GAVIN MARSCHKE OAM
“Legend” is a term too often used to describe a person of modest attributes in a lighthearted fashion, but few can say that they have been officially recognised in that capacity. Now the Sunshine Coast has lost one of those special people, with the passing of Gavin Marschke, sportsman, administrator, umpire and husband.
Born in Brisbane in July 1936, Gav came north the same year, with parents Charlie and Matilda establishing their farm between Yandina and Coolum. An undeveloped region, decades away from its Sunshine Coast label, meant that each day became an adventure, with even going to school an odyssey in itself.
A horse ride from Yandina creek to Valdora, where his steed was left to graze in Thorogood’s paddock, then a run down to the river to catch the boat to the Maroochy River State School near Dunethin Rock started the day, with the reverse in the afternoon.
Sport became an essential part of life for the youngster, and while cricket was the long term winner of his affections, he excelled along the way at racquet sports. With badminton strong in Nambour, Gav progressed to play for Queensland in the 1960 national Titles, and was six times a Sunshine Coast Singles champion.
Squash joined his repertoire after an accidental introduction on a rainy day, resulting in 15 Coast singles titles, 10 of which were consecutive. Table tennis added to his local crowns as his hand-eye coordination skills grew and winter Saturdays were filled with Palmwoods tennis.
But cricket maintained pride of place, with the newly formed Maroochy Association capturing the young left-hander in 1950, and Nambour Cricket Club was to benefit through 260 matches, gaining over 5,900 runs from 211 games in A Grade. This was the Golden Age of the Cutters that reaped a dozen Premierships, with Gav captaining half, twice topping the Association run-tally.
Always available to offer advice for umpires from behind the stumps or at the crease, Gav started to officially umpire in 1962, standing in local representative matches and finals when not involved playing, and after his retirement from local fixtures in 1979 he embarked on an umpiring journey that was to surpass even his playing achievements.
Local fixtures grew to invitations from Townsville to Toowoomba from Queensland Country, and State contests for Queensland, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia. Touring International sides, India, Sri Lanka , New Zealand and the West Indies watched his finger rise in crucial decisions during his 372 match career, and countless batsmen heard his observations at first hand from the non-strikers crease.
The honours came, a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007 for services to cricket, attendance at the 2008 Allan Border Medal Presentation as the Umpires Representative for Queensland. These followed the Australian Sports Medal, the Australia Day Council Achievement Award, numerous Life Memberships, and fittingly, in 2017, the official Sports Legend Award from the Sunshine Coast Sports Association.
Every step in the journey, every day of the trek, Gavin has been supported by his wife Sylvia, and their 62 year partnership produced son Gary and daughter Karen, leading to half a dozen grandchildren. Sylvia’s strength and support through Gav’s long administrative history as Secretary-Treasurer of SCCA and Nambour CC, and her caring in his final years have added to their family’s record, which is indeed, legendary.
Written by – Pat Drew