From war orphan to footy star
and Dhurringile in 1954 as a 12-year-old.
He was a war orphan who never knew his parents.
He had an older brother who had secured work in Scotland so, unlike Ken, he never had to make the tripDownUnder to start a new life.
Like many Scottish orphans sent to the Dhurringile Boys’ Home, Ken’s determination and tough upbringing held him in good stead for his future life and sporting pursuits.
He was introduced to Aussie Rules football from the time he arrived in Australia.
Playing for the boys’ home he won two best and fairest awards for his team, which at the time was competing in the Shepparton Junior Football League’s under-17 competition.
It was when he secured an apprenticeship with Tatura electrician Harold Chambers his football career with Tatura was kickstarted.
‘‘When he first started work he used to hitchhike into Tatura and back every day until my parents (Fred and Edna) invited him to come and live with us,’’ Freddo said.
‘‘I shared the same room with him for five years and we used to work together a lot on the same job as I was a carpenter, so we saw a lot of each other on job sites in those days.’’
Freddo remembers one game vividly from their time together at Tatura, when players such as Robbie Miller, Ange Serra, Peter Russ- ell and Dennis ‘‘Dreamy’’ Smith were household names in the GVL.
‘‘We were playing Mooroopna and we had to win to be a chance to play in the finals,’’ he said.
‘‘We were down a few points right at the end of the game and Ken was playing on Graham Woods.
‘‘Ken got the footy deep in the back line and made this run down the ground knocking down and eluding Mooroopna players on his way, eventually kicking the goal which gave us the win.
‘‘We called him the ‘Flying Scotsman’ after that,’’ Freddo chuckled.
Ken also coached Ardmona near the end of his career and often was heard saying in later years, with that broad and sometimes indecipherable Scottish accent: ‘‘they were on the bottom when I took over and they were on the bloody bottom when I left’’.
Ken finished his playing days in the mid-1970s at Tatura.
All up he played 155 games with Tatura and won a club best and fairest.
Stints also with Stanhope (then in the GVL) and Mooroopna took him to over 200 senior GVL games and automatic life membership of the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Ken spent life after football in Shepparton working in the electrical trade until his retirement.
He is survived by his wife Jan and two children, Debbie and Zelda, while a son Cam predeceased him.
Courageous: Ken Yeates was in his prime in 1960s— playing for Tatura, Stanhope and Mooroopna— there wasn’t a tougher player in the Goulburn Valley League.