THIS weekend’s Kiama Rugby League Centenary celebrations are not just about the players, but also the tremendous support staff that has helped keep the club running over the past 100 years.
One such person is 88-year-old Norma Stead, who is one of three club life members in the family, with her contribution coming as a member of the one of the club’s hardest working support groups, the Ladies Auxiliary.
Week-in and week-out during the season, supporters, wives, mothers and girlfriends turn up to make sure the crowd is kept happy and well-fed, while making valuable money that helps the club function.
“I suppose I sort of fell into the position through my mother-in-law Pearl Stead being an active member, while being married to my husband Ray, who was also one of the stars of the Knights during their golden years in the 1940s,” Mrs Stead said.
“My involvement started in around 1948 with ‘Nan’ Stead and Josie Hill two of the main ladies at the time, but we really did have a wonderful group of ladies who were all quite good friends.
“We ran the canteen out of an old tin shed at the back of our house in Bong Bong Street that ran into the showground and the shed also doubled as a boxing gym and chook pavilion at show time – it was pretty primitive and I suppose it may not have passed health regulations these days.
“One of our ladies, Ena Wright, did an amazing amount of work toward fundraising for the new canteen which was also replaced a couple of years ago – you could say things are a lot more comfortable these days.”
After the retirement of several of the long-standing members, the job of organising the canteen fell to Mrs Stead and she seemed to relish the role.
“By that time we were living in Hindmarsh Park and before and after games everything had to be moved by car from one place to the other, which at times was a lit of a logistical nightmare.
“But I did have a very good relationship with our baker, Les Warby, and I had a key to the bakery and if we looked like running short of pies I could just go down and grab some.”