Garry Young - Spectemur Agendo

Debut Order 473
Born 10 July, 1939
Recruited Boronia
Guernsey 31
Debut Game Round 8, 1956
Final Game Round 2, 1965
Games 108
Goals 164
Premiership 1961
Reserves Premiership 1958
Most Improved Player 1959, 1961
Leading Goal-kicker 1959 (35), 1960 (36)
HFC Life Member 1965

Garry Young punches the ball clear of the pack to his teammate Cam McPherson (26) v Melbourne, season 1961

Garry Young has done it all at Hawthorn. He played in the first senior premiership in 1961, he was a club runner, a selector, a coach, served on the committee (board), a long serving servant of the Past Players and Family Day, foundation member of Hawks Forever in 1992, his knowledge, network led to the beginnings of the Hawks Museum. 62 years of continuous service for his beloved Brown and Gold, receiving Life Membership in 1965.

When he was serving on the Club Committee, he indelibly left his mark on the club in another way when he, along with fellow committeeman, Harry McCurry, visited the local library and consulted the book, Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Quotations edited by H P Jones.They chose the quote, ‘Spectemur Agendo – Let us be known by our actions,’ which served as the Club’s motto until 1982 when the term ‘The Family Club’ was adopted. However, the Past Players and Officials Association continued to use ‘Spectemur Agendo’ as their motto.

When first recruited to Hawthorn, Garry Young was considered too short for a key position.However, he defied the odds and gave sterling service playing many fine games at centre half-forward then centre half-back.He was a participant in a number of significant key milestones as the club rose to become a respected VFL/AFL power.

  • 1956, played in the Hawks’ first finals appearance on the MCG with 2nd 18 team
  • 1957, played in the first senior team’s first finals appearance, a victory over Carlton
  • 1958, played in the Club’s first 2nd 18 Premiership defeating Collingwood
  • 1960, played in the team that defeated Collingwood at Victoria Park for the first time
  • 1961, played in the Club’s first senior Premiership defeating Footscray

When Young was growing up in semi-rural Boronia, it was not included in any club’s recruiting zone.Fortuitously for Hawthorn, the secretary of the Boronia club worked with Hawthorn official, Ron Cook at Dunlop in Bayswater and suggested that Hawthorn should approach Young, and his older brother, Maurie. Until then, the Youngs had been North Melbourne supporters, often being driven by their father in a Bedford truck all the way to Arden Street, after finishing their own junior games.

When the Youngs first tried out at Hawthorn, a key concern was getting away in time to catch the 7pm train from Glenferrie back to Boronia. After their first training night they were invited to a team meeting by coach Jack Hale, and it became obvious that they were going to miss the train. Cook noticed their worried looks and said the club would fund them a taxi, it was money well invested as the Hawks gained the Young family’s life-long commitment to the brown and gold.

Six weeks after his older brother, Maurie’s debut, Young made his first appearance against Carlton in Round 8 1956. He was aged just 16 years, 328 days, the second youngest Hawthorn player ever, behind only 1961 Premiership teammate, John Peck.

In 1958, Young topped the VFL Seconds’ goal-kicking for the third consecutive season and played in the Seconds’ Premiership, the club’s first premiership at any level, contributing four of the team’s seven goals in the four-point win against Collingwood.

Young’s determination and persistence saw him develop into a fine key forward, topping the club’s goal kicking in 1959 (35) and 1960 (36).A somewhat fiery redhead known as ‘G-man’, he was renowned for his wobbly kicking which caused many a concern among his teammates.

In 1961, he cemented the centre-half forward position. Young had an outstanding Second Semi Final against Melbourne, from the moment he kicked Hawthorn’s first goal at the 23-minute mark of the opening quarter. He ended up being the leading kick-getter with 22, an excellent effort for a key position player, and was the unanimous choice for ‘best on ground’.

‘Spectemur Agendo – Garry Young proudly holds the 1961 Premiership Cup

Young had a very unusual Grand Final week. Dalgety’s employed him as a wool classer, and they suggested a job at a property near Avenel in north eastern Victoria. Hawthorn gave Young permission to go, provided he was back for Thursday night training and that he trained at the Avenel ground on the Tuesday night. Helpfully, about forty or fifty children turned up to assist at Avenel, as did ex-local and Essendon strong man Ian ‘Bluey’ Shelton, who was also the cousin of Young’s ex-Hawthorn teammate Bill Shelton. After Shelton began leaping all over him in kick-to-kick, Young had to remind him that the purpose of the exercise was to prepare him for the Grand Final.

Back at Glenferrie on the Thursday night, Young remembers the excitement of the crowd, which was so keen that “if you sneezed you got a clap”. He also remembers that, on the Friday night, John and Dulcie Kennedy gave the team dinner and John told all his players “whatever happens tomorrow you will be in our hearts”.

On Grand Final day itself, Young reflects that the team was probably a “bit anxious” and that this accounted for an unusual amount of fumbling in the first half. At half time, the team was disappointed, but also knew the game was still there to be won. He remembers the feeling of emotion when the goals came part way through the final term making victory secure and he knew that “history is in the making”. It was a different era with “no punching the air”, but winning a Flag was a “great feeling”.

Young also remembers the celebrations, the barbeques on Glenferrie Oval and how the crowd was so packed around the podium that some of the players, including him, could not get up on it. He also has fond memories of the post-season trip to Surfers Paradise, and his relief, when Graham Cooper’s lost suitcase finally showed up, putting an end to his need for constant borrowing from his cabin mate.

Having moved from full forward to centre half-forward in 1961, Young then continued his progress down the ground by becoming a centre halfback. This move was first made in a game against Richmond in 1962 when, in a bid to quell the influence of Paddy Guinane, he was moved onto him.

In 1963, he suffered serious injuries in both games against reigning Premier Essendon. He copped three broken ribs in the opening round loss at Glenferrie, forcing him to miss five games and then in Round 12, an injury to his larynx meant missing six games. He returned for the Finals and was in the best players in both the Preliminary Final win against Melbourne and the Grand Final loss to Geelong.

By that time, Young had had changed jobs and was working as a sales representative at Bill Patterson Motors in Ringwood selling Holdens. He had also married Judy, had a daughter, Katrina, and was living in the same Forest Hill street, Barter Crescent, as his Premiership teammates, John McArthur and Ron Nalder. Then, on an April Saturday night in 1965, he faced the most serious moment of his life, as the Essendon injury curse struck even more severely than in 1963.

A heavy clash with an Essendon big man left him with what was later diagnosed as a perforated bowel and peritonitis complications. Young battled on for a quarter before leaving the field, never to return. Initial medical assessment saw him sent home, but fortunately wife Judy, who was a nurse, decided he should go to Box Hill Hospital, a decision which probably saved his life. These days, it may have been possible to play again after such injuries, but back in the 1960s it was too risky. Young’s only subsequent hands-on role with a team came some years later, when operating a small business in Healesville, he was enticed into coaching the local footy team, which he did for three seasons, including a premiership win.

The injury at Essendon was a disappointing end for a player who was still only 25 years old. Reflecting on his career, he pays special tribute to the trainers, who were the heart and soul of the club, under the legendary Beau Wallace. The trainer who looked after him was Charlie Simpson, a big man, whose hands reflected his day job as a motor mechanic. Young also remembers how inspiring a venue Glenferrie was, especially when kicking to the grandstand end in the final quarter, with the bugle ringing out, followed by the Hawthorn chant.

Young has remained a huge contributor to Hawthorn. After playing, his next football role was as a member of the committee. Later, he gave ten years’ service to the Past Players Association committee and was instrumental in getting the space for the original Hawks Museum in the Ferguson Stand at Glenferrie Oval.

Forever the clubman, Young was one of the driving forces behind the highly successful 50th anniversary of the 1961 premiership in 2011. He oversaw the production of the DVD, which accompanied the book, The Brown ‘n Gold Jubilee. Recently he followed this up assisting with the recently highly successful 60th Anniversary of the 1958 and 1959 2nd 18 Premiership teams.

When he puts out the call to be involved, all his teammates respond as “true friends and mates”. It underlines for him, how much of a privilege it is “to be connected with this great footy club”.

He is delighted to see the Club re-discover the motto he instigated back in 1966, ‘Spectemur Agendo – Let us be known by our actions’.Garry Young is a living example of that motto.

Author: Peter Haby, Hawks Museum

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