Rupert Blackley started walking in the 1920’s and soon involved as both a competitor and an official within the club. He was more suited to the longer distances and was noted to be a keen competitor.
He accompanied Alf Robinson on his famous walk from Sydney to Melbourne in 1931. Both walkers were hoping to complete the distance and were accompanied by masseur J. Watts on a bicycle. Unfortunately Rupert fell ill at the half way mark and had to abandon his attempt. That left Alf to continue on alone to complete the distance in 12 days.
The 2 photos, both taken in 1931, show the 2 sides of Rupert Blackley. The first shows him training with a group of other walkers including Alf Robinson. The second shows him (on right with hat on) with J. Hynes, checking competitors in a VAWC five mile handicap race.
He was Treasurer from 1931-1936 and became Secretary in 1933 when Alf Robinson stood down. He retained the role as Secretary till, in 1937, he was forced to resign due to ill health.
He was awarded a life membership in 1938 and returned to the position of Secretary in 1939 for one year before stepping down to the General Committee. He was still on the Committee when the club was disbanded in 1941.
He died during the war years and was not able to witness the rebirth of the club and the resurgence of walking in the post war period.
The Blackley Memorial Trophy was instituted in the late 1940’s and was awarded to the winner of the Club 20 Mile Championship. In the 1970’s it was changed to recognize the winner of the Club 40 km championship.