Willetton Hockey began life as a division of the Willetton Sports Club with a women’s team in 1974. The following year the first men’s team was formed and played in the WA Hockey Association, 1E division. The club’s first home ground was Willetton Reserve at the corner of Apsley Road and Malindi Street. Over the following years Willetton had as many as five women’s teams and eight men’s teams. A move from the Malindi Street reserve to the Burrendah Reserve was made when the new Willetton Sports Club building was completed in the early 1980s.
Willetton had a very strong junior division with teams in all age groups in both boys and girls. The Willetton/Bull Creek area experienced rapid growth with young families moving into the area. At one stage Willetton was the largest junior club south of the river, possibly the largest in Perth. Willetton was one of the first clubs to start Minkey Hockey (now Hook Into Hockey) with Graeme (Gus) Varvell promoting this to be the largest Minkey program in the state. Over 350 children were playing each Saturday morning in winter at Burrendah Reserve at its peak.
In 1990 Willetton men gained promotion from 1B division to Premier League. A major force behind the effort to gain promotion was the then Chairman of the Hockey division, Barry Arnold. Unfortunately the Willetton men were unable to maintain the grade and were demoted at the end of the season. Willetton men never really recovered from that level of excellence. Willetton women were much more successful when in 1991, they were promoted to the Premier League. They maintained that level until the amalgamation with Old Aquinians Hockey in 2010. The first Premier League coach was Gary Brandis.
In 2003 the committee of the Hockey Division of the Willetton Sports Club were concerned about the financial viability of the division. Each player had to pay to be a member of the Sports Club as well as pay fees to the Hockey Division. The sports club itself was struggling financially and there was limited or no financial support from that source. A decision was made to move to the Trevor Gribble Reserve in Bull Creek and to form the Willetton Hockey Club for the 2004 season. This move was financially successful however the club still suffered from difficulties in providing adequate administrative support to its senior and junior teams. It also was unable to compete with local clubs which had access to artificial hockey turf. In 2004 Willetton were approached by Melville City Hockey Club with a proposal that they merge in 2005 but while Willetton supported the proposal, Melville subsequently decided against the move.
In 2010 an agreement was reached with Old Aquinians (OA) which involved the teams which played on turf transferring to that club and OA taking responsibility for the junior program. Senior grass teams have gradually diminished in number until there remains only one masters team.
|1990||GRAEME (GUS) VARVELL*|