Hartley TOBIN

Hartley was originally a country boy from Warragul who came to the big smoke in 1955 to begin teacher training at Burwood Teachers’ College. He boarded with his brother in Kew, just off Studley Park Road.

Both were interested in playing baseball (then a winter sport) so joined Collingwood Baseball Club. Their home ground was Corben Oval in Yarra Bend (in the middle of the loop!!) just across the river from their abode. Teams were selected each Thursday evening at a meeting held in the then clubrooms of the Collingwood Harriers at Coulson Reserve near the railway line. (no overpass in those days).

When the baseball season finished Hartley wanted to do athletics. Having been athletics champion at Warragul High School, Hartley did have a bit of a background in the caper. He rolled up the clubrooms, asked the first person he saw how he could join the Club.

Colin Murraylee said, “Can you throw a javelin?”


“Well come in”, said Colin, who then introduced Hartley to the secretary, Ray Coverdale and “The rest”, they say, “is history!”

Hartley’s first season with the Harriers was in 1955/1956. At school Hartley had done well in the jumps and throws, so most Saturdays he was able to represent the Club in three events, the maximum allowed in those days. He was thrilled to be selected to compete in A Grade in the high jump in this his first season. George Bartlett was a great source of encouragement to Hartley in his early years at the Club. Bill Tunaley made him work at being competent in many events as well as teaching him how to hurdle and Max Gee taught him how to pole vault.

Hartley remembers managing a few firsts and a few more placings in the annual Club Championships over quite a few seasons.

Hartley was proud to represent Collingwood in A Grade in all the jumping events and all the throws, except the hammer. He also often ran the hurdles in our highest grade and mentions that he did get the occasional run in the relay, but admits this wasn’t a strength!

The veteran’s movement had a very keen participant when it got going in the mid seventies with Hartley competing for around twenty years. He managed to win numerous medals at state level in his time and in 1987, Hartley grabbed a gold medal in the pole vault and a bronze in the triple jump at the Australian Veteran Athletic Championships in the 50-54 age group.

Hartley continued to compete for Collingwood Harriers in the interclub competition until 1997, when the aches and pains that start to catch up with one’s body over the years finally convinced Hartley that there was an easier way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It must be mentioned that for quite a few of the latter years of Hartley’s competitive involvement, he travelled many kilometres from Grantville, just short of Phillip Island in south eastern Victoria.

Hartley is still very much involved in the goings on of the Club and manages to get to many of the Club’s activities, such as Annual Meetings and the Club 5 Mile each year. He and his wife Meryl are regular attendees at the Life Members’ Dinner held each November.

A few years back Hartley found a vaulting pole in his garage and as he really did not have any further use for it promptly donated it to the Club.

Hartley’s two sons Michael and Derek both had short stints (compared with Dad!) with Collingwood, with Derek being part of a couple of junior relay record holding teams through his time. One, the under 16 4 x100m, still stands at the time of writing.

Hartley retired from teaching after a number of years as Principal of Bass Primary School.

At his property near the beach on Westernport Bay, Hartley has been able to use his keen interest in horticulture to develop a quite successful hobby in growing Proteas.

Hartley and Meryl have travelled extensively throughout Australia over many years, usually in the campervan, exploring both the flora and fauna of our continent.

Hartley has always been a terrific Clubman!

Not only was he always supportive of his fellow athletes, but he was also a terrific mentor in other fields as well. Your scribe certainly benefitted from Hartley’s experience when embarking on a teaching career of his own in the late sixties.

November 2014