The club was founded on 10 March 1915 at Barber’s Buildings, 125 Cuba Street, Wellington by Walter (Pop) Ballantyne. A small plaque on Cuba Mall marks the spot today.
Ballantyne was born in Galashiels, a town on the Gala Water River in the border region of the Scottish Lowlands. The first recorded athletics meeting, the Scottish Border Games of T Rowan’s, took place in this border region in 1827. The founding meeting of our club was held in the rooms of the Scottish Society of Wellington. These links explain why the early members chose Scottish Harriers as the club name.
The first of the Stevens clan, Alf Stevens, joined the club in 1927, arriving here from Southland. We have now had four generations of Stevens as members.
Over the years, Scottish members and teams have won local and national titles on the track, roads and cross country. Over the decades, the strength and success of the club would grow and then ease back. The war years, for example, were a lean time.
In the early decades, harrier running was a senior men-only sport (as evidenced in the naming of our interclub and club races after the senior men’s trophies). However, in the 1930s Scottish set up a junior men’s squad (late teens). Women began joining the track and field side of the club by 1933, but they would have to wait a good 30 years to be accepted in cross country. This happened in the inaugural NZ championships in 1966. But it was only around 2000 that the women’s side of the club began to grow in strength.
Club membership has grown over the past decade from about 200 in 2000 to around 300 in the past few years. Leading up to 2015, you will hear more about how we intend to celebrate our first centenary as an athletics club.
The Scottish clubhouse is located at Prince of Wales Park, Mt Cook, Wellington, which is near the Te Whaea National Dance School and indoor sports centre. Vehicular access is gained from Salisbury Terrace. Parking becomes difficult at the height of the rugby season as we are next to two rugby grounds.
Built in 1970, the clubhouse is used for a number of the club runs and social activities during the season. In February 2010, it suffered a major fire and most of the upstairs area was rebuilt.
We have the Poneke Dojo Karate Club as a long-term tenant in the clubhouse. Scottish members and karate club members have to fit their activities around the others’ programmes. Club members are able to use the clubhouse at most times for training, with Sunday mornings being the most popular time. Access to the clubhouse is by a combination lock. Just remember to turn off the lights when you leave!