The last of the five decades Great Boulder have been in existence is tinged with sadness at the death of the irrepressible Denis O’Shaughnessy. Denis - or the Tree, as he was affectionately known by teammates, family and friends - died in a road smash just north of Kalgoorlie on August 15, 2000.
His untimely death severed a link with the Two Blues which started in junior ranks as a gangling youngster and blossomed into a career which ranks among the finest achieved during the half-century the club has been in existence.
Statistically, Denis boasts a tremendous record as an opening bowler in claiming 363 A Grade wickets at the miserly average of 17.7 runs per wicket, also scoring over 500 runs and taking 38 catches.
He played in six grand finals which produced as many premierships and 19 wickets at 16.37, including a career-best haul of 6-34.
After his retirement with 181 senior games to his credit, Denis also had the distinction of coaching the Two Blues to their last A Grade premiership in 1993-94 - the only flag (one of only two flags) we have won since the club’s 40th. anniversary.
However, Denis was more than a valuable Great Boulder player - he epitomised all that was great about the club as it successfully battled to establish itself as a feared cricket team which emerged as the competition trend-setter on and off the field in the late 1960s and most of the 70s.
Denis was part of an era cherished by all those who were involved and his contribution as a highly respected player and dedicated member of the club over many years was suitably recognised with a life membership.
When not playing cricket for his beloved Gee Bees, the Tree lived life to the full and acquired legendary status as a fun-loving sportsman who impacted greatly on the many people who had the good fortune to become his friend, foe or teammate.
Denis was truly a unique character whose legacy will long be remembered among the ranks of the Two Blues.
The Two Blues lost another stalwart with the death of fellow life member Lou Nazzari.
Losing Lou was “recruited” from arch rivals Hannans and over a number of years proceeded to make his mark with Great Boulder in a variety of positions, including that of vice-president. Lou made an extremely valuable contribution to the Two Blues, particularly in the area of junior cricket, and is sorely missed. Fittingly the Club introduced a Rookie Of The Year Award in 1999 that honours Lou.
The Great Boulder cricket club acknowledges it’s first ever Life Member’s passing in 2009.The EGCA faced a problem in 1952 when Kalgoorlie-Centrals advised that it would not be nominating a team for the 1953-54 season leaving the prospect of a 3 team competition – Hannans, North Kalgoorlie and Lake View. The Managing Director of Great Boulder Gold Mines, Edgar Elvey had often envied the publicity the Lake View mine had derived from being involved with the Goldfields main cricket competition and he seized the opportunity. In the companies employ was one of the Goldfields best-known sportsmen, football star Vin Zani, not long returned from a stint with Swan Districts club in Perth. Zani was also in charge of the companies social activities and had made the company’s annual family Christmas function the biggest event in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Elvey asked Zani, aged 24, to help in taking the Great Boulder Cricket Club from a Saturday competition to Sunday. Others asked to help were well-known cricket players who worked for the company like Colin Dunlop, Clyde Bird and Alec Gibson. They in turn picked up young Saturday cricket players Les Cook, Clarrie McCreed and John Dowson while a team of juniors included the sons of Great Boulder workers like Wally Martin, Jim Mitchell and Fred Senior, a trio later to gain fame in Perth football. After Great Boulder was former, Zani went back to football, but maintained his membership and interest in the club by arranging their annual trophies, returning after a few years as club secretary. The club struggled in the 1950s, earning only one grand final appearance when soundly beaten by Hannans and by the 1960s was nearing rock bottom. That was when Zani used cricket as a training ground for some members of his Railway Football Club team, especially in the B grade. Among them was John Wiley, father of champion Perth footballer Rob Wiley, who also opened the bowling in “A” grade on one occasion. Others included newspaper icon Don Smith, later editor of the “West Australian” and “Sunday Times”, Harry Buckman who worked for SP bookie Ray Oates and policeman John Butt. That improved nothing. In fact, one year Zani – after collecting an attractive range of trophies – declared that club results for the year were so bad nobody deserved a trophy that year and he raffled the lot. Among the recipients to miss out on his trophy that year was a new player and the club’s “Most Improved Junior” – Micheal O’Shaughnessy. The chief result of the football experiment was chipped or broken bats ruined by free-hitting footballers who had little idea of how to bat. One of the best all-rounders on the Goldfields, was always well-dressed and quietly spoken Alec Gibson, came to the rescue by donating five new cricket bats annually to make up for his reluctance to sell raffle tickets.The influx of the footballers kept the club afloat until a “new order “of players took over in 1962 to begin the task of reconstructing the club. Zani continued to play a role in the club after he left the Great Boulder Company and joined BHP. His home on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, near what is now the Hainhault Tourist Mine became a Mecca for Great Boulder social activities throughout the 1960s, and he was a prime driver in securing the services of players like Ray Stockmin and Trevor Bidstrup. Zani’s role in the foundation of the Great Boulder Cricket Club and his support over a period of years from the 1950s was recognised when he was awarded the clubs first life membership badge.
On a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra former Gee Bee Legend John Terrell was touched by a lot of things, among them recognition he discovered of the late Desmond Penn, an ex Great Boulder Cricket Club cricketer who lost his life while serving at war for Australia. Penn was a tall right-arm fast opening bowler for Great Boulder who was good enough to take the new ball for the EGCA during the association's "A" Grade Country Week campaign in Perth in 1962 the same team GBCC Life Member Brian “Doc” Paddick was the manager of.
Penn was renowned for his unique bowling action one where he used to inter-twine his arms and take a long stride upon delivering the ball. Penn departed from the Kalgoorlie region before the club's break-through win in the 1964 grade grand final, joining the Army and serving in Vietnam.
Penn was a soldier of the 1st Royal Australian Regiment and was unfortunately killed by friendly fire on January 10, 1966 and his story is acknowledged and respected by the club.
53 A Grade Games
101 Wickets at 19.10
It’s been a sad few months for the Great Boulder Cricket Club in that it has lost three of its veteran supporters and ex players over the last four months.
First it was 1970s premiership player Adrian Redmond who passed away in Perth on 30 January, and this month it was 1950s champion batsman Jim Mitchell and most recently club stalwart and Life Member Brian “Doc” Paddick.
Redmond was a top-order left-hand batsman who represented the Gee Bees and the EGCA at Country Week with pride and success during the 1970s, while Jim Mitchell was an accomplished batsman, both for Great Boulder juniors and the club’s A-grade team in the 1950s.
As a junior Jim Michell (left) and North Kalgoorlie and later State colts squad member Dale Hughes (right) figured in a match-winning partnership of 235 in a junior Country Week match for the EGCA in the 1950s. Mitchell later played 47 A-grade games for the Gee Bees, making a total of 1097 runs including one innings of 110 not out.
Brian “Doc” Paddick was of course a club legend, being a willing junior coach, a practice captain for the seniors, a player, and secretary when the club won its first A-Grade premiership in 1964. A Life Member of the Great Boulder Cricket Club, Paddick died of pancreatic cancer on 20 May 2020 aged 85.
Nobby was involved in the club for 40 plus years as a player, administrator and member. His A grade appearances totalled 33 whilst he also played a multitude of games in the Reserves as a keeper batsman, not gifted with the greatest natural ability by his own admission Nobby made up for that with heart and spirit which typified him as a person off field. He was member of the A Grade Premiership team in 1972/73 and numerous B Grade flags.
He had stints as club secretary in the 70’s and 80’s and was a passionate and regular supporter at games up until his passing when he lost his health battle in 2019 and at the request of his family the club gladly assisted when some of his ashes were spread and laid to rest at the O’Shaughnessy Complex.
Nobby was a contributing financial member form the inception of the GBX past players and he would regularly attend games in particular early in the new season keen to find out how the squad was shaping up and who we had recruited and then quietly hand over his membership fees without fail, never made a fuss of it just done it religiously and loved the Gee bees as much as they loved him in return.
There was one constant around the O'Shaughnessy Complex for more than the last decade and that being Kalgoorlie's most popular hound in BANGER. Making residence at the home of the Two Blues, Banger who turned 16 on the 1st of February 2015 was introduced to the club by club stalwart Shane "Paddles" Robbins and what initially was to be a short term stay has resulted in Banger being Chief of Security at the club since the early 2000's. Banger was more than a dog the Rotweiler Cross was a vital component of the club, he's overseen the success's, the sorrows mainly around Grand Final time and has seen junior's become men and then regular's to the senior side. If Banger could talk his stories of training nights, late night sips, and after match functions would fill many pages. obviously he loved the Cricket Season when people are coming and going around the club, and he was no fan of winter, but did sneek accross to Sir Richard Moore to catch some footy action when the Panthers are on the park. As celebrity Dogs go Banger is up there amongst it, he had numerous newspaper articles done on him, been on TV including a sports story during the GWN news and is often spoken about during radio interviews, and recently when Banger wandered away from the club he was located thanks to a Facebook campaign to track him, and then not to mention he had his own facebook site and with his longevity around the club our kids claimed him as their own and grown up with him. Like many in the club including Brent Hunt, Paddles Robbins and Daniel Campo, Banger did love a feed, and no stray snaggers from a BBQ cooked by Life Member Noel Jerrard and Wayneo Goldsworthy escaped his patience, and he got a daily visit from those amongst the club who feed and nurture him via a roster, and then it's well known many a left over roast would find it's way to Banger to keep the big boy further stocked in the food stakes. Being neighbours to the works shed for the council workers at Sir Richard Moore. the council staff over the years took Banger's welfare as a personal mission and he enjoyed some extra council love and for a time there he was more than partial to a couple of packets of twisties, well let’s face it all legends do deserve a treat. He certainly took his role as the sole full time occupant at the club seriously, no one "unauthorized" could enter without his security check, and those walking or riding outside the compound were reminded forcefully that Banger was there and on duty and too his ultimate credit the club rooms remain with a perfect record from uninvited non paying patrons. Banger had his issues with authority and at times if a gate was left open he was up for a wander, so for a little time there he was well known to the Rangers and Pound, and we can recall former Club President Paul Edwards needing to pay and release Banger from "Joliet" on more than one occasion. The Big Boy wasn't such a big fan of a vet visit and thankfully over the journey of his time he only needed to make that trip a small number of times, and if you had Banger in your car never turn on the window wipers, trust me he was no fan of them nor thunderstorms and try escaping with your arms in tact if you touch his back legs, sensitive boy was our Banger. With a big bark (far worse than any bite) one training day he was on shift and the walking party outside the fence was the focus of Bangers fury, when one stopped to pick up an object to throw at Banger, where quick as a flash then Coach Brian Delavanza in a calm and collected fashion said to the unfriendly gents, "you throw that I'll open the gates" well Usain Bolt would have struggled to catch them.
Banger sadly passed away aged 16 on February 28th 2015 and his ashes were fittingly laid to rest under a cross at the club he so proudly guarded for 15 years and his loyalty is was appreciated from all and that extends well beyond the Great Boulder Cricket Community, he was more than a dog he was Banger a true Gee Bee.