Flashback Friday Photos | Opening of Endeavour Field and arrival of Tommy Bishop gave Sharks bite

The heading above the photo in the Leader on April 1, 1969 read "A moment in time".

That "moment" was the official opening the previous weekend of Cronulla-Sutherland's new home ground, Endeavour Field, which came to be known as Shark Park.

Spectators are seen lying back on the grass at the southern end, with a makeshift grandstand providing the main seating.

Photos and stories in the Leader's archives record those early days at Woolooware.

Cronulla-Sutherland entered the top grade in 1967, but played  at Sutherland Oval while Endeavour Field was prepared.

The first game took place on June 30, 1968, but the official opening was delayed till the start of the 1969 season.

"It is a great day for Cronulla-Sutherland to have such a magnificent arena in such splendid shape," said Bill Buckley, the president of the NSW Rugby League.

"The work that has been put into the ground and the promotion of the code by a great band of workers must make them proud on a day like this.

"The growth of the code in the shire has surpassed all expectations that the Rugby League had and it should not be far distant when Cronulla will be among the leading teams."

The Sharks struggled on the football field, despite some impressive wins, in the first few years.

But, the signing in 1969 of the great Great Britain and St Helens halfback Tommy Bishop, and the subsequent arrival of Cliff Watson and addition of local talent, took them to the  grand final in 1973.

The start of work in 1973 on a $2.3 million three-level leagues club also provided a boost for fans.

However, the club ran into financial trouble and work stopped, with the first stage not opening until April, 1977.



Every Friday we delve into the Leader archives to embark on some time travel.

We will bring you photographs of a news event from 59 years of Leader news coverage that you may or may not recall.

Flashback Friday submissions are also welcomed.

Feel free to share your recollections with us on our Facebook page @SutherlandShireStGeorgeNews or email leaderletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au