Little Athletics started in the Australian Capital Territory during the summer of 1970/71 with the formation of Coroboree in the Territory's north, some six years after Trevor Billingham founded Little Athletics at Landy Field in Geelong. Kevin and Marrie Stevenson arrived in Canberra from Sydney in 1971 with their five kids in toe, some of whom had been members of the Parramatta Little Athletics Club. They were disappointed to discover that there was no club in Canberra's south. With the support of friends, Kevin and Marrie founded the Southside Little Athletics Club for a season kick-off in 1972. The Belconnen club would be founded that same year.
The original committee comprised Kevin as President, Wally Gill as Vice President, Judy Young as Secretary and Equipment Officer, and Margaret Brown from Theodore was Treasurer, Don Brown was starter and Peter Bowman coach. Other key figures included Janet Paton, Margaret Daniels, the Nobles and the McMahons.
Meets were held behind the location of the current Philip Oval, where the apartment complex is now located. In the heat of summer, the athletes would seek shelter in the trees lining the oval. The athletes wore green shirts with a yellow sash and white shorts. With letters to schools, newspaper advertising, and via word of mouth, the fledgling club was overwhelmed with budding athletes. Competition ran from 9 until 12, with setup from 8am. Athletes from these years recall that the high-jump mats smelled of fish. This may have something to do with teh fact that they were stored in the President's fish truck!
Between Southside, Belconnen and Corroboree, our first three centres, there were 850 children doing Little Athletics in the ACT that year. Southside, later known as Woden, has been running (and jumping and throwing) ever since.
In the 2015/6 season the club incorporated a new moniker "Thunder" and a new logo to usher in a new era for the Woden Little Athletics club in celebration of our return home to the refurbished Woden Park Athletics Field.
The moniker and logo continue the heritage of both our region and our Athletics Club. The name 'Woden Valley' can be traced back to October 1837 when Dr. James Murray acquired 2,500 acres of land and named it after the king of the Anglo-Saxon gods and god of wisdom, Woden. He named it this as he intended to spend his life in the pursuit of wisdom. Development of Woden's twelve suburbs began in 1962 and families moved into the first suburb of Hughes the following year. Woden's son was Thunor, the Anglo-Saxon god of storms, lightning and thunder - he is more commonly known by his Nordic name, Thor. Armed with his strength-giving items, his belt and his hammer, Thor was the strongest of all the Norse gods. When Thor was angry, he would strike his anvil with his hammer and the sound was thunder and the sparks lightning.
Historical artefacts for the Woden Little Athletics Club, such as the flag on display in the club house, feature the ceremonial Viking warrior with a horned-helmet on a field of green and gold and until recently, the connection between Woden and the Vikings had been lost but with the relaunch in season 2015/16 of the Woden Little Athletics Club, the connection is renewed.
If you or anyone you know has information regarding our history, WLAC would love to hear from you!