The Altona North Cricket Club was established in 1923 as the Kororoit Stars Cricket Club. The Club originally played at the Hatt Reserve at Williamstown Beach.
In the early 1960’s Morris McDonald facilitated the move from the Hatt Reserve (which was a synthetic wicket) to the turf wicket now known as Greenwich Reserve on the Strand. However by the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the Club had barely enough players to field a team, did not have the facilities to attract new players to the Club, and was effectively broke. Morris McDonald made the commitment to pay the Club’s affiliation fees until they could recruit more players and get back on their feet.
The next season the club was able to recruit extra players and field a second team; however, the reality was that the club was struggling to survive at the Greenwich Reserve. With the support of a few Club members, Morris lobbied the City of Altona for the Club to move to Altona North. In 1972 the Club moved to Langshaw Reserve and became known as the Altona North Cricket Club.
The move to Langshaw Reserve revitalised the Club with the introduction of more senior men’s teams plus the establishment of women’s and junior boy’s teams. The Club also became more financially viable and self sufficient.
The Langshaw Reserve was an excellent cricket ground; however a new sporting facility was being developed at the WLJ Crofts Reserve. Morris’s vision was to develop a sporting complex where cricket and football could successfully co-exist on a larger scale. He identified that the Altona North region had the potential for more cricket teams – men’s, women’s and juniors and that they could be all accommodated at the WLJ Crofts Reserve.
In December 1976 the WLJ Crofts Reserve was officially opened with the Altona North Cricket Club and Central Altona Football Club as tenants.
WLJ Croft Reserve enabled all the senior teams to train and play at the Reserve, however the junior teams still had to play at other ovals in the municipality. The next challenge was to have a junior cricket ground established on unused land in the top left hand corner of the Reserve. In 1985 the cricket ground for the junior teams was constructed by Council.
Establishment of a Ladies Cricket Team
In 1973, Morris established a ladies cricket team. The team essentially comprised young girls from schools in the West Newport / Altona North area. He was President of the Altona North Ladies Cricket Club for 10 years; from its inception in 1973 to 1982. He was also the first coach of the ladies cricket team.
In 1991/92 the ladies club merged with the men’s club at Altona North to form a bigger and stronger club.
Establishment of junior cricket teams
When the Club relocated to Altona North, they saw the opportunity to establish teams for the youth of the area to play junior cricket. Junior teams were established at Altona North in 1970-71 and they have also been a part of the Club for 39 consecutive years.
The social facilities provided by Council at the WLJ Crofts Reserve were first class. The club however, saw the need for a bigger bar and upstairs kitchen and toilet facilities. These initiatives required that the Club find the funds to build them.
At that time, a new Bingo Centre was opening in Grieve Parade and in conjunction with the Central Altona Football Club, the Club conducted bingo at the Altona Bingo Centre for over four years. Club members put in endless hours at the bingo centre, and during this period, an amount in excess of $70,000 was raised. All of this money was reinvested in the pavilion at Crofts Reserve – and the vision for an upgrade of the bar, new kitchen and toilet facilities was realised. Morris McDonald contributed his time to raise the money for these renovations, but he also physically assisted in both the construction of the bar and the toilets and “voluntarily” oversaw all the construction works.
The club has recently established a strong working relationship with new co-tenant the Western Jets, which enabled significant renovations to pavilion including the following:
– the upstairs balcony transformed into an enclosed Gym, Viewing room, Board room and office.
– An extension of the south end Change rooms and store room and medical room.
– Both change rooms were carpeted and painted in club colors.
– New state of the art flood lights to both oval 1 and 2.
The recent partnership with sub tenant the Williamstown Superules has seen further funds into the club.
Most recently Morris McDonald a legend of the club was honored by the council naming Oval 1 the Morris G McDonald Oval.
Altona North has a long and proud history and continues to be a big part in the Hobsons Bay community and part of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.