Development of homes in the suburb of Bonnet Bay commenced in 1966. And, it was around 1985 that the last sub-divisions were sold. With most residents being first home owners with young children it was only a matter of time before the sporting teams would begin to form.
Nothing gets started without the efforts of pioneers. The Bonnet Bay Sport and Recreation Club was formed in June 1981 with the first meeting having been convened by Greg Ford who was appointed the first President. A number of interested members of the Bonnet Bay community attended this inaugural meeting to determine the directions the club should take. This organisation spawned Cricket, Baseball, Netball and Soccer Clubs all sporting the unique lime and blue colours. All these clubs have developed their own histories. Documents from these early meetings are at www.bonnetbayfc.com.
The first committee of Bonnet Bay Soccer Club as it was originally known was:
President: Bill De La Garde
Secretary: Gary Williams
Treasurer: Wally Cooper
Registrar: Brian Butler
Being such a small club Bonnet Bay really suffered for lack of resources in those early days. There were less volunteers, less supporters and less money to do all the things that many take for granted today. The early committees had to take on many of the tasks themselves with a small band of helpers. They had to persevere in difficult circumstances and there can be no doubt that those efforts contributed enormously to setting the foundations for where the club finds itself today.
In the early years there were no facilities except for a canteen run from a tent which was later replaced by a caravan. There were no toilets at the field before the clubhouse was constructed.
For many years Bonnet Bay Soccer Club lived in the shadow of many more established clubs. In truth the club probably took a while to establish its true identity as it came to terms with itself. This is a natural occurrence for any new organisation that needs to strive simply to establish itself before it can start to look longer term.
There was a golden period on the field from 1989 to 1993 where the club excelled, but it then began to stagger coming close to collapse on one or two occasions. However there were always people dedicated to seeing the club continue.
Volunteer numbers steadily grew following the first Over 35s team in 1996 and by 2011 there were many juniors starting to play an active role in the club as they matured.
Over 35s the Catalyst for Change
Many longer term members cite the establishment of the first Over 35s side in 1996 as a watershed for the club as over the next few years many of these players became more actively involved in the operation of the club in varying capacities. For the first time there were more helpers and the club had a Sunday presence. The Over 35s also provided a focus of regular social events with every match day finishing with a family barbecue.
The advent of women’s soccer and the natural ageing of our male players has also seen the club become very representative of the general community. Today Bonnet Bay is a true community club with male and female players aged from 6 to 60.
Over the years the social activity initiated by the over 35s has spread throughout the club and has been greatly enhanced in more recent times by the establishment of a “mature age” women’s side which has taken these traditions to a new level by greater female participation. It is significant now that some of our younger players are starting to become involved in the future direction of their club. Moreover there is a core membership representing all generations within the club that has a strong commitment to further building upon the work of the past.
Growth & Strength (2003 – 2011)
2003 to 2011 saw the club grow in stature and in player numbers. The larger player numbers created a more robust financial basis and with momentum now behind the operations the club’s future was bright.
A feature was the number of people prepared to get actively involved in the helping out in various roles because they valued what the club stands for.
In 2011 the club registered over 600 players in 46 teams making it the 12th largest of the association’s 25 clubs. 30 years ago we were the smallest. BBFC fielded sides in the highest grades for men and women open and under 21s. There was now a clear path for our juniors to follow. The task as always was to increase junior numbers.
Junior sides from roo-ball to Under 21s have traditionally played of a Saturday. Until 1995 all of Bonnet Bay’s soccer was played on a Saturday, with the exception of a lone All Age side which played at Lakewood every second Sunday. Bonnet Bay fielded its first Under 21s team in 1991 and since then has maintained a reasonably full roster of junior men’s Saturday teams. This part of the club had plateaued until 2006 when we began to see increased numbers in 18s and 21s in each age group.
Significantly the club has fielded a 21A team for 6 of the 8 seasons from 2004 to 2011 seasons, a remarkable result when one considers there are 24 clubs vying for just 10 positions each season.
In 2011 junior womens teams to under 15s started playing on Saturdays also due to pressure on fields right across the Sutherland shire.
It is plain to see that the club’s growth has been in its Sunday teams. Sunday is the domain of All Age, Over 35s and the womens soccer juggeranaut.
Where in 1995 the Sunday roster had a solitary all age game scheduled every second Sunday, in 2011 BBFC was home to 7 all age mens, 3 over 35s, an Over 45s, 4 all age womens, 8 junior womens teams and 2 Over 30s womens teams. By 2011 the club had outgrown Lakewood then Prince Edward Park as well as Sunday numbers grew.
In 2011 BBFC played its first night matches at Lakewood which alleviated the congestion on the Sunday program.