Glancing Back - The History of Brighton Union by Noel Pullen

In Glancing Back, Noel Pullen Brighton Union club historian looks back at the memorable years in the club's distant and not so distant past.

Please note you can now order copies of Noel's book A Century of Union Power. It's a great read at 560 pages with around 450 photos and tremendous value at only $95.

Get behind this project and support it because not only do we actually have a history but we also have someone in Noel Pullen who has taken the time and effort to write it down. Most clubs would give anything to have something like this and Noel is supplying it to us at cost price.

Contact Noel at for your copy.

Please scroll down to see all editions of Glancing Back. Click the links to read the full articles. If you would like to read a
very brief history of the club click here.

No 1. The Early Years - 1883 to 1907

1907 was a very special year for Brighton Union as the club was officially founded on the 23rd September 1907.

Or was it founded then? 

The first known existance of Brighton Union was in 1883.

Click the link above to read more.

No 2. A Century of Cricket

More than 95 years ago, Armistice Day 11 November 1918 came too late for the Bear family. The three boys were all killed in action during the war, with Lance Corporal William Robert Bear making the ultimate sacrifice liberating Northern France just two months before the war ended. He was killed in September laying telephone cables to the front line under heavy machine gun fire and received the Military Medal for bravery. He had been captain of Brighton Union.

It puts it into perspective as another local boy and arguably Australia's finest all rounder, Keith Miller (pictured) who flew fighter-bombers over Europe in WWII, once said about the pressure of Test cricket 'Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not.'
In the latest edition historian Noel Pullen fast forwards over nearly a century of cricket at Brighton Union, from the Great War right up to the  decade just past, to bring you some great stories from the history of the club.

No 3.  From Lean Times to Premierships Galore

In the third edition Noel Pullen takes us back to 1841 and reveals the true history of Hurlingham Park. There are also stories of the leanest of times and the bestest of times. And two youngsters Con Gorozidis and Russell Purvis turn up for a game and take the competition by storm.

No 4. The Acknowledged Leaders

In the fourth edition of Glancing Back, historian Noel Pullen opens up with the controversial council decision to grant the original playing rights on Hurlingham Park. It reminds us we should never take for granted the privilege of our great home ground - What has been given can also be taken away.

Noel also describes how the club earned its motto Facile Princeps - The Acknowledged Leaders. This was adopted when the club won back-to-back 1st XI premierships for the first time in 1956-57, and remarkably, had both the 1st and 2nd XI's playing in the top grade of the association -
What has been earned can also be re-earned.

No 5. The Amazing 'Imito' Performs at Brighton Union

Historian Noel Pullen describes a function held in honour of the retiring club secretary in 1921. There were three comedians, two singers and Corporal Phillips aka 'Imito' who was famous throughout Victoria and New South Wales for his animal and bird imitations. So much so that he had his own prime time radio show on weeknights at 8:15pm (we are talking the 1920s here). On one occasion it is reported the station organised for a live Laughing Jackass (the feathered variety) to be brought into the studio for a listener competition to pick the real Jackass. Under the headline of Jackass Versus Man, it was described as one of the less than successful moments in the history of radio when the bird took fright under bright studio lights and refused to perform.

No 6. Champion teams and Champion Players

If you have been following Noel's Glancing Back series above, you will have seen how Brighton Union grew from early beginnings going back as far as 1883 through the 20s, 30s and 40s into the undisputed power club of the competition in the 50s and 60s. 1955 to 1663 produced an incredible run of almost 8 consecutive First XI Premierships with only a Grand Final loss at No. 7 breaking this remarkable winning streak.

As well as the champion teams of the era, there were many outstanding individual champions of the game and none more so than Julien Wiener who joined as a junior in 1967 and went on to represent Victoria and Australia. Julien made his test debut against the old enemy in the Perth test in 1978/79 in an Australian team that included names such as Lillee, Thompson, Marsh,
Kim Hughes, Greg Chappell and Allan Border.

There is a Youtube clip on this website (scroll down on the home page) under 'Coaching Clips' showing highlights of Lillee bowling v England in Perth with the famous slip cordon in place. Julien is in Fourth Slip. This is cricket played at its absolute best (unless you happen to be English).

No 7. Tommy Bent's Hurlingham Estate Subdivided and Sold Off

In Glancing Back No. 7, Noel Pullen describes how Hurlingham Park was bought by the Brighton Council 100 years ago in 1913 from the estate of Sir Thomas Bent 4 years after his death. Much of the land bordering the park was also subdivided and sold off at the time taking advantage of the new electric tram service to the area. Had the council not acted at the time, the Park would probably have ceased to exist through being subdivided and sold off for residential land. Interesting...

For many years Tommy's statue stood in a commanding location in the middle of the Nepean Highway at the intersection of Bay and Hampton Streets looking north towards the city. When the highway was widened recently he was moved to a more shady spot on the north west side so that he now looks back towards what was originally his Hurlingham Park which to this day is still used by the cricket club.

Noel also talks about how Brighton Union quietly strengthened after WWII to become the powerhouse of the competition in the 50s and early 60s.

No 8. Council plans to sell off Hurlingham Park for housing

Read all about the Council's plans to sell off parts of Hurlingham Park in 1914 in Noel Pullen's Glancing Back No. 8.

Also in Noel's bumper Christmas edition

  • History of the CMCA Part 1 by Russell Moore
  • Team photos from 1980-81
  • Con Gorozidis Tribute Day in 2005


No 9. Second XI lift the 1981-82 B Grade Shield

Second XI skipper Keith Hamilton is shown raising the shield while team mates Kevin Adams (far left) and Tim Gallop (second from left) look on.

John Quiney, seen here on the far right was a much revered figure at Washington Park CC and throughout the Association. The C Grade Shield was later renamed the Quiney Shield in his honour.

1981-82 was a good year for the club: The Second XI and the U14s were premiers while the First XI played off in the grand final against East Sandringham Boys Club. The match was drawn and East Sandy were declared premiers as they finished top of the ladder.
Tony Grant was club champion.

In Glancing Back No. 9 Noel Pullen provides a complete set of team photos from 1981-82 as well as continuing the history of the CMCA (now South East Cricket Association) and some tributes to the club on its 100 year anniversary

There is also a tribute to umpire Adrian Fisher, who in February 2006 umpired his 500th game in a career spanning 35 years - a truly remarkable achievement. He is pictured below on the left with great mate and colleague, Frank Robinson who can be heard on the SECA radio show on 88.3 Southern FM, Sunday mornings at 11am. Or click here to listen to a podcast of the show. Both umpires are still going strong.

No. 10  Women's Cricket comes to Brighton Union

Club historian, Noel Pullen, devotes much of Glancing Back No. 10 to the success of the Brighton Union women's team which started 1981-82 in C Section and
steadily won promotion through to A Section in the Victorian Women's Cricket Association in 1985-86. Their final season was 1986-87.

The history of the CMCA (now South East Cricket Association) is continued by Russell Moore and there is an interesting newpaper article from 1916 about the construction of the first fence around Hurlingham Park.

No. 11  David Grant, Saints 191 gamer and 1991 All Australian, wins Union club champion award 2001-02 season

In Glancing Back No. 11, Noel Pullen reviews the 2001-02 season when Saints champion David Grant was Brighton Union club champion.

Noel also takes a look back at the 1982-
83 season, the club's 75th anniversary, which was the most successful in 20 years. The First XI won the A grade flag with 10 of the 12 players coming up through club junior ranks - including Con Gorozidis who in the Grand Final made 75 runs and took the incredible figures of 9/144.

There is also the usual Brighton Council humour from 100 years ago - this time involving the tender process for the removal of the old fence along Pt Nepean Road.

And Hurlingham Park was almost renamed Bent Park following intense lobbying from Tommy's daughter claiming that the park had been gifted to the cricket club and therefore the family should be appropriately recognised.

Hurlingham Park was almost Bent Park

Please click the links below for the latest editions of Noel Pullen's Glancing Back - The history of Brighton Union Cricket Club

Glancing Back Number 12

Glancing Back Number 13