The Club formed in 1990 when retired Test Cricket Umpire Jack Collins, attended meetings of the Ballarat Sports Club. He then introduced the concept of that Club to colleagues and friends in the Sunshine area. Hence, the Sunshine Sports Club was formed. Sports minded people would meet, dine and socialise whilst sharing a common interest of promoting sport in Sunshine and the wider western metropolitan area. The Club later added the name Western Region, with its support extending to young people aged 13 to 20 years that reside within the 5 western municipalities of Brimbank, Maribyrong, Wyndham, Melton and Hobsons Bay.
ln May 2001, the Club created an award in memory of late member, Don Deeble. Don was one of the great sports personalities of the Western suburbs. Each month a young sportsperson who is performing at State or National level, or shows the potential to compete at this level is nominated. The monthly nominees come from a diverse range of sports including Paralympics, Lacrosse, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, Taekwondo, Golf and Netball. The nominee is presented with various encouragement awards at our monthly dinner. At each January Club dinner, an annual winner of this award is announced and presented with a $5,000 cheque along with two runners up of $2,500 respectively.
Some of our more prominent members include: Jon Deeble, Australian Olympic Baseball Medalist, Geoff Southby – Carlton VFL player, Jack Collins – Rethed International Cricket Umpire, John Forbes OAM- Author and sports industry identity and Charlie Bezzina – High Profile retired Detective.
Each month the Club holds a dinner, which includes a leading sporting identity or prominent speaker who freely volunteer their time. Past speakers include: Football champions past and present – Chris Grant, David Parkin, Doug Hawkins, Terry Wallade, Robert Flower, Rodney Eade, Ted Whitten Junior and club member Geofi Southby. Cricket champions of the past Merv Hughes and Rodney Hogg, Olympic champions – Russell Mark and Australian netballer – Sharelle McMahon and Joyce Brown- Australian Netball Coacfi and Phoenix coach, just to name a few.
The major achievement of the Clubs fundraising activities has been the financial sponsorship of junior sports people at the highest levels of competition of their chosen sport (State, National or International). The Club is also very proud of the assistance to disabled athletes. The Club was also responsible for the financing and erection of the E.J Whitten statue, outside the entrance to Whitten Oval, Footscray. Money raised from the Clubs membership and dinners not only goes to the sporting youth of the west but also to acharity of the Club’s choice. Recently $10,000 was donated to the Sunshine Hospital Children’s Ward. Since the inception of the Club, it has donated in excess of $300,000.
The Club is also proud of the recent appointment of Mr Ray Horsburgh as the Club’s Ambassador. From an engineering cadet at ACI Spotswood glass to become one of the most recognized corporate names in Australia. Cunently chairman of Toll lndustries but spent many years at the helm of Smorgan lndustries and CSR. Ray is also past president of Essendon Football Club and Chairman of AFL Victoria. ln 2006 Ray was awarded an Order of Australia 2006 for his work with disadvantaged youth.
Apart from the generosity of the members and its guest speakers, the Club is fortunate to have a major sponsorship of the Yarraville Club Cricket Club. They donate $20,000 to the Don Deeble Award annually. Also, Ascot Vale Sports & Trophies, which for the past 23 years have donated trophies and plaques for guest speakers and the Don Deeble Rising Star. Other vital sponsors include New Balance/ Sim’s Sports Moonee Ponds, Star Newsgroup, Medway Golf Club, Noone lmagewear, Sanctuary Lakes Hotel Point Cook, Sun Theatre, Salon Support, Waterstone Cafe, Rebel Sport Werribee and the Bendigo Bank (Sunshine).