MSJC Life Members
In early 1957 Bert Jacobs (Australia’s sole show jumping representative at the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1956), Eric Rundle, Joan Pearson and Mary Williamson called a meeting at Narre Warren to discuss the creation of an organisation to guide the development of showjumping in Victoria. Out of this meeting was born the Melbourne Show jumping Club. Eric Rundle was nominated as President and Bert Jacobs was part of the committee and the main instructor for many years. The aims of the club have not changed over time:
To develop an environment in which riders could train to be competitive at world standards;
To provide training and education for riders, course designers and judges;
To provide equipment to supply to shows to enable modern competition to take place and
To run shows to encourage the highest levels of competition and set a standard.
For many years the running of shows was a major feature of the club’s activities. Showjumping shows were run at Oakwood Riding School at Narre Warren, Eltham Lower Park and the ‘Mecca’ Olympic Park. Later Indoor Championships were run at Art Uytendaals’s venue at Whittlesea. With increased demand for high standard competition a move to Werribee Park resulted in a two day show with two rings. A diminishing workforce, rider disinterest and difficulties with obtaining sponsorship resulted in this show being moved to Oaklands Hunt Club.
The provision of equipment has always been a major part of the club’s activities. Originally the equipment was built by Lester Lowerson, who was responsible for the design of the steel wings which still travel on the truck and the amazing gear that was used at Olympic Park. The truck, or trucks, supplied gear and personnel to shows and horse trials all over Victoria and as far north as Deniliquin. Ted Morley, Brian Brennan, Graeme Balfour and Derek Beer all became integral parts of the club’s activities. John Vallance became Derek Beer’s ‘apprentice’ and took over much of the design and building of gear as well as developing his interest in course design. Since John moved to Sydney the new gear has been built and maintained by Wes Muir. The club owns a truck which carries a standard set of equipment. The special championship set of equipment is transported in a container to minimise damage.
Sherwood at Oaklands Junction has been the home of the club since 1973. A large equipment shed houses the truck, judging vans and all the gear. Nearby is a fenced sand arena completed in the 1990s and used for training days, clinics, the Annual Show in March and by Oaklands Pony Club. The emphasis on training has always been a major part of the club’s activities. Training day instruction began with Bert Jacobs and Art Uytendaal and continued without a break to the present with Robbie Allen as the main instructor. Clinics were popular in the sixties and seventies with Franz Mairinger,Art Uytendaal, Ern Barker and more recently Jamie and Sue Coman and Colleen Brooke.
The club has also been responsible for nurturing and training many people who play a major part in showjumping. Reg Cleland, John Vallance, Ron and Pam Lewis, David Sheppard and Anne Jones have all spent many hours working at Oaklands, on committee and contributing to the success of showjumping.