has been added.
Duncan Taylor became president in 1961 and in his first annual report stated:
We have an overall membership total of 512 of which 193 are junior boys players. Although the bulk of our members are drawn from Northcote and Birkenhead, we have members scattered all over the Auckland province. We even had two in the South Island - Wally Birdsall at Takaka near Nelson and Roy Wilson at Oamaru.
During 1961 the club's most celebrated player, 'Snow' White, made his 200th first-class appearance, being a regular in the front row of Fred Allen's crack Ranfurly Shield-holding Auckland team. Appropriate presentations were made by the Auckland and Wellington unions while the club also made a presentation to Mrs "White. Harold Muller presented 'Snow' with a handsome silver cup that 'Snow' in turn handed over to the club.
Three major events helped swell the building fund: a function at Bayswater, a large raffle and a bonfire carnival on Stafford Park - after which it was possible to call tenders for the alterations. Two other carnivals were organised for Stafford Park by Keith Weber. Many will remember the work put in by the club's electricians, Jim Wheeler, Norm Macleod and Harvey Wright. Their efforts may not have passed inspection but they kept the shows going!
Women's indoor bowls became a popular Wednesday night activity and at the end of the 1961 season the women enjoyed a successful weekend excursion to Rotorua.
In 1962, the 11th grade team won the coveted Bert Palmer Trophy, the third time this much valued prize had come to the club, Northcote having claimed it in 1945 and 1948.
By the end of 1963 renovations of the training shed and social area had been completed at a cost of around £16,000 which left the club with a mortgage at the Auckland Savings Bank of $9,200.
The last of the Tin Shed and training tan had disappeared, being replaced by a spanking new wooden floor.
Duncan Taylor resigned, as both president and ARU delegate, at the conclusion of the 1964 season. He had been Northcote's delegate to the union since 1947. Greg Perrett was elected president in 1964 with Steve Carey taking over as the delegate to the ARU, having served as delegate to the junior boys board for some years. Unfortunately, his term as senior delegate was cut short by ill health and he was replaced during the season by 'Snow' White.
Terry Solomon's dad used to coach the senior team in the mid 1950s.
When Terry was about 11 or 12 he became an excellent line umpire, being a dedicated student of the game.
One Saturday at Stafford Park, Terry was the Northcote line umpire when John Pring (who would control all four tests in the 1971 British Lions series) was refereeing.
Terry deemed a player had stepped into touch around the 22-metre line and stood with his flag raised while play continued unchecked for almost a full minute.
Finally, when a stoppage occurred, about 60 metres away, the crowd drew Mr Pring's attention to his diligent touch judge at the other end of the field.
Mr Pring ran back and spoke to Terry but, in his wisdom, decided to ignore his young linesman's report.
Terry threw his flag into the middle of the field and walked away in disgust as the referee restarted play!
The club's expertise in running quick raffles was extended to Northcote College and Northcote Primary School where teams from the club assisted with their fundraising. It was not uncommon for the club to raise as much as £2,000 in one afternoon session at Northcote College.
Northcote Senior Citizens formed an association in 1965 and used the club's premises for their inaugural meeting. At the instigation of Maurice Batty, three members of the club, Duncan Taylor, Doug Herrick and Don Arblaster, were appointed to the steering committee.
It was in 1965 that the huge Christmas stocking raffle was introduced under the guidance of Bruce Blackett and Bill Henson.
Elsie Newman was elected to the management committee, creating history as the first woman to claim an administrative position in the club. Adrienne Rodgers replaced her in 1966 and in 1977 Mrs J. Henderson became the assistant secretary.
Along with Bob Brown's widow, Northcote's first life member and Mrs Florence Robertson who was elected a life member in 1976, these are the only women to take office.
This does not mean the club has not been well served by lady members down the years. They have worked tirelessly at social events, at junior boys bun fights, in laundering gear and generally in supporting their menfolk.
Frank Fielder was elected president in 1966, in which year the club was allocated a $4,000 loan at 1 per cent interest from the Auckland Rugby Union. This enabled the higher interest bearing loan from the ASB to be reduced by the same amount. The committee was represented on the Birkenhead War Memorial Appeal and donated 25 per cent of the net profit from the quick raffle at the Twelfth Night carnival to this cause. A scheme to build a huge circular building with gymnasium facilities was promoted but finally lapsed for want of support.
The Northcote senior team of 1966 wasn't famous for its on field achievements, but one of its members would become famous - Ian Frykberg, who, as one of Rupert Murdoch's right hand men, helped negotiate the $US550 million Sanzar deal in 1995.
Alan Martin, a seriously overweight, simple fellow, used to run the diesel-fired boiler and lived at the club when it was little more than a tin shed. He was forever having boiler trouble.
Frequently there would be a bang and Alan would appear, literally blown out of the boiler room, all soot and singed eyebrows. He would be wearing a greasy singlet with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
'Bloody Jim Pope.' he would invariably say, 'it's time he fixed the plumbing in this place properly.'
Jim Pope, plumber, was a popular club member, but the catch phrase was always, 'Jim Pope'II fix it.' Problem was, no one knew whether that would be today, tomorrow or never. Jim was a champion 'gunna' man if ever there was one, but a terrific bloke all the same.
In the same year 'Snow' White coached the Northcote College first XV with excellent results. The following year, 1967, 'Snow' presented a cup, known as the Steve Carey Memorial
Cup, which was to be awarded annually to the player achieving the highest number of points in that season.
In fielding 22 teams in 1967, the club achieved its greatest playing strength to date. A 20-year drought was broken when the 11th grade side, coached by Glyn Parry and captained by M. Williams, won the championship. However, that didn't compensate for the failure of the senior team which was relegated after 20 years in the premier division.
Northcote's membership continued to swell and in 1968 a mighty 30 teams were fielded, five in grade competitions plus 25 junior boys teams. This remarkable growth had taken place in eight seasons since the opening of the Harbour Bridge and through the splendid work and organisation of the junior boys sub-committee.
During 1968 the club undertook to sponsor an application for affiliation from the proposed Glenfield club. Up to this time, Northcote's junior boys teams had been drawn in part from the Glenfield area which now boasted a population of 20,000.
The provision of playing gear to all teams was a continual burden and the committee expressed doubt as to whether it could adequately service the additional requirements.
In the 1960s, Doug Herrick was secretary of the club. He was a very dapper gentleman, always immaculately attired, complete with hat and umbrella - very much in the David Niven mold. He used to arrive at the Trough around 5 p.m. every night and was always the butt of jokes. To all the stirrers, especially Duncan Taylor, Doug used to say, 'I will put that in my book, "Bastards I have met"'. If only that book was available for this publication. Unfortunately, we doubt it was ever published.
At a public meeting on 10 December 1968 the decision was taken to form the Glenfield club. Northcote was represented at the meeting and offered all possible assistance. As a consequence of the new club being formed, Northcote lost two strong junior boys teams and some coaches, although the formation of an extra grade team the following year compensated for this.
Three events stand out from the 1969 season. The most significant of these was the decision to explore the possibilities of developing land fronting Birkenhead Avenue. This property was originally owned by a long-standing club supporter and former vice patron, John Court (of John Court department store fame in Auckland's Queen Street). It was then administered by the Birkenhead Borough Council as reserve land before the North Shore City Council took it over at the time of the North Shore council amalgamations. In 1974, these negotiations would bear fruit and a lease would be signed.
The second notable event of '69 was when the club combined with Northcote and Birkenhead Ramblers League Club to stage an annual ball at Trillos, Westhaven. It was a notable first and won coverage on the radio news that evening.
Thirdly, Northcote created history by becoming the first rugby club to travel outside New Zealand, making a trip to Sydney to be hosted by Western Suburbs. The association with Western Suburbs had begun in 1967 when they toured New Zealand. This tour paved the way for more ambitious over seas ventures in the 1970s. It also brought a flow of Aussies to the club, most of whom were characters. Some worked for the local Colonial Sugar Company at Chelsea.