The foundation meeting of the Dandenong Little Athletics Centre was held on the 18th December 1968, just four years after the Little Athletics movement was founded in Geelong.
Track and Field: The first competition was held at Greaves Reserve (Dandenong Show Grounds) on Saturday 1st February 1969, where subsequent competitions were held until the move to Robert Booth Reserve for the 1970-71 track and field seasons. The original location at Robert Booth was the southern end “oval”, which baseball now occupy, and the “fire track” for sprints and other activities during inclement track conditions.
During October and November 1973 all competition was held at Robinson Reserve Doveton/Eumemmering due to the poor state of the ground at Robert Booth.
We moved to our new ground at the rear, northern end, of Robert Booth Reserve which has been specifically designed and constructed with Little Athletics in mind, for the 1984-85 season. Our first competition was a trails day on Saturday 15th September 1984. These new facilities were officially opened, with a large carnival atmosphere, as the Dandenong Athletic Complex on the 17th November 1984.
In June 1993 our President of 23 years, Cr.Barry Powell JP passed away. As a tribute to his service and dedication to the young sports people of the Dandenong area our track was dedicated, during a twilight meeting on the 17th December 1993 as “The Barry Powell Little Athletics Track”.
Cross Country: In addition to the track and field season (September – April) Dandenong runs a cross-country season (April – August). This has always been significant event from the establishment of the Centre. The original competition was held at the Police Paddocks. In 1972 the competition was moved to Churchill Park where it remained until returning to the Police Paddocks in 1977.
During the Cross-country season we are joined by other Centres and individual members. These have included Waverley, Caulfield, Casey, Seaford, Cranbourne, Brighton and Pakenham, Knox.
In the 1990s the Centre moved Cross-country to Booth Reserve and runs along Dandenong Creek, Cross Country caters for Under 5s right through U16s and a Fun Run.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Did you know that there have been three marathon relays conducted by the children of the Dandenong Centre.
The January Jogabout: This was held on the southern Robert Booth ground running non-stop for 30 days and 30 nights , in January 1977. To say the least the night lighting was meagre, but with the local constabulary also running with the children there were no incidents. The aim was achieved, that was to run the equivalent distance from Dandenong to Perth and back, covering over 7,000 kilometres and raising $7,754, which was shared amongst various community organisations including the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Dandenong Hospital.
1982 Jogabout: This was the last marathon relay on the southern Robert Booth ground and was inspired by the then forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. So what better task than to run the equivalent distance to Brisbane, some 1,940 kilometres. This task was accomplished in 8 days and 8 nights, raising over $3,489, which was shared equally between the Commonwealth Games Association, (to sponsor an athlete) the Dandenong Hospital and sporting equipment.
The Rock Run: In 1990 our current ground was extensively floodlit, then for 21 days and 21 nights the children ran 5,372 kilometres, equivalent to the distance to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and back to celebrate our 21st Birthday. The total funds donated to the Dandenong Hospital were $3,410.
As a result of the fund raising carried out for the Dandenong Hospital over many years, five Life Governorships have been bestowed on members of the Centre.
Good Friday Appeal which benefits the Royal Children’s Hospital: originally known as the “Relaython”, and subsequently “Laps for Kids” and now “Change for Kids” is a fundraising event for the hospital. The Centre holds three records for this event, namely:
12 Hour Run: 217.2 Km in 1972 (World Record)
6 Hour Run: 140.8 Km in 1988 (World Record)
Money Raised: $2696.74 in 1987.
Dandenong Clubs past & present
Clubs Affiliated with Dandenong Little Athletics Centre and commencement date.
Lyndale … 1968-69 - 2004-04 (1)
South Dandenong 1968-69 – 1992-93 (1)
Dandenong East 1968-69 – 1983-84 (1)
Dandenong West 1968-69 – 1992-93 (1)
St. Gerards 1968-69 - 2017-18 (1)
Oakwood Park 1970-71 – 1995-96 (6)
Doveton 1971-72 - 1977-78 (2)
Hallam 1975-76 – 2003-04 (7)
Narre Warren 1975-76
Parkmore 1975 76 – 1998-99
Hampton Park 1976-77
Cranbourne 1976-77 – 1981-82 (3)
Robert Booth 1976-77 (4)
Doveton-Endeavour Hills 1978-79 (2)
Mossgiel Park 1980-81 – 1981-82
The Discoverers 1984-85 – 2003-04 (7)
Berwick Village 1985-86 – 1999-00 (5)
Rosewood Downs 1995-96 - 2009-10
Silverton 1998-99 – 1998-99 (6)
Dandenong Districts 2004-05 2009-10
(1) Foundation Clubs of DLAC.
(2) First competition was for a Cross Country Season (1972). Name changed to Doveton-Endeavour Hills 1978.
(3) Originally a Centre, joined Dandenong as a Club and left Dandenong and went to Frankston as a Club, subsequently reformed as a Centre 1984/85.
(4) Formed to provide continuing athletics for the “over age (U13-15)” children, it was administered directly by the DLAC until the 1978/79 Season after which time the age groups at all Clubs were increased to U15. Due substantially to the activities of the children of this Club, and the DLAC Executive, the age for Little Athletics in Victoria was increased from twelve to fifteen. The Club was re-activated during 1986-88 for the U16 to U18 age groups.
(5) Originally a Centre (Berwick), reformed and joined Dandenong as a Club. Subsequently reformed as a Centre (Casey) at the beginning of the 2000/01 season.
(6) Oakwood Park Changed name to Silverton
(7) Merged into Dandenong Districts
Little Athletics Australian (LAA) is the national body, based in Melbourne for co-ordinating the activities of the State bodies. Its executive is elected by the State bodies who are also represented by delegates at half yearly meetings. Currently the ALA consists of ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic & WA, the NT is not part of the national body at present. Originally known as Australian Little Athletics Union (ALAU) and subsequently Australian Little Athletics (ALA).
Little Athletics Victoria (LAVIC) is the State body, for co-ordinating the activities of Little Athletics in Victoria. Originally known as the Victorian Little Athletics Association (VLAA).
Region: Victoria is divided into Regions, Dandenong Centre is a member of the Southern Metropolitan Region (SMR). This consists of an executive elected by the Centres within the Region and holds delegates meetings monthly. Its purpose is to organise the heats of State Championships, training camps and generally co-ordinate other appropriate activities for the benefits of the Centres within the Region.
Current Centres within SMR Region are:
Brighton, Caulfield, Chelsea, Dandenong, Frankston, Mentone, Moorabbin, Mornington, Oakleigh, Sandringham, Seaford, Southern Peninsula, Sandringham, Skye Valley, Springvale, Waverley & Westernport.
Centre: The Dandenong Centre Committee comprises of an Executive Committee elected by the Clubs at the Annual General Meeting of the Centre as well as two delegates representing each affiliated Club.
The purpose of the Centre is to promote and control athletic competition for children from affiliated Clubs within its geographic area. To promote recreational, social & community activities with an emphasis on family involvement. To promote Little Athletics and conduct competition as an affiliated member of Little Athletics Victoria. Manage teams representing the Centre in state championships. To promote the health and safety of athletes, officials and all individuals involved in any capacity. Acting for and representing the interests of members associated with it, in all matters pertaining to Little Athletics.
Club: The Club is the local community based identity and generally the first point of contact for all matters relating to membership.