Bears Mail

If you would like to share any Bears history with us please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Good to see Jack Cogger playing today with the Doggies. I coached him when he played under 8 at Tugun Seahawks with my son, which reminded me when I started as under 8 for the Bears in 1966.

- Peter Viles

Just read Steve Harris’s comments and it brought back a lot of memories. I played in the same side as Steve in 1965. I recall that the reason for the move from the Canterbury Junior comp to the West Junior comp was due to Canterbury comp being in weight division and Wests comp was age division which was better suited.

Honourable mention should also go to Bob Bartlett (our next door neighbour) who was also heavily involved in the foundation year and many years after that. Both his boys Paul and Brian played for the club. I still have the team photos for that year and subsequent if they are of any interest to you.

- Jeff Simons

I am writing this letter to you and the Berala Bears F/C as I was involved with both Enfield Federals and Granville Diggers in some memorable games against Berala in the mid 70s until the early 80s. I recall Guilfoyle Park as a ground of great tradition, I played against and with some of the best players to come out of Berala Bears and I am still friends with them today.

Just to mention a few Alan,Craig & Mick Neil, Trevor, John & Jamie Cogger. Brian Bartlett, Peter Richards, Steve Carmichael, Chris George and Mark Styles. I played all my Representative football with Craig (BLUEY) Neil and still remain great friends with him today.

We started off in Harold Mathews all the way through to grade football, I can honestly say that when you played against Berala Bears you knew you had a game of footy on your hands. Trevor & Johnny Cogger are still friends today even after all of our punch ups over the years. By the way Trevor I am still sorry for splitting your head open at training that day with Keith Holman & Noel Kelly as our mentors (LOL).

I will never forget that bloody pipeline that they used to make us run along, all the way to Woodville road and back for the Rep teams (I don’t think BLUEY ever completed one session without cheating just like when he used to take my money off me in Cards and Two up when we went away) someone ought to blow the bloody thing up.

Anyway I really enjoyed reading through the Berala website and please if you can publish this on there as it might generate a few more stories for the site.

- Craig Rich

The Berala Bears definitely has a proud history. I believe you are now under the Canterbury flag which is a shame. That’s life. In case you or any of your members still have Wests in their blood, we have a fantastic page on Facebook. It’s called Western Suburbs Fanatic supporters. We have over 700 member and growing strong

- Western Suburbs Fanatic Supporters

I was passing time on the net and stumbled over the Berala Bears site. Don’t know if you have some of the early history, however I was one of the kids who played the first year.

Our team had played for Regents Park in 1964 (in the Canterbury Bankstown JRFL) We had some good players – I was not one of them – and were undefeated and had no tries scored against us.

Our parents broke away from Rego and formed Berala Bears in 1965 (in the Western Suburbs JRFL). Not sure why.

I think almost the entire team were from Regents Park school and almost all switched to Berala Bears I think we were U10 and we won the comp also undefeated but we had 11 points scored against us – I think it was 3 tries and a goal.

I played for only a year or two more and switched to soccer. The good players were led by Peter Walsh (see WS rep players) and Jeff Simons who you have missed off your list of 1st grade players.

Jeff’s parents moved to over North Sydney way and he played 1st grade for Norths for many years. He then ended his career in Canberra.

His brother Andrew was our ball boy in 1965 and he played wing for Norths, Penrith and Canberra.

The Simons father was the driver in the Bears formation and was the founding secretary. My Dad Ray Harris was the founding president and Mr Cook I believe was the treasurer. Can’t remember how many teams we had but we did have at least two in my age group. My dad now lives on the Central Coast if you should wish to talk to him.

- Steve Harris

I was asked to post some details on who was Peter Hislop and why ‘your park’ was renamed Everley Park to Peter Hislop Park.

Peter Hislop was an Alderman (councillor) on Auburn Council from 1971-1982, he was Deputy Mayor 1977-1982. He enjoyed his time on council and took his role as a councillor very seriously, he was there for the community and not his own gain.

He was also in the Auburn Apex Club/Oasis Club for over 20 years, during this time he was President, Treasurer and Secretary of the local and district clubs. He led many local support and improvement programs in the Auburn area.

Peter was an active member of committees at the Auburn-Lidcombe RSL Youth Centre (near the swimming pool) for many years. This centre had numerous programs for young people in the area aged 7 yrs – 25yrs e.g. Gymnastics, basketball, judo, band, ballroom dancing, volleyball, etc. etc.

He was the pharmacist at Fay’s Pharmacy (in Auburn Road) for over 25 years and helped a lot of people in the community who were customers at the shop. He lived on top of the shop for over 10 years.

Peter was passionate about making Auburn, its environment and its community a good place to live.

Peter Hislop was also my dad, who loved, supported and encouraged my mum, my brother, Mark, and myself. He was a well respected member of the Auburn community and admired by his family and friends. At his untimely death at the age of 49, from cancer, in 1982, Auburn Council suggested to rename the park in his honour and we accepted this suggestion with pride. Dad was a man of integrity, intelligence and had a great sense of humour. He would be happy that is the home ground of a local sporting group.

So now if anyone happens to ask who was Peter Hislop – you can say a good man who did a lot for the Auburn/Lidcombe area from the late 50’s to early 80’s.

- Janet Wade

My name is Ben Mckinnon and I just wanted to let you know that I was one of your junior players and I am the only player to have won two Tasmanian State League best and fairest awards as recorded here (the first was in my first year as a 16 year old):

I also represented Tasmania Senior side and an Australian Rep U/19 side.

I am the one on row 1 on the far left edge in this photo:

Thank you for everyone involved in the club for giving me the start in my football career.

- Ben Mckinnon

I was looking on the web earlier this week and discovered the website of my old junior football club “The Berala Bears”. I played at the club for several seasons in the mid 70’s and cherished my time there.

I remember starting at the club at about 8 years old and didn’t know a soul. A kid named Jamie Cogger welcomed me in and gave me the nickname “Big Cigar”. It was a nickname that stayed with me during my playing days at the Bears.

My fondest memory was a sunny Saturday morning at Guilfoyle Park. I was a front rower and although I was not much of a footballer, they taught me to run hard at the other team and try to bust the tackle. I had also watched players like Ray Higgs, Artie Beetson and John Donnelly use the fend and I tried to introduce this into my play. The referee was the late Laurie Bruyeres who had retired from first grade and often refereed our games. I ran at this boy one day and my palm collided with his mouth and nose and he justifiably went down crying. The ref stopped the game and after ensuring that the injured player was being cared for, he looked at me and said “big cigar, over here”. I walked over to him and he bent over me and placed his hand on my shoulder and sternly said, “you punched that boy, I should send you off”. My fearful reply was ‘no I didn’t Mr Bruyeres, it was my palm” I then opened my left hand which revealed a trickle of blood and two clear teeth marks from the other boy.

My Bruyeres didn’t send me off. He told me to be careful and apparently as I turned away he gave a cheeky grin to mother on the sideline.

I now live in Victoria and am still a keen Rugby League fan. It is a real challenge given that they are so AFL oriented down here.

I will always remember my time at the Berala Bears and I am glad they are still alive and kicking after almost 50 years.

- Andrew Shears