80 years ago -
In 1934 – 24yo Mulwala famer Tom Roberts, trained by Mick McCarthy, won the Stawell Gift. It was a quick year in 1934 due to the strong tail winds that prevailed on the Monday. The first four semi finals were all won with hand held times inside 12secs while the fifth was won by Roy Northeast in 12.0. Roberts ran 11 9/16s to win the final. (11.57s).
1 Tom Roberts 9 ¾yds Mulwala
2 H I Smith 10½yds Essendon
3 W R Kemp 10½yds North Fitzroy
4 Roy Barker 7¼yds Essendon
5 Roy Northeast 10½yds Terang
Time: 11 9/16s. Won by 1½ yds.
In 1956 - former Richmond footballer Bill Williams won the Stawell Gift. Williams is the last ‘official’ self-trained athlete to win Stawell. Many years later, Williams conceded that old Bat Curran helped him prepare for Stawell and was his ‘unofficial’ trainer. Williams literally had his house on the result. He hadn’t paid his house rates for two years and had borrowed money to back himself.
1 Bill Williams, 12yds Altona
2 Alan Goodlet 9 ¾yds Shepparton
3 D ‘Roy’ Findlay 8½yds Richmond
4 Ron Smith 9yds Port Fairy
5 Brian J McDonald 10 ¾ yds Essendon
Time: 11.8s Won by 6 inches
Source: Stawell Gift Almanac by Gary Watt.