Chick Elson: not the type to give up

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Malcolm "Chick" Elson.
Camera IconMalcolm "Chick" Elson. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

A punctured lung, broken leg, jaw, ribs and several broken fingers are just a few of the injuries Boyanup-Capel-Dardanup Football Club legend Malcom “Chick” Elson has suffered in his career.

Some of the memories of a 257 game career came flooding back when he caught up with mates at the recent Boyanup Capel Dardanup Football Club reunion.

The games record holder for his club until recently, Chick’s long-standing involvement in football kicked off from the young age of eight.

“For boys, football was the only sport you could play in the country,” he explained.

“In 1969 I started playing league and finished in 1985, during that time I played more than 250 games. “I coached the reserves in 1988 but the league coach resigned half way through the season so I ended up being playing coach of the reserves, walking off at three-quarter time and coaching the league.”

One of his fondest memories was the 1970 grand final.

“Getting into the grand final that year was a great achievement, but probably one of my worst memories is that we lost it after being in front for most of the game,” he laughed.

“But like all sports, the best thing about it is all the mates you meet.

“There would be hundreds of people you meet and become friends with.

“I still play basketball with all the oldies, we go to Country Week and play the young kids, it’s a bit of fun and keeps us busy.”

Chick said he did the “normal thing” and went to school.

“I didn’t like it, but had to go,” he laughed. “I also worked part-time as the local posty in Capel and in Year 11 he ended up leaving so I applied for his job and got it.

“For about eight months I did that before getting into postal clerk training school in Manning and then moving to Esperance where I worked for a while.”

After a stint in Esperance, he felt it was time to go home.

“My sister phoned and said there was a job going for Mineral Sands in Capel as a surveyor’s assistant, in those days if you knew someone or they knew you, you got a job,” he said.

“I left Esperance and went to Capel to become a surveyor’s assistant then got involved in some mine planning.”

Being heavily involved in environmental work, Chick stumbled upon earth covered houses and decided to build one of his own.

“There was a guy in Boyanup called Dr Bob Lawrence who built an earth bermed house,” he said.

“He designed this chrysanthemum looking roofthat opened up, it was amazing.

“So I went and saw him, got talking and thought this would be a good idea, retire in a house you don’t have to maintain.

“At the time I thought it was a great place to settle down and retire, but unfortunately my wife and I split up and I had to sell it.”

Despite some tough battles on the football field, Chick was faced with probably the toughest one when he was told he had cancer about 10 years ago.

“I’ve had three lots of radiation and one lot of chemotherapy,” he said. “The cancer hasn’t taken over any one time, it keeps moving around, but the oncologists say if you can survive 10 years with cancer, you’re a miracle.

“It’s just one of those things I guess.

“It’s a bit like cards, you either play with the hand you’re dealt or chuck him in and give up and I’d rather keep playing the game.”

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