Crath­ern’s legacy lives on with pride

The Weekend Post - - Sport - JOR­DAN GERRANS

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.”

Pic­ture: ANNA ROGERS

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.

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