Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation Started From Something Small That Has Grown Into Something Big!
The Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation started with something small that has grown into a federation that offers low cost pigeon racing & with good prize rewards. If it wasn’t for the vision, work effort & the pure love of our sport, many wouldn’t be able to race pigeons for an affordable cost if not for two people,” Noel Fleming & his partner Tina Dark”
The GMPF have now recognised the members who by their thankless work many years passed, have forged our federation to a level that all are proud & strive to be successful in. In past years the level of competitors is second to none. Our federation have many who have won many feds, federation aggregates with other feds in Melbourne, who are now members of the GMPF.
GMPF gained a former VHA club in 2014, Rosebud who now can compete in federation races for the first time in their long history. Again the GMPF being proactive, have recognized that with many pigeon flyers moving further out, the boundary of the federation has to move with the times. Rule changes allowing new flying membership to join after the racing season has started to those with in the 60 k boundary .
The GMPF is expected to pass the 120 plus members by next season with even cheaper costs can be achieved!
This year our membership has grown from last year, with fund raising, good accounting practices the cost of transporting each pigeon from race one to the 600 mile race cost the member less than 35 cents per bird. Our up front transport cost has been reduced to $400 ,this covers 40 birds a race for each of the six first races & 30 birds a race to the balance of the race program including the 600 mile race.
In keeping with the vision of our founding members, GMPF strives to offer affordable pigeon racing , it’s with this thought in our mind I am pleased that Noel Fleming has given me the following history so that that many will now have the knowledge of the GMPF history.
GMPF History: by N Fleming
The Heidelberg Club was formed in 1966 as a junior club as many of us then juniors couldn’t afford to compete in the local Ivanhoe (VHA) club. Most of us then had paper rounds to pay for our pigeons. The birds were transported by rail to the racepoints. In the early to mid ‘70’s a number of people in the Dandenong area showed an interest in flying with the Heidelberg Club, most of them were juniors. With the assistance of Ray Caple we formed the Dandenong Homing Club and held combine events known then as the Heidelberg Combine.
Some of the early names in the Dandenong Club that I can recall are:
Ray Caple (at the time the main instigator of the Dandenong Homing Club), Peter Hawke (Secretary), Les Boyds, Peter McFarland, Joan Mathews, Denis Robins, Syd Turton, Robert Roden, Marlene Hunn, Peter Potter, Laurie Sheppard, Albert Dierickx, Rodney Cook, Phil Favoloro, Lou Webster, Robert Scott.
I am sure I have forgotten some from those years.
Ray Caple pretty much ran the show from his garage until he lost support of the general membership and nearly all the members formed a new Dandenong Racing Pigeon Club, but it was basically the same people, with one notable exception!
Syd Turton took over the finances of the club and was a very capable treasurer. Basketing also was done at his home garage in the early days. His daughter, Joan Mathews together with her son Craig also competed and flew quite a good pigeon. Robert Roden won a Combine in his first year. Marlene Hunn was quite a character and provided a form of entertainment as well. Laurie Sheppard was best man at my wedding. Albert Derickx was a lovely man. The reverend Phil Favoloro had his own church and religion, and pretty much had to be seen to be believed.
Laurie Sheppard represented the Dandenong Racing pigeon Club on the Combine Executive for a number of years and played a significant role in Combine affairs, working closely with myself. Boronia Invitation was the third club to join the Combine and boasted members such as the late Jimmy Muir. (an ace flyer)
Then to join was the Ferntree Gully Club with the likes of Alan Saxon and Kevin Twycross. The Victorian Eastern Pigeon Federation (VEPF) was beginning to disintegrate and in its final year transported with the Heidelberg Combine. The Croydon Club decided to leave the VEPF and join the Heidelberg Combine. The VEPF then fell apart as Croydon was its’ main club. Croydon had members such as John McBrinn and the brothers Alex and Ralph Jones; Ralph who is still with Croydon, albeit not in the best of health these days. As the Combine now covered a significant part of Melbourne’s Eastern and Northern suburbs it was generally felt a change of name from the Heidelberg Combine might be appropriate to represent a wider area. I think it might have been proposed that the name Melbourne Pigeon Federation was adopted. At a subsequent AGM the Heidelberg Combine changed its’ name to the Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation. All done in Sid Turton lounge room in a tiny house in Dandenong west.
The Organization’s Constitution, Rules and Regulations were all then amended to incorporate the name Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation as a name change from the Heidelberg Racing Pigeon Combine with a clause to protect the interests of its original founding clubs, Heidelberg and Dandenong. Sherbrooke (Dave Jackson, Keith Suidgeest) also affiliated later to be followed by Pakenham (Jos Van Hout,John Ellis), Wonthaggi(Rod Churchill,John Evison), Frankston(Rob Bonner, Richard Crossing) , Mornington (Rob Ciantor), Yarra Junction (John O’Regan), North West (Don Cole,Wally Cameron) and the PSG (Pigeon Social group –Glenroy – Jack Stubbs). In more recent times Springvale Club affiliated for a period of time and then Morning Mist.
At the height of its membership just before the Heidelberg Centre left, there were 177 competing members. It incorporated an In-Boundary and Out of Boundary Federation result. The Federation also transported Gippsland Pigeon Federation to racepoints. One person that deserves particular recognition for his services to the GMPF is Steve Cameron (Dandenong Club). As the Transport Officer he was responsible for the designing and construction of a state of art transporter that at the time was second to none. He was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of both the transport units and did an exemplary job involving numerous hours of unpaid hard work. He also served for a time as Federation Clock Chairman and in my opinion was the best the Federation has ever had as he implemented the rules by the book with favour to no one. His Life Membership was well deserved.
The Greater Melbourne was also groundbreaking in many aspects of the sport. For example, clock setting on basketing night instead of coming back on Friday nights. Clock presentation an hour and half after clocking in races to 350 miles instead of 8.00pm race day. Friday night basketing to 300 miles (the returns spoke for themselves). There are many other examples.
The Federation endeavoured to keep overhead costs at a minimum. Hence no Federation Headquarters, its only significant assets were the transport units. Keeping transport costs to a minimum was always a priority; the six club races at the beginning of the season subsidized the remaining races significantly. Low entry fees encouraged the battler to join Greater Melbourne where racing was more affordable. On behalf of the GMPF we thank N Fleming & Tina Dark with a nomination race name after then to recognize the effort in all those early years.
(3) HEIDELBERG CLUB: The original Heidelberg Club still exists. It has 10 competing members, 7 of which flew in the Heidelberg Club in Greater Melbourne. Les & Brett Caracella , Shane & John Peels , Graham Morrison , Tim & John Stevens , Tina Dark , Noel Fleming , Peter Baldwin .