Historic Ipswich club kicking community goals
WHEN a club president knows the name of every young player, it's a sure sign he's overseeing a family-friendly sport.
That was exactly the case for Scott Morrison when he welcomed the first group of players back to Ipswich's historic Dinmore Bushrats club two years ago.
The Dinmore Bushrats Soccer and Sports Club Inc has grown from 23 players in two teams to more than 80 youngsters aged under 6 to under 12, lining up in six teams and part of the Rugrats (under-3 to 5) program.
"We've had a great season this year,'' Morrison said reflecting on the resurgence of the club in the Queensland Christian Soccer Association competition.
"The soccer club is a community within a community.
"Some families are doing it tough. We go above and beyond to help people out financially to get on the field. We're able to do that from within our club and also with the help of other bodies.
"It's all about getting kids back on the field.''
The Bushrats were one of Ipswich's original soccer clubs formed in 1888 by coalminers in the Dinmore and New Chum area.
After the club folded and was reformed through the commitment of Morrison and his committee, the Bushrats are back at their spiritual home on Riverview Road.
"I've been working on this for about 12 years,'' Morrison said.
"There's been a lot of brick walls along the way.''
Those hurdles included finding a suitable field.
However, Morrison said the past three-five years had been a turning point after the incorporated club negotiated its return to Riverview and got the club re-established.
Among those assisting the Bendigo Bank lending officer on the executive committee have been secretary Kelly Lawrence, treasurer Daniel Thomas and vice-president Keenan Goring.
The Bushrats committee's commitment revitalising the club was honoured at the latest City of Ipswich Sports Awards. The club was named Sporting Organisation of the Year.
Appreciating the award, Morrison said it reflected the positive reaction from families supporting the club's revival.
He said the soccer club was heavily involved with other community groups like the Riverview Neighbourhood Watch, the Riverview Community Centre and Riverview Primary School.
"That's what is was all about when we formed this club,'' he said. "Giving something to the community down there because there isn't a sports club there for kids.''
The club president said a Return to Riverview Community Day last year was a huge success.
Morrison hopes to include an Old Boys tent next year, inviting people with ties to the club to bring along old memorabilia and photos.
Grants from the State and Federal governments, and through the Holden Home Ground Advantage, gave the Bushrats a welcome kickstart in securing jerseys and equipment.
While looking to expand junior numbers and introduce senior teams into the QCSA competition, Morrison said the club welcomed newcomers.
"Touching on the growth in the numbers . . . the majority of those kids are new to the sport,'' he said.
"We're not about pinching from other clubs. We're about developing the sport here in the area, which can only be good for the sport as a whole.
"They are having a go and that's all that we can ask.''
ALTHOUGH considered an "underdog'' in Ipswich's widespread football reach, Morrison was excited about the Dinmore Bushrats club's future.
"We've really been embraced by the community,'' he said.
"We're happy where we are going.
"We're actually hoping to expand to a senior men's and a senior ladies team.''
However, he said the underlying family focus remained intact.
"It's great to say that you want to get bigger but you also don't want to lose sight (of club goals) and personalise it,'' he said.
"I could tell you last year every child's name.
"It's all about growing the juniors because that's where your club starts.''