The Athletics Victoria community is saddened by the passing of former Vice President and Life Member, Mrs Pat Agg.
Pat Agg became the matriarch of Geelong Athletics through not only her longevity in life but through her longevity in the administration of athletics; roles which included significant tenures as Geelong Guild Women’s Secretary, the Geelong Athletics Records Officer, Registrar, and initially as a representative for Geelong and then regionally on the Victorian Country Committee and as a highly proficient walk judge and wind gauge operator.
Patricia Joyce Rogan was born on 17 March 1924. She was one of a large family. Pat married Russell Agg in 1947. Pat’s sporting interests as a young woman included netball and running with the clubs associated with the Soldiers Woollen Mills, where she worked.
It was during 1964 when Pat was approached to help rejuvenate the flagging Geelong Guild Women’s Athletic Club, which had been originally formed in 1955. Pat’s eldest daughter Val, had been one of the athletes who attended the first day of the Saturday morning competition at Landy Field (later widely known as Little Athletics) in October 1964.
It was not long after this, in 1965, that Pat Agg (with great help from the late Frank Searby), became Secretary of the Geelong Guild Women’s Athletic Club, a voluntary position Pat would become synonymous with over the next three decades. Her office, the family home at Mundy Street in South Geelong, is just a stone’s throw from Landy Field.
All her children took up a sporting interest. Val and Gary in athletics; eldest son Rob played football and cricket and youngest daughter Jenny played netball and tennis.
With Val and Gary running each Saturday, Pat immersed herself in the sport she would love for years to come. Her first roles at Landy Field were as a track judge at the finish line and as the Officials Manager on the (former) Geelong Centre of the Victorian Women’s Amateur Athletic Association (VWAAA) Board of Management.
As an early trailblazer in women’s athletics in Geelong, Pat would recall one of her bleakest moments in athletics, years later. Whilst waiting to start a Guild women’s committee meeting one night in mid-1965, news came through that their fellow committee member and Commonwealth Games athlete, Joan Beretta, had gone missing on the Barwon River. Joan took to rowing as part of her training regime for her middle-distance running. Sadly, Joan’s body was recovered from the river some days later.
In 1974, Pat Agg and her friend Lauren Johns became the first two ladies to be awarded Life Membership of the Geelong Women’s Centre.
The following year in 1975, Pat was accorded the same honour of Life Membership from her club, Geelong Guild. This Life Membership certificate was proudly displayed in the lounge room of the family home at South Geelong.
After this first decade in athletics, Pat Agg advanced her athletic skills and knowledge. She was, by now, a Geelong Guild delegate to the VWAAA monthly Council meetings held in Melbourne. She would attend these meetings with fellow women officials in Pat Maxwell, Margaret Saunders (Chilwell) and Val Robley (Sacred Heart).
Concerned for athletics in Geelong and in the regional areas of Victoria, Pat was elected as the first Country Vice President of the VWAAA in 1970. She held this position until 1978 when her dear friend Margaret Saunders became Country Vice President.
At the same time, Pat was President of the Geelong Centre of the VWAAA from 1975 until 1978.
During the 1970s, Pat, along with an ever-growing group of women officials at Landy Field, was appointed to several Australian Women’s Championships at Royal Park in Melbourne and interstate. It was in Hobart in 1973 that Pat took to reading the wind gauge to “try it out”.
When the men’s and women’s State Associations and Geelong Centre’s amalgamated in 1982, Pat Agg joined the Victorian Country Committee. A position she would hold until the committee was disbanded in 2009. It was during this time that Pat, along with her dear friend Margaret Saunders and others, would manage the Victorian country team to Canberra for the East Coast Challenge series.
Pat would also continue her input at the local level. She became the Records Officer at Geelong and meticulously maintained the Geelong records, allowing her to become a familiar and friendly official with athletes from all clubs, not just from her Guild. Pat was as proud as punch that the 100-metre record of her daughter Val remained some 57 years after it was established.
At the club level, after amalgamation, Pat continued as Secretary of Guild until 1989. A position she had held for almost a quarter of a century. Another generation of the Agg family became involved in athletics when grandchildren started to compete at Landy Field around this time.
In 1989, Pat became the first female President of the combined Guild club. In fact, it was an all-woman executive with Val Williams as Secretary and Pat’s long-time friend Pauline Zuccolin as Treasurer. Pat would remain President until 1995.
On 10 June 1992, Pat was honoured at the State level with an Athletics Victoria Merit Award. Further honours came to Pat when on 10 July 1996, she was elected as a Life Member of Athletics Victoria by her peers.
In 2006 Pat received the Athletics Australia Platinum Service Award for those who have provided service to the sport of athletics for 40 years or more. In 2008, Pat served on the Guild’s 100th-anniversary committee.
In 2010, Pat Agg retired from the Board of Geelong Athletics. She had been the Records Officer since 1982 and the Registrar since 1992. Pat had served on the Geelong Centre Board for a staggering 45 years and was presented with a gift and flowers by then President Richard Lawysz.
However, Pat’s interest in the sport she loved did not end there. She continued to attend annual meetings and visit Landy Field for championship and special meetings, to present medals and enquire as to the well-being of the many athletes that called her their friend. Her granddaughters would drive Pat to Landy during the week to take a sneak peek.
In December 2012, Pat and fellow Life Members Lauren Johns and Jack Darcy were invited to cut the 50th-anniversary cake of Geelong Athletics.
In January 2018, Pat again returned to Landy Field during the opening ceremony of the Country Championships. This time Pat was to receive the Athletics Victoria 50 years membership award, which had been recognised again by her peers in 2017. AV Life Member Richard Lawysz presented the award. Australian hurdler Jess Gulli presented flowers, and her daughters Val, Jenny and son Gary were in attendance.
Geelong Athletics’ interclub premiership aggregate award for men and women is known as the Pat Agg Trophy. In this award, Pat’s legacy and time at Geelong Athletics will be forever remembered. Along with her kindness and caring, not only for her Guild girls but for all athletes (and officials) that crossed her path.
Former Geelong Athletics President Richard Lawysz summed up what most of the Geelong and Victorian athletics family felt, “truly a lovely lady”.
Pat was married to Russell Agg for over 65 years, and they had four children, Rob, Val, Jenny and Gary, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Pat passed away at St John of God Hospital, Geelong, on Tuesday, 9 August 2022.
The Funeral Service for Mrs Patricia ‘Pat’ Agg will be held at Kings Chapel, 130 Bellarine Highway, Newcomb (Geelong), on FRIDAY (19 August 2022) at 1.00 pm. For webcast details, please visit Pat’s eTribute at: https://www.kingsfunerals.com.au
16 August 2022