CONTINUING TO PRESERVE THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA...
BEGINNINGS, CELEBRATIONS AND AIMS...
THE Football Hall of Fame WA - the first of its type in the code in Australia - was established in 1996 to coincide with the celebration of one hundred years of football achievement in Western Australia. And celebrations were taken a step further by the staging of a lavish affair to mark the 120th birthday of the game in 2016 which was also the 20th anniversary of the Football Hall of Fame WA.
The first Committee decreed that the philosophy behind the Hall of Fame is to discover, highlight and honour through a series of induction ceremonies the very best talent that has graced football - on and off the field - in WA since the official foundation of the code in a match between Perth and Civil Service on a blustery morning in 1896. Informal kick-abouts had taken place for many years before, but the code was never properly organised until that significant May day in the old Hyde Park Estate in East Perth, close to the current nib Stadium. On the same day, a game was also staged between Crusaders and Fremantle Wanderers at nearby Weld Square.
Details were scant in those pioneering days and it initially required much research and dedication by a Committee made up of volunteers to discover the best that State has to offer. That dedication continues and since the Hall of Fame's inaugural celebration - a lavish, black-tie affair in November 1996 which initially saluted the State's best in the Hall of Champions and the Hall of Recognition - there have been in total six induction ceremonies and 187 individuals have entered what has now grown to be four 'Halls'.
The games' true greats are honoured through the Hall of Legends - which was established in 2005 to further salute those who have distinguished themselves at the highest level and been an inspiration - while the Hall of Champions is for those players who have achieved excellence at a very high level. The Hall of Merit For Players (which was set up in 2008) pays tribute to those other talented players who have shone down the years. The Hall of Recognition honours those who have made a significant contribution on and off the field of play, such as influential coaches, top referees, dedicated administrators, generous sponsors and journalists who did much to advance and publicise the game in WA.
The Football Hall of Fame WA has always been a trendsetter and in 2012 there was a world scoop when Sandra Brentnall became the first female footballer to be inducted into a Hall of Legends.
Other events have also highlighted the abundant history of the game in Western Australia.
To celebrate one hundred years of competition by the State team, the Committee of the Hall of Fame identified the 100 best players to have represented WA between 1902 and 2002. It was a mammoth task and one which initially brought a 'short list' of nearly 200. Once whittled down, the 'Century of Champions' included over thirty Australian internationals and Olympians plus several players with international experience with England, Scotland, Wales and Poland who had graced the local stage with their style, flair and elegance. The Top 100 were then saluted at a special event in 2004.
The Hall of Fame has also recognised the significant achievements of Stan Lazaridis, Tony Franken and Alistair Edwards at playing and coaching level on the international stage - plus that of WA's first football Olympian Con Purser - with special awards at the Hall of Fame's 10th anniversary celebration in 2006.
The State teams which competed at the 1948 Southern States Carnival, the 1967 Merdeka Cup (the first Asian tournament in which an Australian team competed), the 1975 and 1976 Marah Halim Cup tournaments (won both times by WA), and the historic 1977 State women's tour of Asia - the first by an Australian female side into the Asian region - have also been honoured at celebratory gatherings.
The Committee of the Hall of Fame also staged a successful week-long World Cup exhibition at the Perth Town Hall in 2010. Later, at a function at the Town Hall attended by Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and other dignitaries, commemerative certificates were presented to many of the West Australians who had taken part in World Cup qualifying games for Australia - and also to several WA women who had competed in the Women's World Cup. Eddie Lennie, WA's only World Cup and Olympic Games finals referee, was honoured at the same event.
In 2016, guest speakers were included at a function for the first time when former Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange and former SBS football broadcaster Les Murray addressed a record attendance of over 430 at the Hall of Fame's 20th Anniversary induction night celebration at Crown Perth on November 26. A total of 32 were inducted on the night, including the State team's most successful coach Alan Vest as a new member of the Hall of Legends, bringing the number of Legends up to a Magnificent Seven.
A multi-layered function was held in December, 2017, to celebrate the Hall of Fame's 21st birthday. The celebrations included a salute to the 50th anniversary of the WA State team's international challenge against Manchester United; the 50th anniversary of the State team's first venture into playing in Asia; the 21st anniversary of a significant victory over the Indonesian national team; and there was a curtain-rasising football match between the WA media and the English cricket media to mark the West's own version of a football Ashes Test.
The on-going commitment of the Hall of Fame committee is to preserve and acknowledge the rich history of the game in Western Australia. It is a not-for-profit organisation which is endorsed by Football West. (For all the in-depth information on the Hall of Fame, and its inductees, see the menu bar at the top of this page).
Top Pic: The Anniversary symbol. Second Pic: Some of the inductees gather before the ground-breaking 1996 Hall of Fame ceremony.
Third Pic: Two of the original inductees - former referee Roy Stedman (left) and former Soccer Federation of WA president Julius Re, who were included in the Hall of Recognition in 1996.
Fourth Pic: Hall of Fame 10th Anniversary awards were given by State Govt representative Vincent Catania (second from right) to Alistair Edwards, Tony Franken and Stan Lazaridis.
Fifth Pic: Celebrating the 30th anniversary of WA's 1975-76 success in the Marah Halim Cup were captain Denis Barstow (holding trophy), tournament referee Barry Harwood (right) and coach Alan Vest (third from right).
Sixth Pic: A star-studded line-up of former Perth Glory players at the 2008 induction (from left): Paul Strudwick, Bobby Despotovski, Craig Naven, Gareth Naven and Shaun Murphy with their partners.
Seventh Pic: Five of the Legends line up at the 2012 induction ceremony (from left): Sandra Brentnall, Gary Marocchi, Ron Adair, John McInroy, Robbie Zabica.
Eighth Pic: The Seven Legends at the 2016 induction (from left): Robbie Zabica, Gary Marocchi, Robbie Dunn, Sandra Brentnall, Alan Vest, John McInroy, Ron Adair.
Ninth Pic: Minister for Environment Albert Jacob, Les Murray, Hall of Fame chairman Louis Prospero and Bernd Stange at the 2016 induction night.
Last updated : 6th December 2016