“Dolphins for you, we shout a loud hoorah!”
My name is Jon Williams and this is a story about the first team song written for the Redcliffe Rugby League Club.
I was born in 1954 and grew up in a home in Redcliffe where Rugby League was king. My father, Syd, and mother, Olive, were avid followers. Dad had gone to school with the legendary Harry Bath so that may have had some impact. Dad was the manager of the first BCC store on the peninsula and remained so for 40 years. In this capacity, Dad knew a lot of people and many of those were connected with the Dolphins.
4BH Rugby League radio broadcasts always held a prominent place in our home. Mum used to become very excited and was no friend of the referee if Redcliffe were playing. I can vividly recall George Lovejoy’s iconic sign off, “Rugby League football, the greatest game of all!”.
I have two lasting memories of those BRL days. The first is Redcliffe winning the Grand Final in 1965 with Artie Beetson and Kevin Yow Yeh starring in that match. Having been cellar dwellers for so long, it was a great thrill. Of course, as was the trend in those days, these players were soon snapped up by the cashed up NSWRL much to the disgust of the locals. Of course, true Redcliffe locals were rapturous in their admiration when Big Artie had such a huge impact on the early State of Origin matches.
The second is of a fixture match at Easter time in either 1973 or 1974. Redcliffe were playing Wests. John Ribot and Ritchie Twist were running rampant for Wests in those days. The match was played at Lang Park and I was in attendance in the glorious outer. Although not given much chance, Recliffe thumped Wests that day and, to add icing to the cake, were even awarded a penalty try. What a match. The Redcliffe supporters in the crowd were delirious and when I got home that afternoon, Mum and Dad were in shock.
I started playing Rugby League whilst in Grade 4 at Scarborough State School on the Peninsula. I continued playing through the remainder of primary school. In those days, all Mum and Dad could afford was a pair of old leather soled army boots with metal tags screwed on. Getting “tagged” in those days could be very unpleasant.
The hated team in those days was De La Salle College. I cannot remember ever beating them but I do recall playing them once on their oval off Sunnyside Road in torrential rain. All the players were so wet and mud covered that the teams were indistinguishable and the game was unfortunately abandoned whilst we were in the lead.
Occasionally I was able to go and watch Redcliffe play at the Redcliffe Showgrounds which served as their home ground. There were few facilities and only a rickety old wooden grandstand. The field was inside the speedway track and had a definite slope. After playing there many times during my high school years, I quickly learned that there was definitely an advantage running towards the north.
Often, the NSW team would train there on the Tuesday afternoon prior to the interstate match. I attended Redcliffe State High, the ovals of which border the showgrounds, and there were several times when I wagged school to watch those cockroaches train. It never ceased to amaze me just how apparently little interest and effort players such as Graham Langlands used to put into those sessions.
Whilst at Redcliffe High, I continued to enthusiastically play Rugby League for our school. It was around this time, I believe, that Redcliffe became the Dolphins. Early in 1971, radio station 4BH launched a competition for club songs. The conditions were that the words had to be to an existing tune and the competition winners had to agree to relinquish all rights to their song. I was not very studious in those days and many a night was spent tinkering with the song rather than completing homework. The song goes to the tune of “Click go the shears” and this is because I heard it and sang it so much during my time at Scarborough State School. Also, many of my school rooms had that old government provided print showing a shearing shed.
So, after submitting my entry and not having told anyone, I was at home one morning during a school holiday period when I just happened to hear 4BH playing the winning entries. I could not believe it when I heard my song, albeit slightly modified, played. In a state of disbelief, I phoned 4BH whereupon all was confirmed. Mum and Dad were out at the time and did not believe me when I greeted them with the news when they arrived home. I suspect they still had their doubts until a nice little transistor radio with confirmation letter arrived at our house from 4BH.
Many of my school friends did not believe me either until I was able to produce that letter.
Recently, I attended a Teachers’ Credit Union function in Toowoomba. The well known poet, Rupert McCall, was the main act and happened to mention his interest in the Redcliffe Dolphins. When I informed him later that I written their club song, he was able to recite it perfectly which amazed me no end.
So, that is how it came to be.
(To the music of “Click go the shears”.)
Dolphins for you, we shout a loud hoorah,
Fighting fit on the Pen-nin-sular.
Fixed is your gaze on the B R L Cup,
Nothing’s going to stop you climbing right to the top!
So pass the ball around boys, pass, pass, pass.
The lines over there show them you’ve got class.
The crowd sees a blur as the winger races away,
Another Redcliffe victory as Dolphins win the day!
Out on the field, we Dolphins are king,
Nothing’s going to stop us, not a single thing.
The ref looks around to see we’re in once more,
And three more points pile up to swell the Redcliffe score!
Rugby League’s the greatest game even though it’s rough,
But Redcliffe will still stand when the others have had enough.
The hearty roar that welcomes them into the game,
Heralds a Dolphin victory to add to their fame!
Chorus with last line repeated.