Recog­ni­tion for Fran­cis on a job well done

Biloela coach gives back to com­mu­nity

Central Telegraph - - NEWS - Kathy Dum­ble­ton

FRAN­CIS Moretti has been giv­ing back to the Biloela com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing dis­tricts, in­clud­ing Baralaba and Than­g­ool, for 40 years.

Last year he was hum­ble in his ac­cep­tance of the 2017 Li­ons Club Melvin Jones Fel­low Award, recog­nis­ing his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“It was only the se­cond one handed out from the Li­ons Club,” Fran­cis said.

Fran­cis grew up on a dairy farm 70km from Monto in the area of Har­rami.

“The ma­jor­ity of the block was scrub back then and we brought in doz­ers to clear it,” Fran­cis re­called.

“The farms were fairly iso­lated.

“I rode a horse to school which was three miles away and the roads were all dirt which meant many a blown tyre and you got blogged when it rained.”

In Year 6, Fran­cis’s fam­ily moved to Monto, where he com­pleted his pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion.

Al­ways the avid sports­man it was here he re­ceived his first ath­letic awards at the Monto Dis­trict Com­bined Schools Ath­let­ics Car­ni­val.

Among his sport­ing achieve­ments were first place re­sults in the boys’ 75-yard dash and broad jump and se­cond place in high jump.

His sport­ing in­ter­ests con­tin­ued when he went on to com­plete his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion at Nudgee Col­lege in Bris­bane.

“I rep­re­sented Nudgee in high jump, shot put and long jump and also played in the un­der-15 foot­ball team,” Fran­cis said.

Strong friend­ships were formed in those years at board­ing school with Fran­cis de­vel­op­ing life­long friends.

“I boarded with Suzie O’Neil’s dad, John O’Neil, he be­came my oph­thal­mol­o­gist,” he said.

At Year 10, Fran­cis fin­ished school, com­ing home to help his par­ents on the dairy farm.

“I use to get paid 5 pounds a week ($10).

“My el­dest brother al­ways joked I got paid too much,” Fran­cis laughed.

“I didn’t re­ally like the dairy­ing, you’d get home from the dances at 2am and then have to get up at 4.30am.”

Grad­u­ally Fran­cis’s par­ents moved their main source of farm in­come from dairy cows into the beef cat­tle in­dus­try.

Through­out this time, Fran­cis was still in­volved in sport from ten­nis to play­ing foot­ball with the Than­g­ool Pos­sums.

“Mel Meninga’s dad was cap­tain and coach,” Fran­cis said.

“A lot of good times were had in those days.”

Fran­cis grew a love for the land and be­ing out­side and at 21, with some help from his par­ents, he bought 600 acres at Wowan.

Al­ways want­ing some­thing big­ger, he even­tu­ally set­tled at a 2500-acre prop­erty at Baralaba, which he worked for al­most 20 years.

He still played foot­ball and trained in Than­g­ool but as the years went on Fran­cis moved into the coach­ing and train­ing side of ath­let­ics and foot­ball.

“Half the Baralaba team I coached were kids at Woora­binda,” Fran­cis said.

“I liked to see the kids achieve and be­come pro­fi­cient at sport.

“We won three grand fi­nals in­clud­ing un­der-12, 14 and 16.”

He also vol­un­teered teach­ing high jump to Baralaba High School stu­dents.

❝see I liked to the kids achieve and be­come pro­fi­cient at sport. We won three grand fi­nals. — Fran­cis Moretti

As a coach one of his fond­est mem­o­ries was see­ing young sports­man Aaron Salt­ner achieve the high jump re­sult of 202cm.

“That record still stands,” Fran­cis said proudly.

For the past 10 years, Fran­cis has not only been con­tribut­ing his time to the Biloela Li­ons Club with the glass and alu­minium bin col­lec­tion but vol­un­teer­ing as a coach and men­tor to the young sports­peo­ple in the Biloela com­mu­nity.

His will­ing­ness to give his time has seen him form great re­la­tion­ships with the chil­dren he coaches.

“I am happy to give the time and it’s great to see the kids de­velop a con­nec­tion through a com­mon in­ter­est and a con­cern and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for one an­other,” Fran­cis said.

AWARD: Fran­cis Moretti with his 2017 Li­ons Club Melvin Jones Fel­low Award.

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