Path of Sporting Champions

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Photo (L-R): Andrew Murtha (skating), Mayor Robert Furolo and Judy Playfair (swimming)
Edith Sayers -- Sporting Identity -- Cycling

Sports Plaque Program athletes

Local Sporting Identities Plaques Recognition Prog

Local Sporting Identities Plaques Recognition Program

Acknowledging our Athletes

Our Local Sporting Identities Plaques Recognition Program honours local athletes for their achievements. Sport is an important part of Australian culture - we're vocal in supporting our favourite teams, we find time to watch our favourite games on the television and we enjoy going along to watch live sporting events. And it's our athletes who make us so passionate about our sports - that's why we're acknowledging the hard work and achievements of our local athletes with our Local Sporting Identities Plaques Recognition Program.

Plaques have been installed at Mary Mackillop Reserve, Berna Street, Canterbury in recognition of our local sporting heroes - on display for everyone to see. We've enlisted the help of local residents to nominate athletes who should be acknowledged in this way and we now have 25 local athletes, from a broad range of sporting fields, honoured with individual plaques.

This initiative is important for our athletes who deserve to have their commitment, achievements and hard work acknowledged.

Plaques that were installed during 2006/07 are listed below

Click on each of the name titles to access an image of each of the plaques

Plaques that were installed during 2007/08 are listed below

»Click on each of the name titles to access an image of each of the plaques
Photo of Sporting Champion Liritis
Con Liristis born 1969 - Kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do

During the 1990s Con held amateur and professional titles in kickboxing for NSW, East Coast, Australia, South Pacific, Intercontinental and Commonwealth. He received a split decision in the world title in 2000. In Tae Kwon Do, Con held the NSW and Australian titles in 1984-86, and was the Australian Black belt Champion in 1986. In 2005 he was inducted into the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame. He lives in Roselands and runs a self defence academy.

Photo of Sporting Champion Makhlouf
Adel Makhlouf born 1958 - Volleyball

Adel was recruited to play for NSW by the coach of the NSW team who toured suburban teams looking for talent. He represented the NSW Under 20s in 1977-78, and in 1978 he represented NSW in both the Under 20s as well as the open competition. He represented NSW about 20 times from 1978-83 in the open competition. He represented Australia in 1980-81, and retired in 1984.

Photo of Sporting Champion Manning
Anne Manning born 1959 - Athletics (Race Walking)

Represented Australia at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, the Commonwealth Games at Victoria, Canada, in 1994, the World Race Walking Cup in 1993 and 1995 and the World Championships in 1995. Anne set a number of World and Australian Veterans records in 1995 and 1996 over courses from one to twenty kilometres. She lives in Earlwood.

Photo of Sporting Champion Northam
Jacqueline Northam born 1967 - Water Polo

Jacki represented Australia 1984-94, NSW 1984-97, and the NSW under 18s from 1981-86. She was a member of the Australian team that won gold at the FINA world cup in 1984 and the World Water Polo Championship in 1986. In all she competed in 150 official international games and major championships. She was assistant coach of the Australian women's team which won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Jacki grew up in Belfield.

Photo of Sporting Champion Rizzo
Blaise Rizzo born 1965 - Gymnastics

Blaise represented Australia at the world championships in Montreal in 1985 and Rotterdam in 1987, and at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in 1986 (when gymnastics was a demonstration sport only). He won two Australian championships for Mens Artistic Gymnastics in 1986 and 1988, and represented NSW twice in the 1980s. Blaise trained at the family run gymnastics centre in Belmore, where he coaches.

Photo of Sporting Champion Saviane
Anita Saviane born 1943 - Synchronised swimming and Masters Swimming

In 1961-63 Anita represented NSW at synchronized swimming, mainly in the duet and teams events. She represented Australia in 1964 when she travelled with the Australian team to New Zealand to demonstrate this new sport. In 1994 Anita started Masters swimming and has broken 8 national records, 37 state and 13 Australian games records. She won a gold medal at the 1998 World Masters swimming. She grew up in Canterbury and trained at Canterbury Pool.

Photo of Sporting Champion Stenhouse
Barry Stewart Stenhouse 1934-1999 Football (Rugby League)

Played for Canterbury (then the Berries) in 1952-54, 1956 & 1958, and played for NSW in 1953. He began playing for Belmore juniors and was chosen to play 1st grade for the Berries when he was only 16, but his mother wrote to the club and said he was too young. He stayed as a junior for another year and then went up to first grade the next year.

Awarded the Sun-Herald Best and Fairest Player in 1953, Barry was selected to play for NSW versus Queensland but missed the game due to injury in the trial game. He played in a representative match for NSW against Queensland that was cancelled after a fight between players, probably in 1953. Barry also played against a gridiron team that came out from the US.

His friend Alan Schwebel remembers that Barry was such a fast runner that none of his team-mates could catch him, and one time at training other players strapped his legs together as a joke. Barry was a brilliant all round sportsman, including playing A grade tennis.

He was selected for the Group 9 division of the Maher cup, which was the beginning of professionalism in rugby league. He earned 149 pounds, which was big time money in those days, but nothing compared to the earnings of top footballers today.

Because it was not professional, work was more important than sport in the 1950s, with players conscious of needing a career.

Barry grew up in Clemton Avenue Clemton Park and attended Clemton Park Primary School and Belmore Technical High School.

His career was interrupted by call-up for National Service and served with the Australian Army. After his release he returned to playing for the Berries but soon injured a hamstring as he was not fit.

Barry worked as a technician with the PMG. He left Sydney to work in the country. He coached Harden then Cootamundra and then was back in Sydney with the Berries. He was approached by St George to play for them, but was loyal to the Berries. He then left Sydney again for work and lived in Bowral, for whom he played for a year. But due to his injury his playing career was over by the time he was 23.

Photo of Sporting Champion Vasiliades
George Vasiliades (Vasil) Weightlifting. Born 1949

George has an impressive record of achievement as a weightlifter including

  • broke a junior world record in 1969 in the press 52k division
  • won gold for Australia at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in 1970
  • placed 6th at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972
  • won gold at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974 52 kg division
  • placed 4th at the 1970 World Championships in the 52 kg division
  • represented Australia at the 1975 World Championships in the 60k division

George was born in Cyprus, and in 1961 he migrated with his family to Australia. His first experience of weightlifting was at Belmore South Primary where he was taught by a teacher from Finland whose uncle was an Olympic weightlifter. At Kingsgrove North High one of the teachers was Gary Noake, who represented Australia in hurdles at the 1964 Olympic Games. He encouraged George to take up weightlifting.

George started training at Belmore Police Boys Club, now Belmore Police Citizens Youth Club, or PCYC, when he was 14. Bruce Walsh was his trainer, who later had a gym in Burwood which was the best in Sydney for weightlifting, and he was instrumental in building up weightlifting as a sport in NSW. Belmore PBC had a bar used at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, and this was their only weightlifting equipment, but within a few years the club had an Olympic standard weight lifting gym.

Linn Jones from Wales had been an Olympic weightlifter, and he lived in Belmore and coached at the Belmore PBC. He later became the head coach of weightlifting at the Institute of Sport, and later still he was a top coach in the US. By the 1970s and 1980s the club was strong in coaching judo, boxing and weightlifting to Olympic level.

In 1972 when George was placed 6th in the Olympic Games, the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th placegetters were from communist countries, and the 2nd was from Iran (where weightlifting was sponsored by the Shah). These placegetters were all professional athletes, whereas in Australia our weightlifters were part-time amateurs. When he returned to Australia George was interviewed by a newspaper and was critical of the lack of government funding for sport, this being before the Australian the Institute of Sport was established.

George's children - 4 champion weightlifters

  • Costas Australian champion 2002 and 2003 [Constantine]
  • Maria (now Papacosta) Australian champion in 1998 and 1999. 48k division, and in the 42k division she lifted 62k. Maria represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
  • Anthony NSW champion in 1997-1999.
  • William NSW champion.
Photo of Sporting Champion Katholos
Peter Katholos born 1961 - Football (Soccer)

Peter represented Australia in soccer for 1981-86, making 22 international appearances. He was awarded the 1982 National Soccer League Australian player of the year award. He played over 550 first grade games in a 20 year career, scoring 97 goals. Peter played for Canterbury at junior and senior levels where he trained at Lees Park, and for Sydney Olympic 1981-86 and 1992-93, as well as other clubs. Peter grew up in Campsie and lives in Earlwood.

Photo of Sporting Champion McIntosh
Kirsty McIntosh born 1958 - Hockey & Touch Football

Kirsty represented NSW in the Open Indoor Hockey Team 1980-84, the NSW Veterans Hockey team 1994 to date, and Australia in the Womens Veterans team 1996-98, 2000-08. She also represented NSW in the Womens Touch football in 2002 and the National Touch League Championships in the 1980s, 1990s and 2002-06. Kirsty lives in Earlwood. She played for Canterbury as a junior.

Photo of Sporting Champion Stenhouse
Barry Stewart Stenhouse 1934-1999 - Rugby League football

Played for Canterbury (then the Berries) in 1952-54, 1956 & 1958, and played for NSW in 1953. He began playing for Belmore juniors. He trained at Belmore Sports Ground. His career was interrupted by call-up for National Service and injury. He was awarded the Sun-Herald Best and Fairest Player in 1953. Barry grew up in Clemton Park and attended local schools.

Photo of Sporting Champion Vasiliades
George Vasiliades (Vasil) born 1949 - Weightlifting

Represented Australia and won gold at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in 1970, placed 6th at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, won gold at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974, came 4th at the 1970 World Championships, and represented Australia at the 1975 World Championships. George began his training at local schools and the Belmore Police Boys Club, and lives in Earlwood. He is a father of 3 boys and 1 girl who are all champion weightlifters.

Photo of Sporting Champion Burnell
Colin Roy Burnell 1934- 2003 - Yachting

Col was a crew member on the boat Balandra, one of the 3 boats that made up the winning Australian team at the 1967 Admirals Cup yachting regatta from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. This included the 605 nautical mile Fastnet race from the New York to Cowes. This was only the second time that Australia had entered the Cup, and the first time Australia won. Col sailed in three Sydney to Hobart races on Balandra and one on Pacha. He lived all his life in Earlwood.

Photo of Sporting Champion Curry
Ron Corry born 1941 - Football (Soccer)

Ron represented Australia as goalkeeper 33 times from 1967-74, including World Cup campaigns in 1969 and 1973. He grew up in Lakemba and played first grade for Canterbury from 1961-64. Ron successfully coached the Wollongong Wolves to their NSW grand final win in 2000/1, coached the Australian National League for 10 years and was goalkeeping coach at the Australian Institute of Sport. He received an Award of Distinction in the Football Federation of Australia Football Hall of Fame.

Photo of Sporting Champion Murtha
Andrew Murtha born 1965 - Ice speed skating

Represented Australia at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, and the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, where he was a member of the bronze medal winning 4 man relay team in Short Track Ice Speed Skating over 5000 metres. This was Australia's first ever medal at a Winter Olympics. Andrew worked for, and was fully supported by, Canterbury City Council during his Olympic appearances. Predominantly trained at Canterbury Ice Skating rink. He lives in Roselands.

Photo of Sporting Champion Peponis
George Peponis born 1953 - Rugby League football

George Peponis played for the Canterbury Bulldogs 1974-82, was captain from 1978-82, and led the club to its premiership in 1980. He played for NSW from 1976 and served as captain from 1979-80. He represented Australia from 1978, as captain from 1979-1980. From 2002 he has served the Bulldogs as chairman. George was named at hooker in the Berries to Bulldogs 70 Year Team of Champions, is a Life Member of the football club and in 2007 he was inducted into the Bulldogs Ring of Champions.