THERE were some sad faces around the Melville Rams football club late last month as they buried one of their longest-serving and most dedicated members, but a chance encounter has also led to them reconnecting with the family of another life member who’s helped to shed some light on the Rams’ early years.
Barry de San Miguel earned a double-life membership at the Rams for his 50 years of service, which included running weekly bingo nights for an astonishing 47-year stint.
Fellow life member and friend Ross Monger, joked that while Mr de San Miguel was a “cheeky, mischievous, rough and tough sort of bloke” with a ready smile, he was so dedicated to raising much-needed funds for the club that he and his wife Thelma never holidayed further away than Mandurah during the bingo season.
“I reckon Barry rates as the best organiser, fundraiser, croupier, master of ceremonies and moderator the club has ever had,” Mr Monger said.
“At these early club functions, the old 18-gallon kegs were used for beer, and Barry was the expert at making sure the spear was not quite at the bottom, so there would always be a few jugs left in the keg for those who stayed behind to help clean up.”
Mr de San Miguel’s playing record was also prestigious, but his 60’s team mate Len Glamuzina confessed the exact number of games he played would be almost impossible to pin down because unregistered players were often included under his name if the amateur team was short on match day.
Mr de San Miguel is survived by his wife Thelma, daughter Julie and son Aaron.
While raising a glass to their old team mate at the Rams’ shared clubhouse at Melville Reserve recently, Messrs Monger and Glamuzina caught up with the son of former club champion, coach and president Jock Kernaghan who played from 1920 into the 1950s, including a famous 1949 premiership.
Barrie Kernaghan said the club, known as the Palmyra Football Club back then, had been his father’s life.
“Most of our games were held at Fremantle Park and players changed in a small shed slightly east of the bowling club,” Mr Kernaghan recalled.
“Dad used to put his tongue out when he tried hard in the ruck, playing as a ruck rover.
“On at least two occasions I can recall him being taken to Fremantle Hospital to have stitches in his tongue.
His fondest memories are around the rich social scene, and the gatherings at people’s houses were there was so much trust all the coats and purses were left on the hosts’ bed until the end of the night and the kids had to wait until the parents finished eating before tucking into the mountain of food the mums had prepared.
Mr Kernaghan said his dad wasn’t keen on giving away the weekly footy ritual even after more than 30 years of pulling on the jumper.
“It was when Palmyra were scheduled to play Swanbourne Amateurs in the late 50s, which my two elder brothers played for, that mum stated he was not to play against his own children, so he decided to retire.”
Mr Kernaghan said one of his great nephews continued the family traditionplaying most of his football with the Rams.
by STEVE GRANT