Ian Thorogood, the former Carlton Senior coach thrust into the position with the shock resignation of John Nicholls, has died at the age of 82.
A three-time Premiership player in the feted Melbourne teams under Norm Smith’s watch, Thorogood was appointed Assistant Coach to Nicholls prior to the latter’s sensational departure on the Thursday before the opening round of the 1976 season. To quote the late Carlton secretary Keith McKenzie in the Carlton Annual Report of that year: “Overnight, the summing up of players and tactics became number one priority in Ian’s football life”.
“The Blues began the season in great style with seven successive wins under Thorogood’s control and much of the credit must go to this man,” McKenzie wrote.
“Many times during each and every week, Ian would either be on the telephone or be at the club to discuss team placements, statistics or opposition styles. No-one could say Ian was ever caught unprepared.”
Thorogood took his team to within one straight kick of qualifying for the ’76 Grand Final – “the one that got away” as has often been said in the years since.
Through season 1977, he mentored a group which included emerging talents Jim Buckley, Wayne Harmes and Ken Sheldon – the same year in which Robert Walls, now a mentor to the Carlton coaches, officiated as captain.
“Ian was thrown into the job when John Nicholls departed on the eve of the opening game,” Walls said.
“‘Thoro’ took us to the finals in ’76 but we went out in straight sets and the general feeling amongst the boys as the years have gone on is that we let another slip. We played some pretty good football, but we just didn’t get the job done in September and there remains a bit of a regret.”
“I got on well with Ian. I really liked him. Like Barassi he came through the Norm Smith school and was straight down the line. We all respected Ron greatly and ‘Thoro’ was in the same mould . . . I enjoyed playing under him.”
A member of the Redlegs’ 1957, ’59 and ’60 Grand Final triumphs, Thorogood later captained and coached VFA outfit Waverley to the 1965 Premiership. At Princes Park, he coached Carlton teams to 29 victories from 46 matches through the 1976 and ’77 seasons.
The Carlton Football Club extends its deepest sympathies to the Thorogood family at this time.
As a mark of respect to the late Ian Thorogood, the Carlton senior players will wear black armbands in Thursday night’s season opener against Richmond at the MCG.
BARRY Bryant well remembers the day the offer first came through.
It happened more than 60 years ago, when the then 17 year-old was a junior teller in the counting house at Walwa – the tiny northern Victorian town less than a mile from the Murray River between Wodonga and Corryong.
“It was about 1957. I was working in the bank there and the manager said ‘Oh there’s a couple of fellows from Carlton here to see you,” said Bryant, who paid his old club a welcome visit recently.
“I said to the manager ‘You must be kidding’ because ever since I was a kid I always followed Carlton.
Resplendent in their dark navy blue blazers, the two men from the big smoke were the Carlton Secretary Allen Cowie and the 1947 Brownlow Medallist Bert Deacon.
“They said to me ‘We’d like you to come down to Melbourne to play. We’ll get you to play on permits’ – and I didn’t need to be asked twice,” he recalled.
“I came down and played about four or five games on permits with the seconds under Jack Howell as coach, whilst attending bank school.”
Barry Bryant among his Carlton teammates. (Photo: Supplied)
After a brief first stint at Princes Park, Bryant opted to head back to the bush – his reasoning fairly simple.
“I realised I probably wasn’t totally ready to leave home at that age, so I went back to play a few local games. When Carlton asked me again if I’d like to come down I said ‘Just leave it’,” he said.
“I thought I’d get a transfer with work to Melbourne anyway and I got a transfer all right – to Kyabram. I had a good year with Kyabram, won the best and fairest there in ’59 and Carlton followed up. That’s when I came down in 1960 – and I wasn’t going to go anywhere else.”
The Walwa Bryant left behind was “pretty much a one-horse town”. But it had a fair footy team, amongst them Barry, his younger brother Gordon and their father Milne (aka ‘Spud’) Bryant. Together they played their part in Walwa’s four flags on the trot – 1954, ’55, ’56 and ’57.
“That was open age of course and I reckon I played my first game at about 13,” he said.
“I was a little goalsneak so they put me in the pocket, and then from 16 I played centre – and Dad, who was 20 years older than me, was full-back.”
Boarding in eastern suburban Hawksburn under the watch of an old lady named Miss Decker, Bryant used to catch the tram to training.
Told that he would make the cut for the opening round of the 1960 season against Richmond at Princes Park, Bryant cruelly suffered a cork thigh in the practice match the week before, and was instead replaced by Dave McCulloch.
Wearing the number 11 later made famous by Bruce Doull, Bryant overcame that physical setback to complete his senior debut nine days short of his 20th birthday, against Fitzroy in the second round match at Princes Park – an historic round given that matches were played on Anzac Day for the first time.
Barry Bryant returns to Ikon Park in front of his former No.11 locker. (Photo: Supplied)
But it’s the Round 10 contest with Footscray that Bryant savours most.
“I can remember before that match that Ted Whitten came over to shake hands,” Bryant said.
“He said to me ‘this is one of your first games – all the very best’ – and I have always remembered that. TED WHITTEN!
Plying his craft as a canny forward pocket with a beautiful left boot, Bryant made steady progress and was not surprisingly adjudged Best First Year player in Carlton’s Hands-coached senior teams of the 1960 season.
But in the 10th round match of 1961 against Hawthorn at Glenferrie Oval, he copped an injury that effectively ended his on-field career.
“In the third quarter at Hawthorn I went up for a mark which I took on my chest, but I came down awkwardly and I felt something,” Bryant said.
“I thought ‘Geez, what’s happened here?’, and as I looked down my left kneecap was sticking out. That was pretty much it, although I look back now and wonder what might have been. All I was told by the medical people back then was to strap a brick to my left foot and lift the foot up and down.”
Bryant’s Carlton career ended after just 14 senior appearances – but not before he’d forged lasting friendships with the likes of Gordon Collis, Bruce Williams (now living on the Gold Coast), Barry Smith, who played a few games, and John O’Keefe whose whereabouts at the time of publication are unknown.
Beyond Bluesville, Bryant managed a couple of seasons with VFA outfit Brunswick before heading back to the sticks. He fronted up for a game with Rushworth, but when a poke in the eye almost cost him his sight he opted to give the caper away at the tender age of 25.
Turning his attention to tennis, he rose through the ranks as a competent state player and he still plays. A regular partner on-court is the former Collingwood Premiership footballer Brian Beers.
To this day, Bryant’s love for Carlton remains.
As he said: “I just love them . . . and now I see daylight.”
The true identity of a member of Carlton’s inaugural VFL team to take to the field has been revealed, more than 120 years after he first ran out.
The player is the 30-game backman Charles Herbert Sweatman, wrongly identified as Tom Sweetman, who was part of the club’s senior 18 which met Fitzroy at Brunswick Street Oval in the opening round of the League’s inception season of 1897.
The mystery was recently solved by Jamie Sanderson of The Blueseum historical website, with the support of researchers Rob Harris and the AFL’s Stephen Rogers.
According to Sanderson, the enduring flaw can be sourced to the newspapers of the day in 1897, which incorrectly listed the player as ‘Sweetman’ with two ‘e’s.
“It seems that the incorrect spelling was accepted as gospel by everyone including the player himself,” Sanderson said.
“He even went by the name Sweetman in his later playing career with Boulder City in the Goldfields League.”
When The Blueseum issued a public plea for assistance in sourcing information on its little-known players, Harris pursued information relating to Sweetman, only to find references to Sweatman.
Sanderson’s subsequent search through ancestry.com unearthed a Tom Sweatman, born in Ascot Vale in 1873, whose age tallied with the Carlton player.
“The thing that really made me twig was the image I located of the 1907 Boulder City Premiership team, in which Tom Sweatman is pictured standing next to Jim Pender – both men having played in Carlton’s backline through 1898,” Sanderson said.
Charles Sweatman in the 1907 Boulder City team photo.
“On being notified, the AFL conducted further investigation and confirmed that Sweatman was the man – and there were a few fist pumps when that came through. The League’s official records have now been changed, with historic publications like the Encyclopedia of League Footballers to follow suit.”
Sanderson added that although Sweatman died of a heart attack in Echuca in 1915 at the tender age of 41, he was married with a son “so there is the possibility of descendants”.
Accordingly, descendants are urged to contact Tony De Bolfo on 9389 6241.
The Spirit of Carlton (Past Players) will be hosting a 40-year reunion of members of the Bryan Quirk-coached 1979 Under 19 premiership team, on Saturday, July 20, at Marvel Stadium.
The ’79 victory over Fitzroy – 9.18 (72) to 8.9 (57) – completed back-to-back Premierships for the team under Quirk’s watch, with centreman Mark Hegarty booting the sealer. Savouring victory were team members David Glascott, Mark Buckley and Spiro Kourkoumelis, who later represented the club at senior level.
Also invited to the reunion function are surviving members of the Carlton 49ers – the Under 19 team which knocked Geelong over by 11 points in the 1949 Grand Final.
The ‘49ers were coached by 1938 Premiership player Jim Francis and captained by Alan ‘Alby’ Mangels (the father of Carlton’s 88-gamer Alan jun.), Their ’49 triumph also completed back-to-back Grand Final victories for the team, whose members also included Ian Clover and Dick Gill, the sons of Carlton greats Horrie Clover and Frank Gill respectively.
Another team member was the long-time radio caller Don Hyde AM. Brunswick-born and bred, and an old St Joseph’s North Melbourne boy, Hyde later represented the Kangaroos at reserve grade level because he was residentially tied to the club. He also chased the leather at Deniliquin and Maryborough, during which time he began to pursue a career in radio.
“I remember one day at Deniliquin the manager said to me ‘Our main commentator is not available – you play, so you must be able to broadcast’ – and that’s how it all started,” Hyde said in a previous interview.
Members of Carlton’s 1979 and ’49 Under 19 Premiership teams are urged to contact Shane O’Sullivan – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0412 179797 – ASAP.
GARTH Evans was but a babe in arms when his father, the Carlton ruckman Maurie Sankey, was killed in a car accident five kilometres north of Wangaratta.
“Mum and Dad were engaged, I was born in July 1965 and Dad died that November. I was four months old,” Garth said.
Now 53, Garth returned to the old Carlton ground this week to share precious photographs and hand-me-down tales of the father he never knew and the mother whose passing last August at the age of 82 is still profoundly felt.
Maurice Graham (Maurie) Sankey’s life and untimely death is well-known. Recruited from Tasmanian club Latrobe in 1958, he was part of the cast of Carlton followers which included the great John Nicholls, Ken Greenwood, Graham Donaldson and Brian Buckley.
It’s interesting to note that as someone who “sailed close to the wind” by those who knew him on Royal Parade, the adventuresome Maurie inherited the nickname ‘Garth’ – a reference to the British comic strip action hero according to former teammate Ian Collins.
Maurie Sankey, Carlton footballer, 1965.
At 25, Maurie turned out for what would be his 100th and final appearance for Carlton – the 17th Round match of 1965 against Richmond at Princes Park. In recognition of the milestone, the committed tap ruckman and vice-captain was presented with a silver tray (since handed down to Garth by Maurie’s sister Lurlene).
A few months later, on the evening of Sunday, November 21, 1965, Maurie would be dead.
“Maurice had been on a golf trip and was behind the wheel of an EH Holden, when he tried to overtake a semi-trailer on the Hume Highway,” Garth said.
“Unfortunately that semi was directly behind another semi and Maurice couldn’t get back into the lane. Another car came the other way, both swerved to the right, but hit eachother head-on. He was killed in the accident, as were two people in the other.
“Maurice might have been wearing a lap belt in his bench seat, but really there was no protection. He got a broken neck and was killed instantly and the three other guys in Maurice’s car got out of it pretty much unscathed.
Maurie’s funeral, at the Brunswick Baptist Church in Sydney Road, was reported inThe Sun News-Pictorial. Chief mourners included Margaret, Maurie’s mother Vera and siblings Barry and Lurlene. The then Carlton President George Harris paid tribute to “a great team man who supported all club activities and helped young players” and Maurie’s old teammates Graeme Anderson, Collins, Gordon Collis, Berkeley Cox, Wes Lofts and Sergio Silvagni acted as pall bearers.
Maurie takes a towering mark against Richmond, Punt Road Oval, Round 5, 1963.
At Springvale Cemetery’s HN Featonby Lawn section Maurie was laid to rest, after his funeral cortege had passed the old Carlton ground for the last time.
It is almost certain that Maurie met Garth’s mother Margaret Evans at Carlton. As Garth said, “Margaret was a long-time supporter and while I’m not sure whether she met Maurice inside the club or outside the club I think it was more likely inside”.
“Mum used to tell me about Maurice, that he was a real knockabout fun guy, a bit of a risk taker and someone who lived life on the edge,” Garth said.
“He played the game hard and he played life hard.”
But if Maurie was the hard man, then Margaret – who was still dealing with the tragic loss of her first husband when she and Maurie met – was positively stoic.
Born in the northern suburb of Eltham, the second of eight children of Jack and Margaret Mynott, Margaret was raised in a working class family through the trying years of the Second World War. To quote Garth: “The family wasn’t really well off, Mum left school early and married quite young”.
In 1955, Margaret exchanged vows with her first husband, John Robert Evans, to whom she bore three sons Larry, Michael and Joel – the stepfather of the former Melbourne AFLW captain Daisy Pearce who, not surprisingly, followed her beloved Blues as a kid.
Tragically, Margaret would be left to fend for her three boys when in December 1961 her husband drowned in an incident which also claimed the lives of her brother-in-law and another man.
“Robert got caught in a rip down the back of Rye at Koonya Beach,” Garth said.
“Terribly, my Aunty’s husband also lost his life in the same incident, as did an off-duty ambulance officer who ran down to help.”
Not long after the tragedy, Margaret found work at the Carlton Football Club as typist and bookkeeper for the then Senior Coach the late Ken Hands.
Margaret Evans and Maurie Sankey, place unknown, circa 1965.
It was all pretty simple. The position was advertised, Margaret applied and she got the job – and as Garth suggested: “Mum was most likely one of the first women employed at a football club”.
“I reckon Mum worked for Ken through 1963 and ’64. My older brothers remember having the run of the club whenever they followed her into work,” Garth said.
Following Maurie’s awful demise, Margaret was again left to pick up the pieces and fend for her four sons – and to her eternal credit she found a way.
As the years rolled on and her boys entered into adulthood, Margaret found more time to pursue a myriad of interests, politics included. Through the heady days of the 1970s, from the “It’s Time” campaign onwards, she committed wholeheartedly to the Labor Party.
“I reckon her support of Labor was a throwback to her working class origins,” Garth said. “She also worked for Legal Aid in Preston and through 1973 and ’74 she served as the first secretary of the Eltham Basketball Club, which is now a huge club, and her name is on the Honour Board there.
“At the age of 50 she went back to school. She earned her VCE and later got a Bachelor of Arts at Latrobe. She was also a very good creative writer and she penned lots of nice pieces.”
In 1991, Margaret exchanged marital vows with Keith Davies, a South Australian who, like her, had been married previously. Their union would endure for more than a quarter of a century until Keith’s death in September 2017, just 12 weeks after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
Less than a year later, Margaret also died, for Keith’s passing hit her hard – as it did her four sons. As Garth said: “There wasn’t really a father figure until later in our lives through Keith. He became a stepdad from 1991 onwards and we grew closer to him over time”.
But through it all, Margaret’s love for Carlton never waned. In fact, it only intensified, particularly through the early 1980s, when Garth turned out in Dark Navy for the Trevor Keogh-coached Under 19s.
Margaret Evans and her second husband Keith Davies, Premiership night 1995.
For Garth, these were happy days.
“I was invited down to Carlton to train under the father/son rule by Ian Collins and I still have the invitation on the club’s Avco Finance letterhead,” Garth said.
“I came down in late 1982, played with the thirds through 1983 and 1984 and managed one reserve grade appearance in a star-studded line-up in the ’84 season . . . and I loved every second of it.
“There was a game here at Princes Park, the only home game for the year as the others were played at Glenferrie Oval, where I managed to boot eight against Fitzroy as my Mum and my aunt, who was very sick at the time, watched on.
In 2011, Margaret completed a sentimental journey back to the old ground, this time with Garth and Maurie’s old teammate, the 1964 Brownlow Medallist Gordon Collis. Gordon had roomed with Maurie and another teammate John Reilly in a house at 19 Berry Street Coburg at the time of Maurie’s death.
Margaret, Garth and Gordon filed into the club’s theatrette to view rare home movie film, shot in early ’65 at the Balnarring seaside escape of the then Chairman of Selectors Jack Wrout, of the Carlton players’ first pre-season under Ron Barassi’s watch.
Featured in that precious film were flickering images of Maurie and Gordon riding bareback on a horse, which pleased the three theatregoers no end.
“Having Maurie as a father is a great source of pride. I was always proud of what he did at Carlton, I’ve always loved the club and I loved my time here as well,” said Garth, who is himself a proud father of Jami (30), Lachlan (24) and Liam (21).
“As I said in Tassie when Maurice was inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame, it’s a great honour. But it’s such a long time ago that he died and it was totally unexpected.
“If he (Maurie) had lived on life would have been a lot different for me. In terms of football alone I was a footballer with a fair bit of potential, but was a bit busy off the field and not quite disciplined enough . . . so that stern male figure I didn’t have might have helped a bit.”
“Mum was a very resilient woman,” Garth said. “She scraped through after Maurie died and they were hard days I think.
“Mum and I were very close, as were the other boys, because she was all we had.
“She was Mum and Dad to us.”
The President of the Carlton Football Club Dick Pratt, Directors of the Board, players both past and present, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
What an honour it is for me to talk to you today about the Carlton Football Club and what the spirit of Carlton means to me.
It’s a little more than 30 years since I first set foot in the Carlton changerooms – a kid from Kyneton with nothing more than a kit bag and a cause, to play senior football for the mighty Blues.
It was 1976 – the year Australia completed a 5-1 test series whitewash of the West Indies and Van der Hum won the Melbourne Cup in a flash flood.
It was also the year “Skinny” Lappin was born in Chiltern!
I’d only played six senior games in the Bendigo Football league when I joined Carlton that year, but i can still remember what the then Chairman of Selectors Wes Lofts said to me after I was selected for my first senior game against Footscray.
“Son, there’s a great opportunity here if you give it your best shot”.
I was 16 when i first opened the squeaky door to my no. 16 locker. The locker carried the names of Payne, Mooring and Sankey.
Back then I didn’t know who Billy Payne, Jim Mooring or Maurie Sankey were . . . To me they were just words etched in white enamel on dark navy steel.
Billy Payne was best on the ground in the first Carlton premiership team of 1906 and he was there to complete the premiership hat-trick in ’07 and ’08.
Jimmy Mooring shed blood in the famous bloodbath grand final of 1945.
And Maurie Sankey was a 100-game ruckman whose career was tragically cut short when he was killed in a car accident.
When I first walked into the Carlton rooms back in ’76, I could almost smell the success. The walls were plastered with black and white images of 200-game greats – and men of stature like “Big Nick”, “Wallsy” and “Jezza” wandered the hallowed halls deep within the bowels of the Robert Heatley stand.
The team itself was a blend of footballers of different personalities from different ends of the social scale – everyone from a would-be jockey to an eminent Rhodes Scholar.
How lucky was I? A boy from the bush with a chance to play alongside the likes of Bruce Doull, “Percy” Jones, Wayne Johnston, Wayne Harmes and Peter Bosustow – outstanding footballers who made their mark on Carlton and are still very much a part of the spirit.
Together we pushed each other to the hilt, as we gave the team our all.Together we took the Club in the one direction – forward – and if you dragged the chain you were quickly pulled into line.
That was because mediocrity wasn’t tolerated at Carlton. At Carlton there was an unwritten rule – regardless of what happened in the home and aways, you hadn’t arrived until you’d performed in finals on footy’s greatest stage, the MCG.
On the field we prided ourselves on honesty in the contest. Off it we thrived on our camaraderie, because enjoyment was such a big factor. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I finally “arrived” as a senior footballer the day my teammates took me down to Naughton’s for a convivial ale – which from then on was par for the course on Monday nights after training.
The Sunday morning training sessions were famous! All players would front up – including the stragglers who copped the mandatory penalty for lobbing late – and we’d all take part in games of soccer and hockey, some of them more dangerous than the games of footy we’d played the day before.
We’d then head upstairs into the Heatley stand to the players room where breakfast was ready as well as the cold beers, and we’d relax in front of the telly to watch Jack, Bob, Lou and Uncle Doug deliver some of their finest work on “World of Sport”.
I might add that these Sunday morning sessions often ran into the late hours of Sunday night.
The players of my era were all part of a deeply ingrained culture. There was no room for selfishness or self-centeredness at Carlton back then.
In those days Carlton was the pre-eminent football team. Today we’re just making up the numbers and we cannot tolerate second best!
The spirit of Carlton is all about loyalty, pride and respect – respect of yourself, respect of your teammates and respect of the navy blue guernsey. It’s also about honesty of performance; of maintaining the great history and tradition of Carlton and adhering to the Carlton ethic which is winning.
The spirit went missing for a while, but I can now sense its resurgence amongst the young playing group. We’ve posted a record membership under the helm of Dick Pratt, the only current president to have actually played for his Club.
Dick, on behalf of all the people in this room, together with our members and our hundreds of thousands of supporters, I say “thank you for what you have done for Carlton in its greatest hour of need”. The Club was a shambles when you took the helm, but you’ve revived the spirit and taken Carlton to a place where it is once again striving for success both on and off the field.
In the 17 years since I gave the game away, Scott Camporeale has worn the no.16 into 233 games for Carlton, including the Club’s last grand final triumph of 1995.
Today the no.16 is worn by Shaun Grigg – the boy from North Ballarat – who has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carve his own niche in Carlton’s history and get his name on the no.16 locker.
To Shaun and all the other Carlton senior players of today, I ask you to have a look around the room, to those like Dick Pratt, Ken Hands, Freddy Stafford, Ray Garby, Geoff Southby, Trevor Keogh, David Rhys-Jones, Jon Dorotich, Richard Dennis, Mark Maclure and many more . . . men who are here for no other reason than that they love Carlton and they know what the real Carlton represents.
Like them, I want to see one of the world’s oldest and greatest sporting institutions returned to its rightful place at the top of the ladder.
As “Sticks” Kernahan put it– “we are Carlton . . . . You know the rest!”.
Many of the past players in this room have come back to help rekindle the spirit of Carlton – a spirit which has underscored the successes of this great Club over the past 143 years and contributed to Carlton’s rich and illustrious history.
Now is the time for the players of this great Club to make their own history, and in closing I say this to you;
Boys, when you head back to Princes Park for training this week, take a moment to look at the names on your locker and think about those great Carlton men who have gone before.
Above all, remember what Wes Lofts once said: “there’s a great opportunity here – just give it your best shot” . . . And have no regrets.
Until last year, when ill health forced him to curtail his football club activities, Perriam committed his energies as a dedicated volunteer – just as he had done for the better part of six decades through Carlton’s most successful epoch both on and off the field.
John Frederick Perriam’s official links with his beloved Blues can be sourced to the early 1960s by way of Allen Cowie, the former Carlton Secretary who later died in office.
A lifelong acquaintance, the former Carlton Premiership player, Chief Executive and President Ian Collins remembered first being introduced to Perriam by Cowie in early 1963.
“Allen and I were boarding with the Smith family in Linda Street, Moreland and it was there that I met John, who was a drinking mate of Cowie’s,” said Collins, who is to deliver the eulogy at Perriam’s funeral on Thursday.
“First impressions were that he looked like Clark Kent with his distinctive thick-rimmed glasses and he was always impeccably dressed.”
With Cowie’s imprimatur, Perriam accepted the role of Carlton Football Club Assistant Treasurer to Tom Barter. These were the Barassi years and Perriam’s name first appeared beneath Barter’s in the 1966 Annual Report. Soon after, Perriam joined the club’s Finance Committee, chaired by Graeme Emmanuel, which controlled all matters related to finance, and in 1969 he succeeded Barter as Honorary Treasurer.
Perriam fulfilled duties as Honorary Treasurer through to mid-1974 when he was seconded to the Football Club’s Board of Directors (and in 1975 the Social Club board as a delegate) – roles he would retain until standing down in May 1997.
“When I became CEO I reinstated him as Treasurer because he was such a reliable bloke,” Collins said. “He was always honorary, he never took a dime from the club ever, and the old Annual Reports always carried his address if ever something went wrong.
“He was a good bloke. He was straight down the line and he had good finance understanding without being qualified. He had his own business in partnership with another chap, and one stage he employed Bruce Doull, on reception I think, which didn’t last long because ‘Doully’ wasn’t mad on talking to people.”
On Carlton matchdays at the Docklands, through his years as CEO of Stadium Operations Ltd, Collins hosted Perriam and the likes of former players David McKay, John Reilly and Sergio Silvagni.
The aforementioned also met regularly over bowls of rigatoni and bottles of Sangiovese at Bulleen’s Veneto Club. The next lunch had been inked for February 20, but as Collins lamented: “with John’s passing we’ve had to pull the plug on that.”
Until late last year, Perriam maintained his close working relationship with Carlton through its Finance Department. Assistant Accountant Cathy Altham recalled that for many years, “John came in three days a week to assist Rhonda Stevens with payroll”.
“John checked the payrolls and did most of the payroll reconciliations. We were still using the old journal books then, so John would write up the payroll journals to be processed,” Altham said.
“When Rhonda left at the end of 2009, John continued assisting with reconciliations and looked after compiling the figures for the FBT return. He generally pitched in and assisted wherever an extra pair of hands was required.
“John used to commence very early, and came in rain, hail or scorching sun. Some mornings when I asked John what time he’d arrived he would say ‘7am’. John would laugh off our concerns about him coming into the office on days when the temperature would be in the 40s.”
Though recent health battles forced him to scale down his onsite appearances, John’s passion for the goings on at Princes Park never waned.
“I know John was passionate about his club, and some of our discussions were about the game on the weekend,” Altham said.
“But most of my discussions with John were more of a personal nature. He was a proud grandfather and much of our discussions revolved around our families. He had a wonderful sense of humour, so I enjoyed our Monday morning chats.
“He called me on the day of the club’s Christmas party. He’d been in hospital again, but was determined to try and get back to the office in January.
Perriam never made it back, but it wasn’t for want of trying. As Altham said: “If you looked up the word ‘resilience’ in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of John”.
John Perriam is survived by his wife Nanette, children and grandchildren.
A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held in the Wilson Chapel, Springvale Botanical Cemetery, 600 Princes Highway on Thursday, January 31, commencing 2.15pm.
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