During the late 50’s and early 60’s the home ground of Sylvania Heights Soccer Club was Canberra Oval. By 1962 Sylvania had outgrown the field and moved to Box Road.
In 1963 Arthur Bannister and Tony Knight led a breakaway group to form a new soccer club back at Canberra Oval. The Sylvania Heights committee at that time called the break away group a pack of bunnies which inspired Arthur and Tony to affectionately name the club “The Gwawley Bay Bunnies.
Although only 3 teams were needed to form a club, the Gwawley Bay Bunnies kicked off with five very competitive teams.
Joan Knight (Tony’s wife), made all the uniforms while Tony and Arthur provided the funds to purchase all the equipment and nets needed to operate the club. The canteen and ground control was located in an open fronted tin shed near the roo ball field, next to the big gum tree.
Over the next year or two, as the club began to grow, players were charged six pence per game to play This money was put towards paying for lighting of the field so teams could train at night.
Players and their parents were very enthusiastic about their new Club and were keen to assist in raising funds. Every Mother’s Day a tent was set up next to the tin shed and fresh home cooked cakes, bunny badges and other items were sold to raise money.
In 1963 the Gwawley Bay Bunnies won the ‘Once A Year Marchpast’ and since then the club has never looked back. In 1970 they fielded their first women’s team wearing purple hotpants, white skivvies and ribbons around their socks. 1970 was also the year the Gwawley Bay Bunnies changed their uniform from brown to purple. The Gwawley Bay Bunnies again won the Marchpast in 1971 winning six gold medals and one silver.
The seventies and eighties saw the spirit of the club soar as our junior teams won Champion of Champions in consecutive years and our all age team won the Champion of Champions, NSW State Amateur Cup and the Frank Tyrell Trophy . It was also the time our number one son, Graham Arnold left our club to pursue a successful career overseas, becoming captain of the Socceroos and representing Australia in four world cups They certainly were the glory years and they are set to continue.
The next fifteen years saw the Gwawley Bay Bunnies win competitions in almost all grades, as the club continued to be competitive and the players and members continued to show their loyalty.
The year 2000 saw the Gwawley Bay Bunnies give up their title and made way for the Gladiator. Again the uniform changed into what it is today.
The spirit, determination and loyalty of everyone who has been involved with the club during the last 60 years has made the club into one we are all be very proud of.