Don Collins was born on November 11th 1918 – the day of the armistice of WW1.
Don joined the Club on the 2nd of June 1945 after gaining a clearance from Carlton Harriers, although he had been at Collingwood for a few weeks prior to the clearance coming through.
He was a member of our winning A Grade 6 x 2 mile team in an event run around the boulevard in Kew. This was the Club’s first Victorian cross-country championship win. In subsequent years Collingwood went on to win many more titles with Don playing a major part in many of them.
In 1947 Don won the Victorian 5 Mile C.C.C. at Ballarat. A witness from the day reported that about half a mile from the finish, Mark Shilston, a Coburg runner, came into view seemingly in the lead. However, Don was running near a line of trees and was out of vision at the time. When it was realised that Don was actually leading, ‘all hell broke loose.’ As a bonus Collingwood also won the B Grade team event.
Don was a consistent member of all our cross-country and track teams from the mid forties and through the fifties. Collingwood won the Victorian 10 mile C.C.C. team’s race five times in the 1950s. Don’s presence in these teams was integral to their success. A win also in the now defunct Melbourne to Geelong relay was another Collingwood success in which Don played a prominent part. In a similar vein, Don was a member of the winning Magpie team that travelled to South Australia and took out the Adelaide to Gawler relay, at the time, a State cross-country championship.
Don won the Club Blue Ribbon 5 Mile Championship an astounding seven times over a period of eleven years.
The Club saw fit to make Don a Life Member in 1962 in recognition of his outstanding service.
Away from the Club Don was involved in quite extensive market gardens out in the A.F.L. Park (Waverley) area. It was this occupation that earned Don the nickname ‘Cabbages’.
Don also had a big interest in the trotting industry, owning a number of very good standardbreds over the years.
Don passed away on April 21st 2015 at age 96