Life Membership of Canoe SA conferred at the Aunnal General Meeting held on 20 March 2013
Citation for John Hales:
John Clarence Hales was born at Alberton, South Australia on 3rd February 1936 the State’s Centenary year. He was born within a stone’s throw of the Alberton Oval and naturally became a Port Magpie supporter. He went to school at Woodville Primary followed by Adelaide Technical High School in Adelaide. During his school holidays he worked on his cousin’s dairy at Wall Flat (near Mypolonga) milking cows and other chores.
John first started paddling at the age of 12 on the upper reaches of the Port River an area that later became West Lakes. His first canoe was wooden framed covered with canvas as most canoes were in those days and he named it “Sonja” after one of his bovine friends in the dairy. At this young age, two legged girls had not come on the scene! His early paddling on the Port River obviously paid off as John participated in many organised events over the years and became an all-round sportsman including running and playing hockey at an elite level. (He is a Life Member of the Southern Districts Hockey Club). He competed in two Six Day Triathlon events comprising 2 days of cycling (371 km), 2 days kayaking (75 km), 2 days running (105km).
It is in kayaking that John excelled. He competed in ten Red Cross 400 km Ultra-marathons, eleven Murray 200’s, six Murray 100’s, three Duke of Edinburgh 24-hour Marathons and in many State Titles and Master’s Games. He excelled in these gaining many first place medals. John is a Life Member of both the Onkaparinga Canoe Club and the Marathon Canoe Club and in 2000 he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to sport.
John is a doyen within local paddling and a friend to everyone. For years he has served the Marathon Canoe Club as Treasurer and Equipment Officer. He has towed the canoe trailer all over Australia so that paddler’s canoes and equipment arrive at the correct place and on time. John built and maintained the club trailer to keep it roadworthy.
He is a “father-figure” at the Onkaparinga Canoe Club” where he built and fitted out the boat shed with its canoe racks and partly constructed the clubrooms. As Quartermaster, John maintained the canoes for many years and kept them in good working order.
Over the years John has meticulously kept a diary in which he has recorded all of the daily events in his life. Within he has recorded every outing on the Onkaparinga River, clocking up over 50,000 km of paddling and passing under the road and rail (old) bridges about 10,000 times. Most of this, paddling with his mate Ron Blum. When the mangrove population in the river was reduced to one solitary mature plant following a flood, John & Ron set to work propagating new seedlings over a period of several years such that today over a 100 plants are now thriving. In 1995 John joined Ron on an eight day adventure, paddling the Gordon Franklin Rivers in Tasmania accompanied by Ron’s daughter and husband and all is recorded in his diaries.
In 2007 John paddled the Hawkesbury Classic in a double with David Speck accompanied by Brad Butler.
What a record. But above all this John is a thorough gentleman and friend to all.