PRLAC was established in on July 20 1968 by founding fathers G. Murphy, N Ireland, and J Boucher beginning at Edwardes Lake Park. The foundation uniform was a white t-shirt with a red trim with the red 22 on front and back.
The Inaugural Season took place in 1968-69 with the following clubs competing under the Preston-Reservoir Little Athletics banner: Keon Park, St Gabriel’s, Sacred Heart, East Preston, Kingsbury and Lalor/Thomastown. In 1969, PRLAC held their first Centre Championships.
In 1970, after consultation with overseas experts, an Olympic standard 400 metre track surfaced with rubberised asphalt was constructed by Council at a cost of $46,000. The completed track was soon complemented by a new pavilion and other facilities.
PRLAC ran a ‘Sydney trip’ transfer program with the St George Little Athletics Centre in New South Wales. The program was for under 12 athletes. It was started by two members of the centres who were originally at PRLAC. This was started as that they wanted to maintain a connection with a Victorian based centre. The athletes would travel up to Sydney on the Friday of the long weekend in March where they would be billeted out to families at St George and spend the day with the family sightseeing and then compete on the Saturday afternoon as a twilight meeting and BBQ. The program would work with the host centre choosing which events they wished to hold and a points system to determine the winner of the trophy. They’d continue with sightseeing on the Sunday before returning home on the Monday.
In 1980, foundation club ‘Lalor/Thomastown’ broke away to form the Lalor/Thomastown Little Athletics Centre (now Whittlesea LAC). This is when St Gabriel’s and Sacred Heart merged forming Lakeside before West Bell was also added.
For years, the council tried to amalgamate the centre, but it was held off because the clubs had a lot of history they wanted to keep.
However in 2005 the PRLAC clubs amalgamated to form the Preston Reservoir Little Athletics Centre. The final ‘clubs’ were Lakeside, East Preston, Kingsbury, Keon Park and East Reservoir. The decision to amalgamate was taken to keep costs down and to keep the centre sustainable. This meant that athletes didn’t require two separate uniforms, and there wasn’t a need for multiple committees. Two nights were held at the club for parents and members to attend prior to the amalgamation to ensure that all families could ask questions and knew the reasons why amalgamation was occurring. Athletes were required to pay $2 every week to keep the ‘clubs’ going this was no longer required once the centre amalgamated. For the first season as an amalgamated centre, each child got a new uniform free of charge thanks to fundraising occurred the previous season.
In 2013, PRLAC joined the Northern Corridor Inter Centre Competition along side Hume, Craigieburn and Kilmore, and have been undefeated in seven Inter Centre years since joining the event.
In 2013 and 2014, PRLAC were awarded Bronze Awards for the Little Athletics Victoria Top Centre Awards.
In 2017, the Preston Reservoir Gift was established with the top eight male and female athletes all facing off in a 100m Sprint on Championship Day. The Inaugural gifts were won by Jordan Wykes (Boys) and Jessica Milne (Girls). For the 2017/18 season, a Junior Gift was introduced.
Due to track redevelopments, Preston Reservoir Little Athletics competed alongside Coburg LAC for the 2019-20 season. The new track was finished mid 2020.
Several Preston/Reservoir athletes have gone on to achieve great things in the sporting world. This includes Gary Honey (Athletics), Neil Honey (Athletics), Lisa Weightman (Athletics), Sav Rocca (Australian Football and American Football), Anthony Rocca (Australian Football and American Football), Ross Lyon (Australian Football) and Anthony Koutifidies (Australian Football)
Over the years, Preston Reservoir Little Athletics Centre has hosted Region Multi and Region Cross Country events as well as Northern Corridor Intercentre days.
If you have information to add to our Centre History page, please email the club (firstname.lastname@example.org). A massive thank you to Sue Williams and Laurie Rowe for information that helped us to compile the centre history!