Award brightens very tough year
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