Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame


A call for 2019 nominations will open soon - watch this space


Benn Harradine

DOB: 14th October 1982


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Athletics (Discus Throw)


Bio: Born and raised in Newcastle, spending his childhood in Lake Macquarie, Benn made his first International debut at the 2006 Commonwealth Games at the age of 23; at his next Commonwealth Games, appearance in 2010 he won gold in discus and won silver at the World Cup in the same year. Benn is a three time Olympian, four-time Commonwealth Games athlete and competed in seven World Championships / Cups from 2009 – 2017. He broke the Australian record three times in his career, and his final appearance was in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where he finished 6th.





Brendan Sexton

DOB: 6th August 1985


Place of Birth: Maitland, NSW


Sport: Triathlon


Bio: Brendan began competing in triathlon when he was 15 years old in his home town of Maitland. He began to have success in 2007 where he placed 2nd in the Under 23 World Championships and then in 2011 where he placed 4th in the World Championships, won the Monterrey World Cup and was runner up in the Mooloolaba World Cup and Oceania Cup. Brendan represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics in London, placing 35th in the triathlon. Brendan placed 1st in the Liverpool, England triathlon in 2013 and was the runner up in the same triathlon in 2015. Brendan has competed at the European cup, the World Cup, Oceania Championships, triathlon Pan American cup, with many more races under his belt.    



Danny Buderus

DOB: 6th February 1978


Place of Birth: Taree, NSW


Sport: Rugby League


Bio: Danny was born in Taree and played junior football for Taree Red Rovers and the Australian Schoolboys Team. He made his debut in 1997 for the Newcastle Knights, with his first try scored in 1998. In 2001, Danny was selected for the NSW Country team, made his first International debut for Australia, and was a part of the NRL Grand Final Newcastle Knights winning team. Danny made his State of Origin debut in 2002, a year where he was awarded Dally M hooker of the Year and the Dally M Representative Player of the Year. Again, in 2004, he also received Dally M Medal for Player of the Year. Danny represented Australia from 2001 to 2006, NSW Country from 2001 – 2008 and NSW State of Origin from 2001 – 2006.




Kurt Fearnley

DOB: 23rd March 1981


Place of Birth: Cowra, NSW


Sport: Marathon


Bio: Kurt began wheelchair racing at the age of 14 years old. His career started with two Silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, before making his winning breakthrough at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with Gold in the 5000m and marathon races. Following the 2004 Games, he went on to win seven world championships and more than 20 marathons around the globe including New York, London and Chicago multiple times. Kurt is a three-time gold, seven silver and three bronze medalist across five Paralympic Games.




Laura Dunn

DOB:  10th November 1987


Place of Birth: Belmont, NSW


Sport: Rowing


Bio: Born in Belmont and growing up in Mount Hutton, Laura began rowing when she was 14 years old joining Hunter Rowing Club before moving to Newcastle Rowing Club and then UTS Rowing Club. Laura claimed a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships in the women’s lightweight quad - her first Senior A international competition. Before making the Australian team, Dunn won the open lightweight single scull at the 2012 NSW State Championships. Laura competed in the Australian Championships and over the years collected some significant results such as 2 gold’s in the U/23 lightweight quad sculls. Laura took a short break to then come back and collect 4 gold, 6 silver and a bronze in the open division at the Australian rowing championships. Laura was awarded NSW Rowing’s Oarswoman of the year for 2015.




Lauren Colthorpe

DOB: 25th October 1985


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Football


Bio: Lauren began her football career as a junior at the Warners Bay Panthers and Macquarie Reps moving through to selection in Northern NSW team for National Championships. In 2004, she joined the Under 20’s Australian team that competed in the Women’s Championships; she then joined the Westfield W-League in 2008 until 2011 with the Brisbane Roar. She was a part of the Matilda’s squad from 2005 – 2011; in 2005 Lauren made her debut for the Matilda’s, where they defeated China 3-1 in a friendly match. In 2007, Lauren was a part of Matildas when they progressed to the quarterfinals in the women’s world cup. During a quarter final match against Brazil, Lauren scored a header, which evened out the score to be 2-2, although Brazil eventually caught up to be 3-2. In 2010, she helped Australia win their first silverware in the Asian Cup, mainly playing out of right fullback for most of the campaign.




Matthew O’Callaghan

DOB: 19th August 1976


Place of Birth: Sydney, NSW


Sport: Rowing


Bio: Although Mathew was born in Sydney, he moved to Newcastle in the first year of his life. Matthew went to primary school in Newcastle before moving to High school in Sydney. He represented Australia at the World Championships in 1997, 1988 and 1999, placing 5th three times and fourth in 1998. Mathew has also competed at the Henley Royal Regatta (UK) in the Queen’s Cup and placed 1st, as well as placing 1st in the Commonwealth Regatta in 1999.





Ray Baxter

DOB: 24/04/1959


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Canoe / Kayaking


Bio: The Speers Point native is one of Hunter Valley PaddleSports Club's longest-standing and most decorated members. Ray joined the club (of which he is now president) when he was 10, and at the age of 16 made his international debut at the New Zealand Open, winning his age division. This was just the start of Baxter's long and successful kayaking career. In 1977 and 1983 he was in the Australian team that competed in the World Championships. Ray won the Australian championships in 1978 by the biggest margin to date in a slalom canoe race - 26 seconds. However, Baxter's most memorable competition came in 1980 when he represented Australia in the Europa Cup where he finished 12th. Unfortunately, Ray did not have the opportunity to qualifying for the Olympics between 1972 and 1992, as slalom canoeing was removed from the program.





Tim O’Callaghan

DOB: 30th May 1980


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Rowing


Bio: Tim joined the Newcastle Rowing Club in 1994 and competed for 4 years under the club. During Tim’s world championship endeavours, he finished within the top 10 every time with placings between 2nd – 7th. In 2004, Tim won the lightweight pair, four and quad at the Australian Championships, as well as in 2006 where he won the lightweight four at the Australian Championships. Tim represented Australia at the World Championships in 1999 - 2004 and 2006 where in 2004 finished 4th in the Lightweight Pair. In 2006 he finished 2nd in the Lightweight pair and four at the World Cup and 4th in Lightweight four at World Championships.




Ty Swadling

DOB: 26th September 1988


Place of Birth: Charlestown, NSW


Sport: Trampolining


Bio: Charlestown bred Ty began gymnastics when he was 12 years old training at Eastlake Trampoline Sports in Belmont. Ty has represented Australia at the World Championships 7 times between the years of 2007 and 2015. At the 2014 World Championships, Ty placed 6th in the final of the synchronised trampoline event alongside his brother Shaun Swadling. In 2006, he competed at the Indo Pacific Championships and placed 1st in the 17+-age division in the synchronised trampoline event and 1st in TRP as well as DMT.  Ty has competed at many other events such as the World Cup, Australian Youth Olympic Festival, Australian International Challenge and the Australian Championships, where he has placed exceptionally high over many years of competition.













Nadine Watson

DOB: 14/04/1972


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Aquathon/Biathlon


Bio: Nadine was born and raised in Newcastle NSW and attended St Francis Xavier College. She was a member of the Swansea-Belmont Surf Life Saving Club.


Nadine won both the Australian Open Women’s and U18 Aquathon Championships (5km run + 1km swim) held at Cronulla in May 1990. She was selected to represent Australia in the World Biathlon Championships (1km swim +10km run) held in Fiji In November 1990. Nadine was leading in the event when she collapsed due to heat stress and did not finish. Nadine was the point score winner in the 1990 Winter Biathlon Series (1 km swim + 5km run ), held on 29 July, 26 August & 23 September 1990 at Coogee Beach with 2 first places and 1 second. The competition included Commonwealth Games representatives Jackie Hallam and Michelle Jones.






David Bone

DOB: 02/04/1930


Place of Birth: Adamstown, NSW


Sport: Football (Goalkeeper)


Bio: David started his football career playing for Adamstown Junior Football Club, initially playing as a forward but chose to be a goalkeeper at the age of 15. He continued with Adamstown and first played first grade at the age of 17 in goals. From here, he moved to West Wallsend Football Club where it is estimated he played over 350 first division games. After this time, he was nominated as the President of Cardiff Junior Soccer Club. 


In 1954 David was selected to represent Australia in the Australia vs New Zealand exhibition match in Melbourne on August 14th were they lost 2-1. He went on to represent Australia in games against Rapid (Austria), China and F K Austria.


Further from his representative duties, David is well known for his coaching, where he lead many of his teams to championships in the Lake Macquarie Footbal Federation. As a coach he was able to develop a love of football to many young boys and some of them went on to represent the region and state. He was also the coach of the Under 13 Northern NSW Football team which won the Australian Championships in 1972 in Orange.


In 2010, David was presented his Australian Football Federation Cap for his participation in the Australian Team.






Kevin Pinkstone

DOB: 17/03/1942


Place of Birth: Kempsey, NSW


Sport: CarClub events, Circuit Racing, Hill Climbs, Drag Racing


Bio: Kevin Pinkstone was born in Kempsey before moving to Warrell Creek. At the age of 16 he left to pursue a job with the BHP in Newcastle. At 30 years of age, Kevin, operator of the Shell Toronto Auto Port had made it to the top in drag racing in performances alone.


Kevin’s interest in motorsports went back to his teenage years, before drag racing began in Australia. A circuit-racing addict Kevin bought a Sprite when he was 21 and raced that on the circuits and at hill climbs for the following 3 years.


Kevin then went on to move up into the upper echelons of the sport with the purchase of a Repso-Brabham 1500 TC open-wheeler-one of the most competitive formula two cars at the time.


During his time in motor sport, Kevin broke many records including holding four at one time (including Setting the Australian Record of 9.99 seconds for a Quarter Mile in 1971). In 1972 he won the prestigious Mr Dragracer title for the most points for the year nationally against his peers. Kevin held four national records over three classes in Drag Racing.


Over the years Kevin has also held many positions off the track in administrative roles. In 1974 Kevin was made an honorary member of the Rickshaw’s Hot Rod & Kustom Car Club (Newcastle). Perhaps his most prestigious title came in late 2016 when Kevin was made a Legend of the Quarter Mile in Sydney for his contribution to the sport of Drag Racing.





Herbert Jones

DOB: 08/08/1888


Place of Birth: Newcastle, NSW


Sport: Rugby Union


Bio: Herbert Jones was born in Carrington, Newcastle in 1888. He worked as a coal trimmer and labourer as did his brothers, on the local docks of Carrington. Herbert Jones enlisted in the AIF on 26 July 1915 at the age of 26 years and 11 months. He was posted to the 30 Battalion of the newly formed 5th Division and embarked on the troopship Beltana on 9 November 1915.


During his time in the AIF, Herbert was also a successful Rugby Union player. Herbert was a centre three quarter who played three internationals for Australia against New Zealand during the Australian tour to New Zealand in that year. He played as a centre in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin when New Zealand won the first two tests however, Australia took the honours 16-5 in the third clash in which Herbert Jones scored a try. He was also a member of the 23-man wallabies squad to tour the United States of America in 1912, although he did not play in the internationals against the United States team. He was the only Newcastle representative in the Australian team in 1912. Herbert also played 21 matches for the New South Wales Rugby representative side between 1911-1914. He played his early rugby for Carrington and local sides in the Newcastle area.


Herbert Jones was killed in Action by shellfire on 4 November 1916, being the only member of the Battalion killed that day.






Thomas Chapman

DOB: 01/01/1922


Place of Birth: Hebel, Queensland.


Sport: Boxing


Bio: Thomas Chapman fought his first fight at Durranbandi, Queensland on January 8th, 1939, against the local champion Jack Seaton.


It is that fight that started his career as a professional boxer. Blessed with good body strength and a solid punch, he set himself on travelling to Newcastle to train with legendary coach Tom Maguire. Before the end of 1939, Thomas has engaged in a dozen fights, drawing once, losing 4 and winning 7 by KO.


His career took off in the coming years, where opposition was becoming hard to find as people were increasingly becoming aware of how good he really was. 1944 saw Thomas in action with 2 early KO wins, and then the realisation of his ambition. On April 1st, he took on Victorian Eddie Miller and came out on top, becoming the 1944 Featherweight Champion.


In rounding off a career spread over almost 9 years. Thomas Chapman engaged in 72 fights, losing 20 on points, KOéd 4 times, winning only 9 on points and a further 39 by KO.




Rebecca Smyth

DOB: 08/02/1985


Place of Birth: Dubbo


Sport: Rugby Union


Bio: Rebecca only began playing Rugby in Newcastle when she joined the University of Newcastle Rugby Club in 2003. She developed her talent in Rugby in Newcastle and was first selected to represent NSW Country as a Corella in 2004 and then to represent Australia as a Wallaroo in 2006 while playing Rugby for the University.


Rebecca was selected in the Australian Women’s Rugby Team, the Wallaroos on three occasions from 2006 to 2014. She played in the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Canada, the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England and 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.


Rebecca also represented Australia in 2007 in a test against New Zealand in New Zealand; In 2009 in Samoa against Samoa for the World Cup qualifying match where she was awarded player of the match; In 2014 in New Zealand, against New Zealand and Canada, where she was awarded player of the tour; She was also a member of the successful Aussie Amazons team that competed in the Hong Kong 7s in 2010 and won the tournament.





Alan Rae

DOB: 12/09/1944


Place of Birth: Newcastle


Sport: Motorcar Racing


Bio: At the age of 16, Alan Rae commenced a very successful motorcycle and sidecar short circuit racing career.  Within 2 years he had won the NSW C grade Championship at Goulbourn and was elevated to A grade. After multiple wins, he switched from riding solo to racing a motorbike and sidecar outfit.


Alan’s racing ability and the cleverly designed outfit proved a formidable and almost invisible combinations.


In 1971, Alan won his first Australian title-Australian Junior Sidecar Champion. Also in that year, he won the NSW Junior Sidecar Championship and the NSW Senior Sidecar Championship. This prompted a photo on the cover of the 1971 Two Wheels motor cycle magazine.


A year later in 1972, Alan bought home both the Australian Junior and Sidecar Championship Titles.


All eyes followed Alan as he raced with precision and superior acceleration, closed gaps on the track time after time, and walked away with the trophies until his retirement a few years later to settle with his family. A very successful career from 1962-1974 culminated in an in invitation from Universal Pictures Hollywood to star in the film “The Sidecar Boys” which was filmed in Amaroo Park.




Lisa Wright

DOB: 22/01/1985


Place of Birth: Westmead, NSW


Sport: Surf Life Saving Beach Flags


Bio: Lisa was born in Westmead NSW but her family moved to Valentine NSW when she was 1 year old.


At the 2004 World Life Saving Championships (Rescue 2004) held in Viareggio Italy, Lisa won the Open Women’s Beach Flags event. Previously, she had won the Women’s U19 and Open Beach Flags finals at the 2003 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.


Other national / international achievements include: 2005 Australian Open Female Champion Lifesaver; Represented Australia winning the Beach Flags event in the two-day International Surf Challenge held on 22 and 23 March 2005. The Australian surf life-saving team made a flying start and was never headed in the competition that included teams from New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain and the United States; 2nd Open Beach Flags at the 2006 World Surf Life Saving Championships held in Lorne Australia.


Lisa graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree in 2006. In that time she achieved the following: Women’s U19 Beach Flags title at the 2004 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships; 2004 Lake Macquarie Sports Person of the Year; 2004 University of Newcastle Sports Person of the Year; 5 NSW Open Beach Flag titles; Selected in the 2006 AIS Skeleton squad; Placed 2nd in the 2007 Australian Open Female Champion Lifesaver competition.





Heath Ryan

DOB: 02/07/1958


Place of Birth: Newcastle


Sport: Equestrian


Bio: In 2008 Heath was a member of the Australian Dressage Team for the Beijing Olympic Games. Notably, he has also been 3 times Assistant Coach for the Australian Olympic Eventing team, 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics where Australia won Gold, 2000 Sydney Olympics where Australia again won Gold and then at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Heath has himself on 3 different occasions been the Australian Three Day Event Champion and on two different occasions the Australian Grand Prix Dressage Champion.


 Perhaps one of the most memorable Heath highlights so far was in 1990 at the WEG in Stockholm where Heath rode for Australia in the Eventing team.


Heath has also been involved training riders from many other countries. In 1998 Heath focussed up on coaching the Thai Eventing team and this team went on to win the Team Gold medal, the Individual Silver medal, and the Individual Bronze medal at the 1998 Asian Equestrian Games. 




For more information about the Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame, or to enquire about nominations for 2019, please click HERE.