Club 34 keeps Portland’s tradition alive
TALES of Portland’s grand past were nostalgically shared on the weekend as Club 34 held its 33rd annual reunion.
The social group, which meets up every year to observe anniversary of Portland’s white settlement, saw more than 50 original members meet up for a weekend of fun, laughs and reminiscing.
Event organisers Don Alexander and Elvie Douglass said the weekend was two days full of highlights.
“On Saturday we all took part in a mystery bus tour,” Mrs Douglass said.
“It was amazing; we visited the Gorae Cold Store and the Bay of Whales Art Gallery in Narrawong.
“Everyone really enjoyed the tour.”
Mrs Douglass said the group finished the day with dinner at Port of Call, followed by a church service at the Presbyterian Church and lunch at the Portland RSL Memorial Bowling Club on Sunday.
Mr Alexander said members keep coming back to Portland for one sentimental reason.
“People keep coming back because they’re nostalgic for the town.
“We enjoy meeting with old friends, whether they’re from school or just around town.
“They come from far and wide; all old Portland people.”
One person that keeps coming back is Clyde Laidlaw, a premiership player with the Portland and Melbourne football clubs.
Mr Laidlaw played for Melbourne during its age of greatness, winning four VFL premierships in 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1960 alongside greats Ron Barassi and (another Portlander) Stuart Spencer, and under the legendary coach Norm Smith.
“Club 34 is a celebration of Edward Henty’s arrival in Portland in 1834,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“Keith Wilson started the club (in 1984 for Portland’s 150th celebrations) for the decedents of anyone who was in Portland in 1934.
“My dad, George Laidlaw, actually came to Portland in 1934 to play with Portland (Football Club) in the Western District Football League after Dick Westlake invited him to play.”
Mr Laidlaw said he keeps coming back each year for the same reason.
“It’s great to be able to meet up with so many old names, like Don and Elvie, the list goes on.
“Even meeting up with their family members is special every year.”
In its peak, Club 34 once boasted 400 members; however, over time, the group has decreased to one-eighth its size.
Mrs Douglass said the group will warmly welcome new members who have a love for the city.
“Everyone has a story to tell,” Mrs Douglass said.
“There is so much history to remember.”
For more information on Club 34, call Mrs Douglass on 5523 2301 or Mr Alexander on 5521 1765.