The following is a tribute to the late Rob Jewson, exceptionally delivered by club stalwart Noel Kenny.
“First of all I would like to thank the Jewson family for asking me to speak. It is a real honour. I suppose I speak on behalf of all the boys & girls, men & women who have been involved with the North Brunswick Youth Club over many years.
Rob never played in a premiership, he never won a best and fairest, he never even played a game. And he certainly didn’t play netball. But Rob will always be known as the founder, the most influential figure in the clubs history. He was the architect, the powerbroker, the godfather, the go to man.
Way back in 1966 Rob as a parent with children at North Brunswick Primary School with a couple of teachers namely Ray Trotter and Ian Duncan decided there was a need for a junior sporting club in the area. It was a modest start with one under 12 football side. Within a few years it grew to up to 10 football sides and as many netball sides. While in 1971 the club entered seniors and reserves in the VAFA.
The club became the envy of others not only because of its success on the field, but its reputation of being well run, disciplined and a progressive club. It was aptly described in a death notice in the paper by the Payne family “Rob Jewson presided over the club in its golden era.”
Rob was a jack of all trades. He held many positions from president, secretary, trainer, goal umpire, interchange steward and barman and many others. Robs involvement didn’t stop at the club he held a number of executive positions with PRJSFL, one being registration secretary. A visit to the Jewsons pre-season you were confronted with papers everywhere and officials from other clubs coming and going at all hours. Rob was also the clubs 1st recipient of the VAFA Merit award for services to Amateur football.
The Jewson home at 20 Rose Street, West Coburg became the unofficial club house with regular meetings being held there as well as BBQs and as the final destination of progressive dinners.
Rob and Joyce were social people who always made you feel welcome. They were lots of fun and people enjoyed their company.
When you speak to others about Rob there is always one word that always pops up “Loyalty”. Rob was first and foremost loyal to his family. But he was at times blindly loyal to his beloved tigers and the Green and Gold.
It didn’t matter who you were, where you came from or what you did, as soon as you put on that Green and Gold jumper in Rob’s eyes you were OK. You could be an axe murderer and Rob would dismiss it by saying he only used a tomahawk. There would be no doubt Rob would be described as one eyed.
North Brunswick either won if not they were crucified by the umpires. Strangely enough they were never beaten by a better side.
The last week in the media there has been a lot of talk about the sledging by the Australian cricket team. Rob invented sledging. You wouldn’t want to be an opposition player who gave Garry Butler clip behind the ear or Dino DiMarco a back hander. Rob would get into them, he would follow them from one end of the ground to the other, questioning their courage, their ability and their parentage. He also had a great memory as well so the next time you played them it could even be the following year he would start as soon as they ran down the race.
Rob was also a man of influence. I can remember in 1974 we were going on our first ever end of season football trip. We were going by train to Mildura (imagine telling the players today the end of season trip was a train ride to Mildura). Anyway, we were leaving Spencer Street station at 7pm for the overnight trip. We all met at the hotel across the road and by the time we were ready to leave we were well and truly refreshed. Some of the boys brought some travellers to enjoy along the long overnight trip. Just as we pulled out of Spencer Street a can of VB fell out of Johnny Heywoods bag and rolled down the aisle. All of a sudden the conductor appeared and he was reminiscent of Blackey from on the buses and started yelling OK OK you blokes are being thrown off at West Footscray. Great. What are we going to do in West Footscray for 4 nights? Rob then stepped into action. He took Blakey aside and they chatted in that area between the two carriages for about 5 minutes. To this day I don’t know what Rob said to him or how much money he offered him, but it was announced we could drink as much as we liked, the only proviso was we had to use the Victorian Railway issue paper cups.
Rob was no shrinking violet at times he could be intimidating, ruthless and even downright scary. Over the years I held positions of secretary and president and always knew that Rob was there for advice and support, but you also knew he was always looking over your shoulder. Before I made any decision I would think “what would Rob do?” And once a decision was made I would wonder what Rob would think hoping that I had made the right decision. If I didn’t Rob would not be backward in letting me know.
Over the last week I am sure we all have reflected on the wonderful times we have shared with both Rob & Joyce.
Personally, I have been to so many celebrations that you cant remember whether we were there for Rob’s birthday or Joyce’s birthday or wedding anniversary celebration. But they all had one thing in common, lifelong family and friends who have a great time together.
So on behalf of all the past, present and future members of North Brunswick, thank you Rob, your legacy will live on forever.