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Cherbourg Boxers Were Champions

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Jeffrey Dynevor (Cherbourg), Adrian Blair (Cherbourg) and Eddie Barney (Kingaroy) represented Australia at the 1962 Empire (now Commonwealth) Games held in Perth (Photo: State Library of WA)

June 16, 2014

Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum will be opening a new exhibition during NAIDOC Week in the old Boys’ Dormitory building.

Play the Ball” is a photographic, multi-media and oral history exhibition that tells the story of sport in Cherbourg.

There’s a Rugby League Room, featuring a video loop and photos and artefacts from 100 years of the sport in Cherbourg, a Hall of Fame, a timeline which traces the sporting history of the town, a marching girls display, a boxing display, a community wall and sporting artefacts.

The launch of the exhibition on July 7 will be a key part of Cherbourg’s NAIDOC celebrations. The exhibition will be open to the public from July 8.

Ahead of the exhibition, local journalist Marcus Priaulx reflects on Cherbourg’s proud history in the boxing ring:

* * *

1957-58 Queensland boxing champions, from left, Arthur "Bullet" Bradley (lightweight), Eddie Barney (Under 7 stone) and Jeffrey Dynevor (flyweight)

by Marcus Priaulx*
Barambah PaCE

Cherbourg boxers ruled the nation when their sport was probably the most popular in the country during the 1960s.

Jimmy Edwards, Adrian Blair and Jeffrey Dynevor went to the Empire (Commonwealth) Games as Australian Champions in 1962 and Dynevor came home with gold.

Dynevor was the first Aborigine to win a gold medal in any sport at such a games, but former Australian professional champion Arthur “Bullet” Bradley says Edwards was actually the best boxer to come out of the town.

“He should’ve fought (world welterweight professional champion) Emile Griffith and was one of Australia’s best ever fighters,” Bullet said.

“But he wouldn’t train.  He was an absolute freak.”

(Bantamweight) Dynevor and (Lightweight) Blair were noted hard trainers and did so under the eye of Bobby Barkle who accompanied them as national coach to Perth, along with Kingaroy Aboriginal boxer Eddie Barney.

Blair also went to the 1964 Olympics where he won his first fight before losing to eventual Russian silver medallist, Velikton Barannikov.

Along with Dynevor he would travel to Kingaroy to train at the old council chambers behind the Carrollee Hotel.

It was a small gym with a ring in the middle and was always packed to capacity.

“The Cherbourg boys would drive along the old forestry road from Wondai to train and spar,” Bullet said.

Kingaroy businesses would sponsor their trips away as boxing “was the number 1 sport in those days”.

Cherbourg tournaments, held in the Kingaroy town hall, would always be full and men would “belt bondship into each other and have a drink afterwards”.

Murgon boxer Steve Simpson gets some advice in his corner from South Burnett boxing legend, former lightweight champion Arthur (Bullet) Bradley before a Kingaroy bout last year (Photo: Denise Keelan)

“There was a competitive spirit but terrific sportsmanship,” Bullet, who admittedly felt scared before facing a Cherbourg fighter, said.

“You could hardly hit them in the first round they were that quick,” he said.

“We really admired them and they were happy-go-lucky blokes; tough.”

To this day Bullet, who has seen thousands of fights, reckons the one of the best ever was between Jimmy Edwards and Adrian Blair.

“It was at Cherbourg,” he said.

“The crowd just erupted. It was awesome.

“Jimmy was quicker and too good but it was mayhem; action packed.

“You couldn’t hear the bloke beside you talk.”

* Marcus Priaulx knows his way around a boxing ring himself.  He represented Australia as a Bantamweight at the 1988 Seoul Olympics


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2 Responses to Cherbourg Boxers Were Champions

  1. Barry Krosch

    I clearly recall the three Cherbourg boxers and Arthur Bradley from the 50s and 60s in Kingaroy. The Olympia Picture Theatre was where Foodworks is now and the boxing took place next door, in the Town Hall. (That would be where several state government offices are now located.)

    I was a schoolboy boxer myself at that time and our trainer was Mr Doug Lang, who owned Lang’s Hardware Store. (That would be where Office Works is now in Haly Street.) Marcus’s father-in -law , Noel Liesegang was a handy boxer in those years, as was a younger Liesegang boy, Rodney. I recall fighting Rodney in the swimming pool complex which was then inside the Kingaroy State Primary School. Great events – three by three minute rounds and that was enough.

    On matters sporting/historical, your readers might wonder what was on that empty block next to Raine and Horne in Haly Street? The railway station masters used to live there. In about 1960, the station master was Mr Hagan. He had a son, Bob, who went on to join the Queensland Police Special Branch, but then played Rugby League for Australia. Until recent years, he held senior administrative positions in League Clubs around Sydney. There was a daughter Kerri in my class; she did well in life. Then there was Michael Hagan. Michael was also a very handy league player and is currently Assistant Manager of the Queensland Rugby League team.

    So when your readers see Michael sitting with big Mal in Sydney stadium on Wednesday night, they will now know the Hagans have close links with Kingaroy, and used to live right on that (now empty) block in Haly Street, Kingaroy.

    • Anon

      The Hagans didn’t live next door to Raine & Horne but at the back of the South Burnett Times office. You drove up that laneway and they lived to the right. Another house was on the left side, another Railway house.