Bob Russell awarded OAM
Bob Russell with Josh Naughton & Keith Nyberg
Eltham Lacrosse Club Founder Mr Robert “Bob” Russell awarded OAM for service to Lacrosse and to the community
In 1964, Mr Russell was one of three co-founders of the Eltham Lacrosse Club which used the Eltham High School as its home ground. However, after a few years, the other co-founders moved away and Mr Russell was left to keep the club going. As Lacrosse was a very minor sport, there was little or no community support in the early days and boys were transported to and from away games by Mr Russell with occasional help from parents which often necessitated a couple of trips there and then back again. On home game days, Mr Russell was up early to mark out the pitch and arrange for volunteer scorers and officials, jobs he often took upon himself. For the next ten years, the club fielded senior and/or junior teams with moderate success.
Mr Russell was President of Eltham Lacrosse Club from 1965-1975 and Senior Coach from 1967–1972. He was made a Life Member in 1974. It was in the early 1970’s when the club was looking its most fragile and Mr Russell was basically still the sole administrator that other players and supporters began to assist in the running of the club.
Mr Russell still remained fully involved on the Club Committee until quite recent years. Over time, he particularly negotiated and advocated with the Shire Council for improved facilities for the club which is now situated at Eltham Lower Park. He was always working hard for the club, setting goals and working to achieve them in his quiet, unassuming manner.
Mr Russell has always given 100% support to the club whenever a job needed to be done, whether it is at an administrative level or helping out in the clubrooms on Saturday nights. Even in these later years, Mr Russell attends games when he is able and his interest in the club has not waned. Mr Russell is a highly regarded and respected figure by all associated with the club and his achievements were particularly celebrated at the club’s 50th Anniversary Dinner last year.
Apart from his voluntary work for Eltham Lacrosse Club, Mr Russell has also acted voluntarily as Secretary of Lacrosse Victoria for approximately seven years as well as a National Tournament Director for Senior Men and Under 17 Boys. He has also acted as a Manager of a Lacrosse Victoria Promotional Group.
It is true to say that the Eltham Lacrosse Club would not exist if it were not for his tireless efforts over the fifty years that the club has existed. It has grown from one initial Boys’ team to having multiple Men’s, Boys’, Women’s and Girls’ teams, and reaching the pinnacle of Men’s lacrosse when winning the 2004 State League Premiership. A significant number of players have been selected to represent Victoria and Australia at national and international level. This outcome would not have been possible without the determination and dedication of Mr Russell to establish and run a local Lacrosse Club for the youth of Eltham and surrounding areas.
Lacrosse Victoria would like to congratulate Mr Russell on his OAM. He has worked tirelessly for lacrosse throughout his life, has achieved much but is still a modest, unassuming man to whom the club and community is greatly indebted.