Jack was a great pro-running person who also coached a few finalists and later became a commentator on the TV coverage in the 1980’s. Jack was still attending pro-running meets at Ballarat, Keilor & Stawell until a few years ago.
Jack’s daughter Sue won two Stawell Women’s 100m events.
Jack was a local schoolboy champion sprinter in Bacchus Marsh in 1947. He dreamed of winning the Stawell Gift but suffered a major setback when he slipped a spinal disc while playing for Darley in the Bacchus Marsh District Football League. He underwent a major operation and at one stage it was doubtful he would ever participate in sport again.
Jack was determined to get back to full fitness and eventually got back to competing again despite still suffering from pain from the back operations. After running in the semis of the 100m Park Handicap in 1956, the Cummings Brothers – Dick and Jack, set Jack for the 1957 Stawell Gift. The Cummings brothers trained at Royal Park and were co-coaches of 1953 Stawell Gift winner Roy Hart.
He moved from Bacchus Marsh to Moonee Ponds, but after suffering an illness he soon moved to Mordialloc where he was trained on the Caulfield racecourse.
At Stawell the Cummings brothers organised Jack to be ‘minded’ by Roy Hart and three-time Stawell Gift finalist Roy Northeast.
Carr was not the favourite for the 1957 Stawell Gift. After the heats a Yellingbo farmer Robin McQuie had run 11.6secs in the first heat to be installed favourite. Carr beat McQuie in the fifth semi in 11.9secs. Earlier Don Currie had won the fourth semi in 11.9sec to start 4/5 favourite for the final.
Carr said “They got in front of me at the 100 and I said to myself, ‘Thi is it!’ and let fly.”
After he won, Carr paid tribute to his stable. “Without the boys, particularly Roy Hart on the ground, I would not have won.”
Jack won the 1957 Stawell Gift off 10 1/2yds in 11.8secs beating Currie (12yds) by 1 foot
As a coach Jack Carr trained Stawell Gift placegetters, Ray Yeoman (runner-up 1959), Graeme McQualter (third in 1971) and Paul McNamara (third in 1972).
He also assisted his nephew Dean Carr who was extremely unlucky not to make the 1982 final. In a rather famous heat, Mick Giulieri who ultimately ran 2nd to Chris Perry, beat Carr and Noel McMahon by only a few centimetres in the slick time off 11.9. In those days heat winners only advanced to the semis.
Jack was a great friend to Jim Bradley and with another terrific pro-running man in Pat O’Kane (who recently turned 90) , they worked tirelessly behind the scenes in 1995 to ensure Glenn Crawford was rightfully reinstated into the Stawell Gift semis after being controversially disqualified.
I’ve got a lot of wonderful memories involving Jack Carr including training with him a few times in Bendigo in the mid 1980’s.
But I remember Burramine ( I think it was 1993) when Jack, Pat O’Kane, Jim Bradly and myself were having a meal in the Mulwala RSL. Jack had his eye on an athlete for Jim to coach and Jack thought he was Stawell Gift material. He wouldn’t tell us his name and only said that he had been a handy amateur sprinter. The only other hint he gave was that his initials were ‘MB’. I left the table racking brain trying to think of a ‘handy’ sprinter with the initials MB and could only think of Michael Benoit. I wasn’t sure if it was Benoit because he was Ballarat based so I went through all the Victorian athletic results and finally came up with an athlete who had been under the radar with only a few modest starts in the pro’s. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was the athlete in question but my hunch was confirmed when a few months later I found out Jim had a new athlete training in his garage – Michael Bourke.
John Raymond Carr - A wonderful man who made a terrific contribution to the sport over several decades.
Funeral Arrangements for the late Jack Carr are as follows:
Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Mr John Raymond (Jack) Carr will be offered at St Bernard's Church, Lerderderg St, Bacchus Marsh on FRIDAY (May 27, 2016) at 1.30 p. m. At the conclusion of Mass, the Funeral will leave the Churc h for the Maddingley Lawn Cemetery, Bacchus Marsh. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the burial at St Bernard's Church Parish Centre. All welcome.