The Wallace family – four Life Members
When Robert Perry recently visited the Hawks Museum, he had with him the Life Members Medallions presented to his grandfather, Jack Wallace and great uncle, Frank Wallace who were brothers to Hawthorn’s legendary Head Trainer, Beau Wallace. Robert’s fortuitous visit has enabled the museum to learn more about the wonderful service given to Hawthorn by this dedicated family.
George and Margaret Wallace initially resided in Oakleigh before moving to Hawthorn where they raised eight children - five boys and three girls.Three of the brothers were to have long associations with the Hawthorn Football Club.They hold a unique record, four members of one family receiving Life Membership: William, better known as ‘Beau’, in 1936; Frank, in 1938 and Jack in 1950.Beau’s son Bill added to this record when he received Life Membership in 1973.
They served Hawthorn in various roles, either as Trainers, Time Keepers, Talent Scouts, Fund Raisers or as members of the Club Committee.With the exception of Beau, who was associated with the Club for 51 years and honoured as an Inductee to the Club’s Hall of Fame in 2010, little is known of Frank, Jack and Bill’s years of devoted service.
Grandson of Jack Wallace, Robert Perry donates his grandfather’s Life Members Certificate seen with Club Legend, Peter Knights and 1961 Premiership Player, Cam McPherson
William ‘Beau’ Wallace (1890-1970), a local lad in 1919, the year the VFA resumed after the First World War, joined the Hawthorn staff to assist with training.This was the beginning of 51 years of devoted service that saw Beau appointed Head Trainer in 1924, a role he held for more than forty years.
He served under the club's first 19 senior coaches, from Jim Jackson in 1925 through to John Kennedy Snr in the mid 1960s. He was a major figure in the continual daily club life during those years. Such was his standing in the wider world of VFL football he was considered one of the public faces of Hawthorn.
He stood down as active Head Trainer in 1966. Such was his worth and experience to Hawthorn he was given the title of honorary Life Head Trainer to assist the new, younger members of the Training Support Staff and he held that role until the end of 1969.Team photographs through the years show him with his slicked-down hair, parted in the middle, with a rather serious yet natty demeanor with his ever-present cigarette holder and professor-like glasses.
On training nights and match day, Wallace presided over a team of masseurs who would stand at attention by their rub-down tables, decked out in white, waiting with their liniment to prepare the players.However, his role extended well beyond the inner sanctum. His responsibilities saw him take over the role of ‘chief executive of the dressing rooms’, as he organised card nights, dances in the pavilion, cake stalls in Glenferrie Road and staged ‘fancy dress’ football matches to help meet the payment for the players and football equipment. Players would often drop into his furniture shop in Burwood Road to receive additional treatment for injuries and to seek advice.Wallace services were also sort after by the VFL for Victorian State Representative Teams.
After almost forty years at the club, Beau experienced the thrill of the VFL Finals for the first time in 1957, followed by the club’s first premiership in 1961.Beau had weathered the very lean years since he joined the club in 1919 and was very proud to be part of a successful team.
By day, Beau had his own business, working as a French polisher in Burwood Road and in late years was joined in the business by his son Bill who specialized in upholstery.However, to the Wallace family, football and Hawthorn was their life.Apart from Beau’s involvement, his wife, Vera served for many years on the Ladies Committee raising funds, serving dinners and repairing the player’s uniforms.
After Beau passed away in 1970, the Past Players & Officials renamed their rooms in the
Dr. Ferguson Stand, the Beau Wallace Room, such was the respect in which he was held.He was made a Life Member in 1936 and in 2010, was named as an Inductee in the HFC Hall of Fame.
Long serving Head Trainer, Beau Wallace, 1930
Frank Wallace (1993-1966), Beau’s oldest brother served as a Trainer with the Reserve 18 from at least 1927 to 1932 then took on the role of Time Keeper in 1932 until 1938, gaining HFC Life Membership that year.
2nd 18 Trainer and Time Keeper, Frank Wallace, 1932
Jack Wallace, (1900 -1972), Beau’s second youngest brother served on the Club Supporters’ Committee from 1940-1955, acting as President, 1949 -1951.The Supporters’ Committee had the onerous task of raising funds to keep the Club afloat, today this committee is known as the Sponsorship Department.Jack, also played a very active role with the Hawthorn City Football Club from 1950-1956, a junior club introduced by Hawthorn with the aim to develop players for the senior team. In a fitting tribute of club culture, an infamous plaque, ‘The Jack Wallace Castle of Mediation’ was hung on a certain door in the gym for many years which can now be seen in the Hawk Museum. Having received HFC Life Membership in 1950, Jack was made a Life Member of Hawthorn City FC in 1956. Jack operated a retail dairy at 8 Leslie Street, Auburn.He then owned the well-known Currajong Dry Cleaners in Inverleith Street, Auburn.Jack also served the local community as a well-respected Justice of Peace.
16-year member of the SUpporters Committee, Jack Wallace, circa 1961
Bill Wallace, Beau’s son also served Hawthorn for many years.He was a member of the Club Committee 1967-1976 and played an important role in both the recruiting of players and in overseeing the Fund-Raising Committee.He gained Life membership in 1973.Similar to his Uncle Jack, Bill established the Hawthorn District Junior Football League with the aim of developing players for the first 18 with club stalwart, Phil Ryan.Bill was also an umpire in local suburban leagues for many years and in this role, recommended many players to Hawthorn.
Author: Peter Haby, Hawks Museum