26 April, 2023
Six decades of Stratford’s rich history
PAST players, supporters, officials and more of the Stratford Dolphins are invited to reminisce about the club’s long and rich history, share some laughs and enjoy the company of old friends and teammates at a 60th anniversary gala event on 9 June.
The Stratford Dolphins have their roots deeply imbedded in the Far North including Mareeba and Cairns as the founders of the club were mainly of Croatian or Slavic descent and settled in the area working in the cane or tobacco fields.
The new Australian’s founded the Stratford United Football Club in 1963 which was initially comprised of Southern Slavic peoples, the club nowadays includes all manner of Australian foot-ballers from numerous cultural backgrounds.
The club was not always called the Stratford Dolphins or the Stratford United Football Club but rather Plavi Jadran, meaning Blue Adriatic in Croatian, it was only after the club moved from their grounds, Martyn Street fields, and established a more permanent home at the East Stratford Sports Reserve did they take on the name Stratford.
The team initially participated in the Cairns competition was quickly broke away and joined the stronger Far North Queensland competition with teams such as the Mareeba Bulls and Dimbu-lah Barras, who like Straford, had an ethnic blend of players.
Stratford’s influence has remained strong in the hearts of many supporters including local Mareeba farmer Mladen Bosnic who spent over a decade on the committee and was president from 2002 to 2010.
Mladen’s family was involved with the club long before he stood up to take the reins, with both his father and brother-in-law having integral roles within the club.
“A lot of the club’s founding members migrated here in the late 50s and they were either in Mareeba working on tobacco or in Cairns on sugarcane,” he said.
“People’s livelihoods were here so naturally this is where they chose to begin the football club.”
Mladen feels there were three defining moments in the 60-year history of the Stratford Dolphins that helped shape the club and establish them as a powerhouse, the teams of 1963, ‘66 and ‘72.
These three eras of Stratford football each mark a special point in the club’s calendar, from the founding team in ‘63, the ‘66 team winning the Crad Evans Shield and the infamous ‘72 team which on top on winning the shield, remained largely undefeated throughout the 70s.
Now, six decades on from the founding of the Stratford Dolphins, the club is hosting a special 60th Anniversary Gala at the Pullman International on 9 June.
Current president Angelo Serafin said it is important to celebrate the club’s history and to reconnect with old friends and teammates that people may not have seen in years.
Angelo has been part of the club for many years and hung up his boots in 2016, the last time the club has won the Crad Evans Shield since the 1972 team.
“We are one of the oldest club’s in the region following Mareeba and Marlin Coast so to me, celebrating such a huge milestone is paramount both for our past members and our future,” he said.
“Especially with our Croation heritage which is why we have included an outline of the country for our 60-year anniversary shirts.
“The club was built by Croations back in the day and it is important to celebrate that, and multiculturalism itself which is huge in Australia, whether you are Italian, Greek, Croation, Spanish, English or Australian.”
People looking to attend are encouraged to dress formally, tickets are $140 per person and include canapes on arrival, a two-course meal and entry into a mega raffle to be presented on the night.
For more information you can send the Strat-ford Dolphins a message on Facebook or send an email to email@example.com, tickets must be purchased before Friday, 12 May