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Childhood friends from Flowerdale win gold at the Olympics

Childhood friends from Flowerdale win gold at the Olympics

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Apr 19, 2024

Image: The Rome 1960 Australian Equestrian Eventing Team members, Laurie Morgan, John Kelly (reserve), Neale Lavis, Bill Roycroft and Brian Crago.

Lawrence Morgan

BILL Roycroft’s childhood friend from Flowerdale, Lawrence Morgan (1915-1997), played football for Fitzroy Football Club as a young man.

He started with the club in 1937, playing on the same side as the famed Haydn Bunton.

Lawrence played two seasons (34 games) with the team as a ruckman, before leaving.

He was also the Victorian amateur junior heavyweight boxing champion.

In 1960, he competed in the Australian Equestrian team at the Rome Olympics.

He won the gold medal ahead of fellow Australian Neale Lavis in the Individual Three-Day Event, becoming the first Australian to win an equestrian gold medal.

He became the first rider in Olympic history to receive maximum bonus points for cross-country and endurance.

He then teamed up with…

Bill Roycroft

OLYMPIC equestrian champion, Bill Roycroft (1915-2011), was one of seven children and grew up on a dairy farm in Flowerdale.

Young Bill rode throughout his childhood, racing over tree branches with his friend Lawrence Morgan.

Lawrence was also an Olympic equestrian competitor.

According to an interview with Ian F Jobling on Trove, Bill attended school at Break O’Day, riding ponies to and from the school.

It was three miles from the house to the school.

He told the interviewer, “Those days it was just a track through the timber. And of course there was plenty of fallen timber to jump and gutters to ride over.

So I suppose if you go back through the years, that’s where I got my riding experience… We couldn’t afford a saddle. I think I was well into 16 or 17 before I had a saddle, yeah. I used to go do my flag racing and that bareback and … oh, well that was a different age.”

He added, “That was still at Break O’Day. Yep. That school today has moved down close to the hotel, and that would have been only half a mile from…

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