Daphne Pirie calls it ‘the best kept secret on the Gold Coast’.
That’s unfortunate because the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame deserves to be part of a much brighter spotlight on the city’s sports landscape.
Daph is the Hall’s chairperson, a position she has held since it’s creation in 1999. She is also the Gold Coast’s sporting matriarch, a former international hockey player and a key sports decision-maker for the city across almost six decades.
“The Hall certainly deserves a higher profile,” she says. “It is a great facility, the first dedicated sports museum in Queensland and it houses hundreds of fascinating pieces of sporting memorabilia.
“It is open to the public, in Owen Park, Southport, and we get some traffic through, but certainly not as much as we should. But it all comes down to cost and we really do run on a shoestring.”
One of the Hall’s key roles is to annually judge the Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year awards. The awards have been in place since 1968 and this year’s was the 50th anniversary.
Over the past two years the Hall of Fame and Sports Gold Coast have combined to host the awards as a gala black-tie dinner – this year at the Southport Sharks Events Centre.
“The emergence of Sports Gold Coast and their assistance with the awards has been heaven-sent,” says Pirie.
“These awards deserve to be the gala event they now are. This city has such a rich sporting history and sport plays such a crucial role in who we are right now.
“We are also a very successful sporting city. At recent Commonwealth and Olympic Games the medals won by athletes from this city would have placed us highly compared with other nations. And the depth of sport here is incredible. There are few sports that are not played here.”
Pirie said the quality of the finalists of the premier award – the Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year – continued to astound her.
“Almost every finalist is a world champion. Those that aren’t are the best in a category that is Australian-based,” she says.
“To win this award you must be the best. Just have a look through the 50 winners – names like Mick Doohan, Grant Hackett, Trevor Hendy, Steph Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Adam Scott. These are giants of sport.”
The Hall of Fame also focuses on those athletes who have been inducted into its pages. At these latest awards 2006 Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year and triathlon superstar Emma Snowsill was inducted. She joins 44 other inductees of the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame.
Pirie said the awards night also placed a much-needed emphasis on the Hall.
“We are happy to quietly go about doing what we do,” she said. “But I also think it is important for the Gold Coast to know they have a strong sporting heart and they also should know where they can come to celebrate, explore and acknowledge our city’s sporting culture.
“The Sporting Hall of Fame is a beautiful old Queenslander. Certainly worth a visit.”
Want to know more about the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame? Go to: www.goldcoastsport.com.au