Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Graeme Hocking and the story of his local club - now updated!

Recently one Graeme Hocking wrote to club historian John Kyrou, to talk about his time as a schoolboy footballer for South Melbourne United, and John was kind enough to pass along the letter and photos of Hocking's team medal and personal medal - which Hocking has donated to the club - to South of the Border.

Graeme was a member of United's 1951 Dunklings Shield winning team, which was a schoolboy competition which had run since at least 1934, but rather was confusingly also the name given to trophies for several other sports. including rowing and life saving.

In previous discussions (here and here) on South Melbourne United, we noted that members of United's junior wing left in the mid 1940s to form the Park Rangers club. United's continuing success in junior soccer indicates that there was a healthy soccer playing community within the South Melbourne/Albert Park/Middle Park area.

Hocking was the captain of the side, and his dedication to his teammates and the game can be seen by the fact that even when his family moved from the Middle Park area, first to Upper Ferntree Gully, then Castlemaine, he would still make the trip down by steam train to Melbourne to play for his team, arriving home at 7:30pm after having gotten up at 4:00am to perform his duties as an apprentice baker.
Graeme Hocking captained the side, and can be seen seated behind the Dunklings Shield. On his left, seated behind the small trophy, is vice captain Don Dodds. The goalkeeper behind Dodds is Del Mannering. The gentleman in the dark suit is Alex McFadyen. The suited man on the right hand side is Jack Olsen. The rest of the people in the photo Hocking does not remember the names of. Mannering would go on to play senior football with Melbourne Hakoah, playing in the state league for several seasons in the 1960s. Prior to that he had played with George Cross, and in the early 1970s it seems also with Wellington Olympic.

Update! With thanks to Ted Smith and Graeme Hocking for the additional info.
  • After playing senior football for South Melbourne United, goalkeeper Del Mannering played for Hakoah, George Cross, Makedonia, and in the early 1970s it seems also with Wellington Olympic.
  • Alex McFadyen, the man in the dark suit, was a coach at both South Melbourne and at the South Melbourne Technical School. Ted Smith recalls "Mr. McFadyen also set up a St. Kilda Junior team which he asked me in 1957 to coach, and I had them all them in my first car – a 1938 Ford – including Mike Mandalis, Attila & Joe Abonyi who had just arrived from Hungary."
  • The suited man at the opposite end of the photo is Jack Olsen. He was secretary at South Melbourne United in its early days. According to Ted Smith, Olsen was also heavily involved with the VASFA's junior setup, which is corroborated by a 1950s Soccer News article listing him as the secretary of the Victorian Junior Soccer Association.
  • While he is not this photo, Graeme Hocking has noted that Frank Crean, then president of the club, "lived next door to our cake shop and house which was located on the corner of Mills and Richardson Streets, Middle Park, directly opposite what was Middle Park Central School (likely now Middle Park Primary School -ed), which I attended.


  1. Fabulous stuff Paul. You no doubt saw your own thought in my interview!!

  2. OMG! Just found out that Del Mannering had played with South Melbourne United in 1958! Can we track this guy down?

  3. After some brief correspondence with Simon Crean, it appears that there is doubt about how much involvement Frank had with soccer. While Simon was very young at the time of the supposed involvement, it appears to be very difficult to find any other evidence apart from the Soccer News artlcle ( mentioning Frank Crean.


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