Wellington Scottish Athletics Club

Running and Walking in Wellington, New Zealand

A short history

Photo by Kiwichris at Wikimedia

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 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. 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.

Evening Post 27 April 1915

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, with 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 decades to around 250 in the past few years. In 2015, we celebrated our first centenary as an athletics club.

Historic records