Award bright­ens very tough year

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - IAN FRAZER

Lon­don- born Henry Ge­orge Eekhoff [ not Eck­hoff], of Townsville, en­listed in the AIF in June, 1915, aged 35, and served in Egypt, Eng­land and France with the Aus­tralian Med­i­cal Corps. `` My work lies with the wounded and not once have I heard a wounded man com­plain,’’ he wrote 1915. Dis­charged in 1919, he and his wife, Frances, moved to New Guinea. Their trade store in Lae was de­stroyed by Ja­panese bomb­ing in March, 1942. Pri­vate Charles Gillmer, 28, lost his left eye when wounded in ac­tion in France in July, 1918, with the AIF’s 44th Bat­tal­ion. He had en­listed in Townsville in March 1916, giv­ing his oc­cu­pa­tion as labourer. Dis­charged in March, 1919, he was hon­oured decades later in the nam­ing of a street in Heat­ley, de­vel­oped for army fam­i­lies af­ter the open­ing of Lavarack Bar­racks. Mr Gillmer died in a Syd­ney war vet­er­ans’ hos­pi­tal in 1960, aged 68. se­ri­ously hurt in an ac­ci­dent in Bris­bane.

“I will trea­sure this for a long time,’’ Spina said of the medal and shield.

“This has been a very tough year – we lost Anne’s [ his wife’s] sis­ter Joan Blun­dell and that was very sad for the fam­ily.

“The farm has taken up plenty of time to­gether with the footy, but we have come through and this helps to put a smile on your face.’’

Spina played 156 Win­field Cup games for North Syd­ney, Eastern Sub­urbs and Cronulla be­tween 1983 and 1990 be­fore re­turn­ing to the Herbert River dis­trict to take over his fa­ther’s cane farm.

Quizzed by the

Townsville Bul­letin on whether he would join the North Queens­land Cowboys in their forth­com­ing first sea­son, he said his de­ci­sion hinged on talks with Cowboys coach Grant Bell.

“It will be the Cowboys or re­tire­ment,’’ he said.

“Even though I am at the end of my ca­reer I would like to think I still have a bit to of­fer. My wife and I will give it a lot of thought.’’

Six months ear­lier, Bell had named the vet­eran half­back to lead a Cowboys de­vel­op­ment squad side in a trial game against Bris­bane Bron­cos young guns at Townsville Sports Re­serve.

The Bron­cos won, 28- 8, be­fore a crowd of 10,000. Their 19- year- old prop Brad Thorn was man of the match. At the time, Spina said there were plenty of Syd­ney first- graders older than him, de­spite crit­ics say­ing he was too old for a come­back.

He sub­se­quently cap­tained the Cowboys in March 1995 in their first Aus­tralian Rugby League home game, against Syd­ney Bull­dogs at Stock­land Sta­dium. The visi­tors won, 32- 16.

He re­tired at the end of that sea­son.

For the record Kirk Law­ton was the Townsville Dis­trict Rugby League’s best for­ward of 1994, Glyn An­der­son the best back and Matt Don­nelly the ref­eree with most po­ten­tial. Mr W Len­non will be en­ter­tained at the Queen’s Ho­tel tonight by a num­ber of his Townsville friends be­fore leav­ing for Bris­bane, where he in­tends to re­side. The idea which seems to have be­come preva­lent that sub­scrip­tion lists were sent out for the pur­pose of rais­ing a public tes­ti­mo­nial is not cor­rect. We have re­ceived from Mr C Arthur, mu­sic pub­lisher, Rock­hamp­ton, a copy of Roses Red and White, a waltz com­posed by Mr Ge­orge Ham­mond, a res­i­dent of Rock­hamp­ton. It is a tune­ful waltz, suit­able for pi­ano and for a band. Mr Ham­mond, the com­poser, is con­duc­tor of the Lakes Creek Brass Band. In­spec­tor Sweet­man on Satur­day re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from the po­lice at Ayr that the body of the Abo­rig­i­nal stock­man, Joe, who was drowned at the Bur­dekin last week while bring­ing Inker­man cat­tle across, had been re­cov­ered about five miles down river from where he dis­ap­peared. The body of the head stock­man, Mr B Fox, has not yet been found. Peo­ple near the Na­tional Ho­tel, Rail­way Es­tate, were treated to a sen­sa­tion on Wed­nes­day about 8pm. A train was ap­proach­ing the cross­ing there and duly whis­tled, yet a young bands­man named Jones, car­ry­ing a brass in­stru­ment, obliv­i­ous to the ap­proach­ing train, walked right on to the cross­ing. The cow­catcher of the en­gine lifted him up and threw him to one side. The train was speed­ily stopped and peo­ple were sur­prised to see the young man get up, prac­ti­cally un­harmed, 20 feet from where he was hit. A slight bump on the head and a big dint in the dou­ble bass were the only in­juries re­ceived.

Ing­ham Broth­ers cap­tain- coach Lau­rie Spina af­ter win­ning the Townsville Rugby League Medal, Septem­ber 1994.

July 8, 1907

July 8, 1912

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