Thursday, 8 March 2018

Fred & Colin Laws Part 3: Fred and Colin after their representative days

Notes prepared by Patrick Flynn  for a presentation for the induction of Fred Laws and Colin Laws in to the Allora Regional Sports Museum Hall of Fame at Allora on 25 February 2017

The  notes now continue.

The year 1935 saw a number of changes to the extended Laws family which would ultimately result in 6 of the ten brothers and sisters move to the Gold Coast. After a holiday at Southport with their parents early in 1935 Lillian and Jessie decided to purchase a cafe and mixed business and a Property Freehold at Surfer’s Paradise. Lionel Senior, Louisa and their three daughters moved down the coast at the end of the year.
In June 1935 Fred Laws married. Madge Jarrott of Toowoomba. At about that time Fred took a job as an Insurance Inspector for Commercial Union Assurance and shifted to Warwick Fred’s return to Warwick was eagerly anticipated by the people of Warwick, particularly by the rugby league community who saw his presence and input as a chance to improve the standard of the game in the town and the fortunes of their rep. team.
From 1936 students at Warwick High School played inter-house football for the Fred Laws Cup. As a student he had represented the school as a centre three-quarter.
In 1938 a much anticipated game took place between Warwick coached by Fred and Allora coached by Colin on 3 June. Both teams were previously undefeated in the O’Shea Cup competition.  Warwick won by 2 points. Those teams would contest the Final of the O’Shea Cup competition at Allora in July in front of a big crowd with Warwick triumphant by 6 points to 3.

In that year Colin’s employer Barnes and Co would close its doors. Colin took a partner and established a grocery business in Herbert S  Allora. Colin later bought out his partner and operated the business successfully until his retirement in 1971.

At the end of 1938 Fred and Madge Laws and their young son Graeme moved to Surfers Paradise and joined the business established by his sisters. There would a further son and a daughter born and raised on the Gold Coast.

In the years to follow both Fred and Colin would continue to be involved in Rugby League in their respective home towns but not as rival coaches in the same competition.  

As outlined in The History of the Allora Rugby League Football Club 1918 – 1966  by The Hon Tom McVeigh and  John Croke, Colin would serve the Club as  Player, Captain, Coach, President, Vice President for almost the entire history of the Club except perhaps for his time playing in Toowoomba.

Both Fred and Colin coached local school teams.  Colin is understood to have given a few pieces of advice to the nuns who coached the convent school team who played against his charges at the State School. In 1969 Colin donated a shield to be played for in the Warwick and district junior competition.  That shield is still played for in the 43 kg division 47 years later and is currently held by Tenterfield.

Fred and his brothers Vic and Jack were active supporters of Rugby League on the Gold Coast particularly in Surfers Paradise where Fred coached.  He also coached Southport and South Coast Teams at different times. According to his daughter-in-Law Maureen Laws, for many of his later years Saturday afternoons in winter were reserved for watching the televised match of the day.

South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1929 - 1954), Wednesday 10 May 1950, page 4
Away from the football field Fred continued with the firm. L & J Laws. From 1945 the business which began as a cafĂ© and later operated only as a general store would become known as Laws and Hamilton a partnership which included Fred and his brother-in-law Bill Hamilton. 

South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1929 - 1954), Wednesday 30 September 1953, page 8

By 1953 the business had expanded to include a self-service grocery and newsagency in new premises in the middle of Surfers Paradise together with a sports shop and mercery store. This site would be a familiar landmark in Surfers Paradise until well into the 1990’s although in later years more as a newsagency; stationary supplier and book store.  Fred would be a familiar kindly face at the front counter attending to customers’ needs until his the early 1980’s.

One of his great- nieces Rebecca Wilson recalled Fred’s daily routine of a swim in the surf first thing on every morning followed by breakfast at his sister’s house and then off to work at the nearby Laws and Hamilton store

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