Much to celebrate as MUAC turns 125

MUAC 125th Anniversary Dinner

MUAC 125th Anniversary Dinner

Back in 1890, a group of Melbourne University staff and students came together to form the Melbourne University Athletics Club. It was the same year that Henry Lawson was writing for the Bulletin, and Carbine won the Cup. The year the first steam powered aircraft took flight. Before Hobart had electricty. A century and quarter ago.

125 years later, on a perfect spring evening, the grand doors of the University of Melbourne’s Ormond College Dining Hall opened to welcome MUAC members past and present. From across Australia we came together to celebrate a proud history of competition, coaching and camaraderie.

Current members shook off their usual training attire in favour of more glamorous black tie. They were joined by alumni from the last 70 years, including Ian Polmear, who has been involved with Melbourne University Athletics since the 1940’s. Over a candlelit dinner old friendships were reignited. Club record holders were toasted.

MC David Culbert steered the evening with aplomb, with some entertaining stories and an interview with MUAC High Jump superstar Joel Baden about his recent experience at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Guest speakers were a highlight of the evening, prompting animated discussion amongst the guests. Olympic gold medallist Ralph Doubell AM provided his insights into the current state of elite athletics and the attributes of a good coach. Kitty Chiller, Chef de Mission for Australia at the 2016 Summer Olympics spoke of Australia’s goals for Rio de Janiero, describing the staggering task of ensuring that 800 athletes are able to achieve peak performances on the other side of the world. Both Ralph and Kitty also shared memories of their time with MUAC, speaking warmly of the guidance and training provided by Melbourne University coach Franz Stampfl.

While the past was celebrated, the evening also looked to the future. On behalf of University of Melbourne, Professor Jim Angus spoke about retaining sporting talent at Australian universities and announced the Andrew and Geraldine Buxton Athletics Scholarship, the first elite sports scholarship endowed to enable an athlete to pursue academic and sporting excellence through Melbourne University. The future looks bright indeed.

Many thanks are due to Ralph Doubell and Kitty Chiller for giving us their insight and time as speakers, and to David Culbert for MC’ing the dinner with such panache and skill. A huge thank you also to Martine Botha and her team for putting together an evening that fittingly celebrated MUAC’s history and successes, and set the tone for MUAC moving on into the next quarter century and beyond.

rollcallphotos invitation
glyndavis davidgrace
buxtonannouncement alumni list
awardwinners president
records dinner booklet