Former Australian hockey coach Richard Aggiss donates 1984 Olympic blazer to HRCC as it celebrates 30 years

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Richard Aggiss unveils his donation of his 1984 Los Angeles Olympic blazer to the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre.
Camera IconRichard Aggiss unveils his donation of his 1984 Los Angeles Olympic blazer to the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

The Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre has received a surprise donation as it marks 30 years as an integral part of the community.

Former Australian hockey player and coach Richard Aggiss donated his 1984 Los Angeles Olympics blazer to the centre as part of an official celebration of its 30th anniversary.

A night of celebrations was held at the venue on September 11 to commemorate the major milestone, with special guests and councillors being joined by those who helped make the centre a reality.

Harvey Shire president Paul Gillett said it was fantastic to celebrate the HRCC’s first 30 years and to look forward to the next three decades.

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“From where it started to where we stand today is a tribute to the vision, the passion and belief of a very proud community to deliver a centre for the entire community,” he said.

Cr Gillett thanked council staff, led by centre manager David Marshall, for their dedication to making it the centre of activity within the town.

“You deliver a service second to none, not only here at the HRCC but all over our Shire venues,” he said.

“So from council and the community to our wonderful staff, a very big thankyou.”

Sport and Arts Minister David Templeman skipped the WAFL’s Sandover Medal ceremony to attend the event, drawing applause from the crowd when he said he had made the “right” decision.

He acknowledged the work of multiple community members who helped make the centre what it is three decades ago.

“Those people who have put in their time, their energy, their advocacy, their effort, their financial support, the vision of what this place could become, they are very important parts of this journey and the story,” he said.

“I want to pay particular tribute to those that are with us tonight, who were part of that journey, right from the beginning.”

One of the many people who helped drive the centre from an idea into a reality three decades ago is Rob Newby.

He described the effort to raise funds towards the cost of building the centre as a combination of vision, community spirit, commitment and cooperation.

“The public response was magnificent,” he said.

“It is unbelievable the amount of dollars that we generated from this community to the extent of around $800,000, which is not to be sneezed at.

“It was a long way from where we needed to be, but it was a hell of a commitment and hell of a lot of work.”

The remainder of the funds for the $1.8m project were contributed by the Shire of Harvey and the State government.

A number of changes have occurred since the HRCC officially opened on September 11, 1993, with the development of The Boundary and the gym moving to 24/7 operation among recent improvements.

Mr Aggiss, who spent 14 years living in Harvey as a child, was the keynote speaker at the event.

He talked about how he started playing hockey in 1958 after two new teachers came to Harvey and started a Saturday morning hockey competition.

“In those days there was no junior sport and no junior footy, so there was no way for people like me to play football and we all started playing hockey,” he said.

Mr Aggiss then went on to represent Australia in hockey between 1969 and 1974, later coaching the Australian men’s hockey team between 1981 and 1988 before moving into commentating.

He donated his blazer from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to the centre, which was met with a round of applause from attendees.

Mr Aggiss noted the impact his time in Harvey had on his career.

“I appreciate what Harvey has done for me in my early life,” he said.

The night concluded with a classical music performance by the Philharmonic South West Orchestra, led by conductor David Pye.

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