The Club Industry lost a genuine champion early on Wednesday, October 10, when Terry Condon, aged 73, died – surrounded by his devoted family – suddenly due to a pancreas-related illness. This tribute, written by the CMAA’s Peter Sharp remembers Terry and all he stood for.
The line between family, friends, colleagues and staff was blurred almost all of Terry Condon’s working life. There were few people who did not become part of TC’s “extended family” in the more than 60 years since he left Lismore for Sydney to become a telephone technician.
Members of CMAA Federal Executives, Federal Councils, thousands of CMAA members and his office staff found a place in a heart as big as his smile and his passion for life.
TC’s death was a massive shock to everyone who knew the man enjoying every day of his well-earned retirement to his family home in Sunset Boulevard in West Tweed Heads.
During speeches at his Testimonial Dinner on August 21, 2011, almost every speaker referred to Terry’s family values, love and respect for his wife Helen and his joy and pride in his children David, Deborah and their families.
For more than 15 years, Terry commuted from the banks of the Tweed River to CMAA offices at Botany, Auburn, then Sydney Olympic Park, flying out Sunday night or Monday’s first flight, returning each Friday evening.
Occasionally, he has stayed an extra night in Sydney to watch one of his thoroughbreds go around at Randwick, Rosehill or Warwick Farm. His favourite galloper, Grizz, which won the Grand Nation Hurdle in April 2011, was the most successful of “his” horses over the years, although Mossanay and Caesars’ Princess kept his eye on the form and trainer’s reports in retirement.
Although the Balmain, now Wests Tigers, are his rugby league passion, Terry “shared the love” with South Sydney, Parramatta and his most recent acquisition as a season ticket holder with the Gold Coast Titans.
In his own speech, Terry thanked his family – especially Helen – for their love and support in allowing him to follow his dreams.
“One reason that I am so proud to have my family here this evening is so they could get to know my other family, the Club Industry.
“I thank my family for their support and inspiration over the last 37 years during my time in the Club Industry. Without them, I would not be standing before you this evening. “
Author Anthony Brandt perhaps best summed TC’s philosophy for everything in his life … “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”
It was quite a journey. So many great stories of success and achievement start with the words … from humble beginnings.
From leaving his Lismore family home at 16 for Sydney to be a trainee telephone technician to CMAA Executive Officer, Terry Condon saw and did plenty during his 50 years in the Club Industry.
Terry was “on the road” during 2011, saying goodbye to members and Club Industry trade friends in all of the CMAA’s Zones across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.
The “farewell tour” culminated in TC’s Tribute Dinner when more than 300 family, friends, colleagues and industry associates gathered at Darling Harbour for a night of tributes, fun and friendship.
“This has been a labour of love,” Terry told gatherings of friends during his “tour”.
He said he was fortunate to have experienced the advice that author Jim Fox’s father offered: “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
TC was Kellyville Country Club’s first Secretary Manager and the original Mungerie Park golf course.
As with a lot of club career stories in those days, Terry had no connection to club management, except for the fact that he was running the quickly growing Australian Postal Institute (API) Rugby League Competition and it was looking for a permanent venue, rather than compete for grounds in the city.
Despite his lack of club management experience, Terry’s API bosses recognised his organisational and interpersonal talents and, in 1974, decided he was the man to run the new club.
“I was spending so much time organising the football that the API bosses reckoned I could run the club and the sports side of things at the same time,” Terry said. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I loved every minute of it and getting into clubs was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
The API Club was registered on June 1, 1970, and Terry opened the doors of Kellyville Country Club in September 1974. The API relinquished its interest in the club in 1991.
Five years later, Kellyville Country Club paid $1.75 million for the API’s 25 acres, including the clubhouse, car park and four holes.
It was about that time that Terry, who had been an active CMAA member since September 16, 1974, including Federal Vice President from 1992 to 1996, accepted Federal President Jim Henry’s invitation to become the Association’s Executive Officer on August 12, 1996. He was just two weeks short of serving 22 years as Kellyville’s Secretary Manager.
Terry’s CMAA contribution had already been so significant that he was honoured with Life Membership in March, 1996.
“I had a great appreciation of how important the CMAA was in the working and personal lives of club managers and, after 22 years at Kellyville, it was a good time and a great opportunity for me to take a new career direction,” Terry added.
A plaque, presented at his Tribute Dinner, recorded Terry’s 37 years as a CMAA member, 15 years as Executive Officer and his personal and professional contribution to developing the professional standing of club managers.
Terry ranked his CMAA Life Membership atop his list of milestones that included …
- the CMAA raising more than $3 million for the Ted Noffs Foundation;
- the “infamous” CMAA Fairstar Cruise;
- achieving sponsorship of more than $1 million annually for club manager education;
- relocating the CMAA offices from Botany to Auburn and Sydney Olympic Park;
- educational tours to America and Asia with the associated life-long friendships;
- the NSW Poker Machine Tax street marches against the Carr-Egan Government.
Terry lived up to the words of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
A job well done, a retirement well earned, a life well lived.
CMAA Federal President David Hiscox described Terry Condon as ‘ the most influential members the Association has ever had shaping the Association as a leading player in the club industry in Australia’
CMAA Executive Officer Ralph Kober said ‘ Terry had a profound impact on everyone that he met over an illustrious career spanning decades. Terry’s legacy is that the CMAA continues to be the leading advocate for club managers’