Vale Billy "Jazza" Ryan (1918-2007)

Billy was a GDHC stalwart of the 30's, 40's and 50's, who died on Sunday 15 July 2007. The Hockey Club extends its sympathy to Bill's family. Bill was born in Glebe and retired to South West Rocks on the NSW mid north coast, where he lived for many years.

The Ryan family were prominent in the Club during the early years of the Hockey Club. They lived 150 metres from Jubilee Oval Glebe at 50 Toxteth Road, Glebe. Bill's father, William Ryan senior was an Irishman who played hurling for County Cork. Bill's mother hailed from Polar Creek a small town just outside Kempsey. The Ryan boys, William jnr, (1918-2007), Kevin (1920- ) and Leo (1922- ), were intimately involved with the Club for over 20 years. They were all educated at St James School Forest Lodge at the time Brother Macartan Keegan, founder of the Glebe District Hockey Club, taught at the school.

1943Premiership Winning Team

Bill played 320 games for Glebe from 1935 to 1955, captained the NSW under 21 Team in 1939 and played for the NSW Senior Team in 1946 and 1947. He was an outstanding right- and centre-half, who played in 10 First Grade Premiership winning teams for Glebe. The Glebe First Grade team of Bill's era was an outstanding outfit, and Bill was its captain for many seasons.

Bill Stubbs, Glebe District Hockey Club Life Member and ex Club President (1967-1971) recalls that Bill Ryan left the Club during the 1955 season and moved with his family to live in Orange, a city in central western NSW. Bill Ryan played hockey at Orange until the early 1960s, and represented Orange at NSW State Hockey Championships, for some years. Orange at that time played in the lower divisions of the NSW State Hockey Championships.

Bill Ryan's place at first grade centre-half for Glebe during the 1955 season was taken by Victor Westacott, an ex Club junior. Victor (1950-1992) went on to play 629 games for Glebe. The phasing out of Bill and the phasing in of Victor must have gone well, as Glebe won the 1955 first grade premiership.

During Bill's era, on a fine Saturday afternoon at Jubilee Oval Glebe, close to 200 people would turn up to support the local lads. The team spirit of the Glebe teams was inspiring and attracted many local residents, as well as parents, friends, relatives, neighbours and retired players. Glebe was noted from the earliest days for their team spirit, determination and fierce will to win.

On the administrative side Bill, supported by his wife Joan, nee Cruise, was Club Secretary from 1943 to 1945 and again in 1954, and Club Captain in 1948 and 1949. He was a Life Member of the Club. He was an assistant fitter who worked for the Australian Gas Light Company and then TAFE for 19 years. Bill's brother Kevin was a handyman/kitchen cabinet installer who played 162 games for the Club from 1938 to 1953. His hockey career, like that of his brother Leo, was interrupted by war service. Leo worked for Ampol for almost all his working life and played 165 games for the Club between 1938 and 1952.

Bill, Kevin and Leo all played together in the 1946 Glebe First Grade team which finished runner-up in the competition. Having three brothers play in the same first grade team is an unusual occurrence; but the Mockler brothers Ted, George and Frank performed a similar feat in the early 30's.

In several matches in the late 40's, the Glebe first grade team ran on with four sets of brothers - Bill and Jack Taylor, Harry and Ken Wark, Fred and Bob Needham and Bill and Kevin Ryan.

It was not until 2005 that four sets of brothers again played together in a Glebe First Grade team. Glebe's 2005 First Grade premiership winning team included four sets of brothers - Shane and Aaron Nilan, Darren and Brendan Booth, Peter and Matthew Wark and Patrick and Michael Wark.

Bill Ryan was a great contributor to Club affairs in its early years and passed on to following generations a flourishing organisation, with a rich and proud tradition.

From all of us at the Glebe District Hockey Club, thank-you Bill. Enjoy your Eternal Reward.

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