Club History

How it all began

In October 1973 a small group of hockey players living in the Doncaster and Templestowe area met to discuss the possible formation of a hockey club to represent the area and cater for the needs of the residents.

A steering committee was formed of Ross McDonald, John Henry and John Broadbent, backed by Jim Wellard and Ken Wensor. An approach was made to local councillors, who were favourably impressed with the proposal.

A survey had shown that there were at least 90 senior hockey players living in the Doncaster Templestowe area, many of them travelling considerable distance to play with their "home team", more importantly, many of them had children already eligible to play hockey - indeed, canvassing of three primary schools produced over 90 enthusiastic youngsters, sufficient to enter a total of 6 junior teams in under 12, 10 and 8 competitions.

Following inspection of many of the ovals in the area, negotiations were commenced with the council for the use of Timber Ridge Reserve for the 1974 winter season. The club also gained representation on a council inspired committee to advise the council on the future development of the George St Reserve. Council have since adopted a recommendation to include two hockey fields on this reserve, one to be of international standard in the centre of a fenced A grade athletics track.

Doncaster Hockey Club - 1974

Initially it was not intended to enter teams in the Senior competition, however, such was the interest that 2 senior teams were formed and part way through the season a third senior team was entered.

In the setting-up of these senior teams, it is interesting to note some of the original clubs of the members - Brunswick, Carey, Fairfield, Geelong, Greensborough, Kew, MHSOB, MCC, OEG, and Strathmore.

It was on March 25th, 1974 that a special General Meeting was held and the first Executive Committee of the club was elected - various junior, support and finance committees were appointed and the club was really on the way.

Brief Club History

Since the establishment of the Club it has risen by means of the promotion and relegation system to the maximum grades at all levels of Men’s, Women’s and Junior leagues.

Characterised by a strong stable and financially responsible administration the Club is widely recognised as one of the best run clubs in Victorian hockey. The top Men’s team has won three State League One premierships and the Women’s teams have also won three premierships at the highest level.

Long acknowledged as one of the three leading Junior clubs in Victoria and probably Australia, we have had numerous State representatives at a junior level including several selected all Australian. At a senior level the success of our junior coaching efforts is amply demonstrated by our providing 18 and 21 members to the Victorian Vikings and Vipers in the men’s and women's Australian Hockey League, respectively and having ten members (9 men, 3 women) represent Australia at senior level and several others at National Under 21 level.

We have produced 5 Olympians at Doncaster, Chris Ciriello, Russell Ford, Andrew Smith , Lachlan and James Elmer. Chris started at Doncaster at 18 years of age, the remaining four Olympians started with the club as very young junior hockey players. Lachlan has Olympic silver and bronze medals to his credit. James represented Australia at the Sydney Olympics and won a bronze medal. Andrew Smith also won bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 after which he announced his retirement from international hockey. Both Russell Ford and Chris Ciriello won Olympic bronze at the 2012 London games and Chris was a match winning member of the 2014 Australian World Cup and Commonwealth gold medal winning teams. Chris has recently played in his second Olympics in Rio 2016!

The Club has always pursued a policy of promoting its own juniors. Whilst other Clubs sought short-term results by poaching and paying players, our Club has been able to protect its enviable pool of talent by providing top quality coaching and excellent facilities.

Some Milestones

  • First club in Australia to introduce coloured shorts (previously one black or white shorts were used)

  • Introduced the concept of “minkey” (six-a-side hockey on a smaller field for under elevens) then called “Little Hockey”, two years before it was embraced at a State level.

  • First club in Australia to control a synthetic grass field (sand-filled 1985).

  • First club in Victoria to control a water-filled synthetic grass field. (1999).

  • First Victorian club to employ a junior development officer (2007) and assistant junior development officer (2010)

  • First club in Victoria to control a hybrid synthetic surface able to be watered (2008)
  • First Victorian club to employ a full-time Club Operations Manager (2011)