The following Eology for Stan Bisset MC OAM MID was given by John Davis at Albert Park on 21 October 2010:
The last time I saw Stan was on the 20th of September; and he was, as usual, hungry for news about the Camp and Power House; his eyes always lit up just at the mention.
He was very proud to show me the draft of his biography by Bill James; which features on the top half of the cover the photograph that you have on the ‘Order of Service’ sheet.
And on the bottom half – a photograph of Stan charging up the Rugby field, ball under his arm, wearing the Power House Colors that were so dear to him.
Lord Somers Camp was life changing experience for Stan that he never forgot – and it instilled in him the values by which he lived his life of commitment, courage, humanity and humility.
Stan was a natural born athlete and by the time he first went to Camp in 1933 he was a strapping young man standing almost 6ft 2 in (187 cm) tall; weighing 13 ½ stone (85 kg.) of solid muscle.
He was a successful sportsman in many areas; representing Victoria at the javelin; he also played tennis, cricket and Australian Rules, he was a strong swimmer and a gymnast.
He tried out for St.Kilda VFL Australian Rules team but after a game of Rugby with the St.Kilda Rugby Club he decided that was the game for him.
Stan’s introduction to Lord Somers Camp is quite a story on its own!!
He had attended some weekend camps in 1933 and at the Easter Camp that year, a bee’s nest was being smoked out of the pulpit of the Bush Chapel as Stan was strolling down to be beach.
The scantily-clad Stan was stung in a rather delicate spot around the groin area which he always politely referred to as his “John Thomas”.
Stan attended first aid and ice packs were applied but after three days it was decided that the sting had to be lanced.
It was at that time; that Doc McAdam, with the surgical instrument delicately poised, formally invited Stan to become a member of Lord Somers Camp; on the condition, of course, that he would play Rugby for Power House.
Stan remarked that; under the circumstances he had little choice and so his involvement with Lord Somers Camp and Power House Rugby Club was sealed.
Stan soon became prominent with Power House and Victorian Rugby; in 1934, he was appointed Captain of the Power House 1st grade team and not long after Butch returned to Melbourne to join Lord Somers Camp and play Rugby.
This was the Golden Age for Power House Rugby and Victorian Rugby.
In 1937, the powerful Springboks toured Australia and played against the Victoria State team which included six Power House members as well as Weary Dunlop from the Melbourne Rugby Club.
Initially the Victorian team was overawed by the strength and size of the visitors. Weary, was a key player in the team due to his size, and Stan felt that he hadn’t been pulling his weight in the 1st half of the game. So, at the beginning of the 2nd half, Stan biffed Weary who thinking that a Springbok had hit him; lifted his effort and the home team outscored the visitors in the second half, eventually losing 45 – 11
Stan played well enough to be selected to play for the Australian XV against the Springboks in Brisbane the following week-end.
They lost dismally to the Springboks 36 – 3;
After the game a Sydney Morning Herald sports reporter and former Wallaby, Syd King, took Stan aside and told him that if he wanted to cement his place in the Wallabies as a second-row or flanker, he would have to put on 10 kilos extra.
He took the advice and in 1938 Power House captained by Stan, defeated the New South Wales ‘A’ Team on the Manly Oval and won the ‘A’ Grade Premiership in Melbourne just five years after the Club’s foundation.
Doc’s recruitment of Stan had proved to be very wise!!
When the 1939 Wallabies team to tour England was announced, three Victorians, Stan, Andy Barr and Max Carpenter; all men from Power House Rugby Club, were selected symbolizing the pinnacle of achievement by Power House as few Victorians have since played Rugby for Australia.
As you know, the touring team arrived in England on the 3rd of September; the day war was declared between England and Germany and no games were played.
Over-shadowing Australia in the late 30’s was the threat of war in Europe,
Doc MacAdam was acutely aware that Australia should be prepared for such an event and, in spite of resistance, Lord Somers Camp established ‘C’ Company of the 14th Battalion as a training unit in 1937;
Within weeks 250 members of Camp had joined up with Phil Rhoden as second in command; Stan and Butch were lowly privates.
It was a result of this that Phil Rhoden, Stan, Butch and many other Power House men enlisted with the 2nd 14th when war broke out.