Crathern’s legacy lives on with pride
PETER Crathern is proud of an array of achievements his father and AFL Cairns founder Kevin accomplished but there is one that stands out more than others.
Kevin Crathern, president of the Cairns Australian Football League, as it was then called, for 18 years, was one of the driving forces behind the construction of Cazalys Stadium in 1957, which was the first dedicated field in regional Queensland for the game.
Since then, Cazlays Stadium and Cazalys Social Club has become the lifeblood of Australian rules football in Far North Queensland, with Peter delighted his old man played his part in creating a vital industry in the region.
“He had a vision and as we can see with Cazalys now, it is a reality,” Peter said.
“He has created an industry, it is just not a game of footy, it is an industry that provides people with jobs and what they do every day.
“It was not just Dad who did the work but also people like Reg Lillywhite and Gary Young over the last few years who have played their part.”
To recognise Kevin Crathern and his contribution to Australia’s indigenous game every year, AFL Cairns awards the Crathern Medal for the best and fairest player in the competition.
The Best and Fairest medal started as the Webb Medal in 1956, which was won by Kevin Crathern.
Then, in 1969, the Webb family decided not to donate the medal any longer and Kevin, as president of the league at the time, offered to donate the medal at the league committee meeting.
A club that Kevin loved, Centrals Trinity Beach have been awarded the last two medals, Hugh Nicholson last year and Damien Roe the year before, as another AFL Cairns footballer will write his name into the history books on Sunday night when the medal is awarded.
Kevin’s wife Norma has also sadly passed away but Peter said she always liked when a local player from North Queensland finished the season with a Crathern Medal around his neck.
Peter played at Centrals and umpired in the competition up until five years ago.
“The family have been involved, since we were born really,” he said. “If it was happening, we were involved.
“It did not matter if it was mowing the lawns, which my brother Anthony did, or on the tractor, marking the lines.
“There was lots of time and effort involved but it just needed to be done.”
PRESTIGIOUS: Peter Crathern, with the Best and Fairest medal awarded to his father in 1956. Kevin Crathern (inset) was the AFL Cairns founder and the award now bears his name.