Club History

The 1970's

In April 1974 the club made one of its most significant signings that was to be largely responsible for shaping the club's fortunes for the next twenty-five years, including our magnificent record of ten consecutive A Grade Men's premierships. This was Marcel Schnyder and his sons Paul and Marc.

Marcel Schnyder coaxed two other athletes in Stewart Pike and Jamie Govan back into running and together they started a resurgence in the club's competitiveness.

The traditional power house clubs of Y.C.W. and Ballarat Harriers were now being challenged by Wendouree.

Family names synonymous with Wendouree were during this era were Cleary, Loveless, Schnyder, Govan, Gudgeon. With this came an enormous depth of talent, by 1975 the club had a formidable line up, consisting of National and State champions. The Cleary brothers David, Noel and Paul were brilliant all-rounders, excelling in the jumps.

The 1970's and 1980's produced many athletes of Australian standard like the club had never seen before. Ballarat's first 15 metre triple jumper Paul Cleary, speedsters Michael Benoit and Gerard Keating, distance runner Lindsay Burgoyne, hurdlers Brendan Sevenson, John CaIjury and Dean Norton, middle distance runners Paul Schnyder, Marcus Downes and Greg Whitfield, decathlete Steven Bews as well as cross country junior Justin Plowright.

From 1979 Wendouree won 10 A grade Grand Finals, you may think we were dominant, but we were not. Ballarat Harriers and especially Y.C.W. were very strong. Enough cannot be said of Paul Schnyder, who is one of the best athletes our club and indeed Ballarat has seen. Paul was a national standard middle distance runner who also excelled at the javelin and triple jump. Paul and Jamie Govan are the only two athletes to have competed in the ten consecutive A grade grand finals.

Paul Cleary, along with sprinter Gerard Keating were among the first athletes to attend the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Gerard Keating held the Australian 100-meter record and represented Australia at the 1982 Commonwealth Games and all other international competitions throughout the eighties.