Connecting Family Through Sport For 125 Years

Connecting Family Through Sport For 125 Years

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Jahan Emery

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This year marks Adelaide University Sport's 125 year anniversary. To celebrate, we're holding a Gala Dinner on September 24th to bring together past and present community members to revel in our rich and diverse history.

Our organisation has touched people's lives across multiple generations and, in some cases, within the same family. Jack Brady is a current University of Adelaide student, Adelaide University Sport and Fitness board member and plays for the Adelaide University Rugby Union Football Club. He will be attending our Gala Dinner with his grandmother Mary McLeod who was heavily involved with sport at the University of Adelaide when she was a student. They will also be celebrating the achievements of Jack's late grandfather John Kenneth Allister McLeod (known as Allister), who was an active and highly competitive participant for Adelaide University Sport.

Jack moved to Adelaide from Queensland to study at the University of Adelaide to study a Bachelor of Commerce, but choosing an Adelaide University Sports club wasn't a simple choice due to his family's sporting history.

"Although I am sure my grandmother would have loved for me to play football for the Adelaide University Football Club, as a Queenslander, the Rugby club was a much more attractive option to play my native state's sport. Nana has still come along to a few of my rugby matches over the years and is always looking out for my injuries!"

Adelaide University Sport is truly a part of their family's bloodline as Mary's father, Donald Mellish, also represented the University in Baseball throughout the early 1920s. Mary started at the University of Adelaide in 1951 and joined the basketball team (now modern netball). The team, largely comprised of Mary's friends from Wilderness high school, won the Adelaide District competition in 1952. This achievement led to her entire team earning a Full Blue, our most prestigious form of recognition at the annual Blues Awards. Mary enjoyed playing hockey, badminton and tennis for the University while studying to become a physical education teacher.

Jack says that Mary fondly describes meeting her future husband, Allister, at the University of Adelaide.

"On her first day of University, she was introduced to Allister at the bottom of the stairs outside where Union House is now. She described him as 'this huge hunk of a thing'. His nickname through his sporting years was 'Wimpy', a nickname that was the complete opposite to his tall and strong stature."

Allister achieved a formidable list of accomplishments throughout his life, both on and off the sporting field. He received an Order of Australia for services to the mining industry and many awards and accolades throughout his Australian Rules football career.

"Allister played cricket, football and athletics for the University but was most known for his success on the football field. In 1950 he was selected in the All-Australian Amateur Football team and again in 1954 as the captain. He was the leading goalkicker in Div 1 SAAFL in 1952 (56 goals) and 1953 (67 goals). He was the Gunning medalist for the Adelaide University Football Club in 1950 and captain in 1954. He was awarded a Full Blue for football in 1951 and is also a life member of the Adelaide University Football Club."

Jack will also be adding to his family sporting legacy at the University as he has been selected in the South Australian Black Falcons men's rugby squad. Also a member of the Adelaide University Sport and Fitness Board, Jack decided to join to be more involved with the university's sports operations. He wishes to see university sporting clubs compete at the highest level possible and be competitive in state premier competitions.

Jack has thoroughly enjoyed the last two seasons at the Adelaide University Rugby Union Football Club and is looking forward to developing the clubs on field performance in the years to come to become a significant force within South Australia. He has been selected in the South Australian Black Falcons men's rugby squad who compete for the Australian Rugby Shield and says the move to Adelaide has been excellent for his rugby.

"I was a very average rugby player throughout high school, but since moving to Adelaide, I have really started to understand the game and improved quickly."

Our 125 Year Gala Dinner will be a fitting setting for Jack and Mary to celebrate their family's achievements within our community, but most importantly, Jack and Mary are looking forward to the quality time they will get to spend together.

When asked about the evening, Mary says, "I'm most excited by being asked to accompany my grandson to the Gala Dinner." Jack is most looking forward to spending some quality time with Mary and sharing the experience with her.

We will be celebrating 125 years of Adelaide University Sport on September 24th at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Tickets to this event include a 3-course meal, drinks package and entertainment including guest speakers. If you'd like to learn more about this event or purchase a ticket, click here.