From war or­phan to footy star

The Tatura Guardian - - News -

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.

Ken Yeates

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.

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