William David Dean, OAM, JP
BILL Dean is not your normal cricket administrator. He wasn't a very good cricketer. But cricket is in his blood. And he has a love of the game that transcends almost all other considerations. Bill was a member of the Heathmont Cricket Club where his batting was a source of some comment: 'It was D-day for Heathmont last Saturday . . . when the "Old Gentleman" William Dean saved us from certain disgrace . . . We had lost 8/60 and a hat-trick was in the making when Bill joined John Chambers. It was quite an ordeal for these two and to our amazement, the score soon passed the century and went on to 135, John scoring 55 not out and "Sir William" 35'. This was the Ringwood Mail report of the C Grade Semi-final in 1963.
In another report, Bill was reported as being third in the Heathmont C Grade averages, with an average of ten. In a further report, Bill is credited with having invented the 'shovel' shot in which he 'shovelled* the ball over the heads of slips. All this indicates that Bill was one of the triers down in the lower grades and shows why he understood and had an affinity with the many 'triers' in the RDCA. They were in his thoughts later as President of the Association when he was also striving to provide competitive cricket for those in the higher grades.
Bill attended school in the Heidelberg area and after leaving school at an early age, worked on the Banyule Farm Estate. When war broke out he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and served in New Guinea. After the war he worked at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital with the Fire Brigade. After drifting through a couple more jobs, he met his future wife, Verna, and joined a concert party entertaining community organisations and was on stage with Jack Perry and Doug McKenzie before they became Zig and Zag.
Verna and Bill married in 1951 and bought the property in Pascoe Avenue Croydon where they still live. There he set up a cement mixing (sorry Bill-concrete!) business which he ran until 1974 when he retired and handed over to son David.
Hand-in-hand with his private business, Bill was progressing up the ladder in cricket administration in the RDCA.
He became Social Secretary and instituted the well-known presentation nights in the form of dinner dances at Mirama Court, Mitcham. In 1968, Bill was elected President of the Association and began an unbroken term of twenty years in this position.
During this period the Association trebled in size. Many adjustments had to be made to cope with the enormous influx of both senior and junior players. Many reorganisations of the way the Association was run had to be thought about and put into operation. Chandler Shield was reorganised. Then A grade was reorganised. All the time the objective was to raise the standard of cricket in the RDCA.
In 1973, he built a child care centre on a block adjacent to his home and in conjunction with his wife and three daughters, Kerrin, Jill and Elizabeth ran the business until they sold a few years later. The naming of the centre was a challenge. Bill asked his wife, Verna, what she thought about a name. Her reply was, 'I don't care what you call it as long as it has nothing to do with cricket'. To Bill that was a challenge. So he suggested the 'Jiminy Cricket Child Centre* and would have us believe that Verna did not see through his ruse. However, we have it on good authority she just could not be bothered with the argument.
But when Saturday came, Bill was able to put all these worries behind him and ventured out on the cricket grounds, sometimes to a Chandler Shield match but sometimes to a C Grade match or an F Grade match. As long as the ladies provided him with a cup of tea and a sandwich or a cake, Bill was ready to visit any grade.
In 1988-89, Bill was invited to be Patron of the RDCA, a position he still holds. In fact these days, he is almost a professional patron—patron of a number of cricket clubs and Life member and Patron of the Melbourne Radio Control Circuit Racers (Model Gas Cars) in which his son David is a leading administrator.
Bill is also Secretary of the Croydon RSL and a member of the Eastwood Golf Club. He also has the distinction of being a member of the Bat and Ball Cricket Club, Hambledon, Hampshire, England which was formed in 1750 (Bill is not that old!) and which is recognised as one of the earliest centres of cricket development in England.
He is a convenor of sportsman's nights and chairman of a sportsman's panel which has entertained many organisations.
In 1991, Bill was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia 'for service to sport', a well-deserved recognition of his dedication to cricket in the Ringwood District and to cricket in general.