Vale Jo Richardson

Jo was introduced to the club by brother “Big” Jim (2 x premiership player, 1 x SCUM premiership coach) in the late 80’s. From the lows of the “Top SCUM” premiership in 1990 (very bad SCUM) to the highs of the 1996 A1 flag, and through the recent successes of the Chardonnay Socialists, Jo was a constant, as the numerous photos of Jo at the AUFC will confirm. Many hundreds of Blacks footballers over the years will attest to Jo’s expertise, care and dedication. In recognition of her 30+ consecutive years as Blacks physio, Jo was inducted into AUFC royalty by way of the Hall of the Fame in 2016, along with another towering (in his case, literally) AUFC icon, H V (Long ‘un) Wilson. Jo was the first (and, to date, only) woman elevated to that honour, was the 8th inductee overall, and is one of only 11 in the 117 year history of the club to reach such heights.

Initiated by the Chardonnays, the club has wholeheartedly endorsed the naming of the AUFC Volunteer of the Year award in honour of Jo. It will be known as the Jo Richardson Volunteer of the Year Award. It is one of the most prestigious awards at the Blacks, as we rely so heavily on the generosity of our volunteers and they are in turn highly valued. The unanimous feeling was that Jo absolutely exemplified the AUFC volunteer spirit, and that to name the award in her honour would be a fitting and lasting tribute to one of the AUFC all time greats. There will be a new honour board dedicated to the Volunteer award(s). This will be an enduring physical reminder of Jo’s incredible dedication over 30+ years to the Blacks. Jo was overwhelmed (insofar as Jo could ever be overwhelmed – stoicism was one of her most endearing trademarks) to be told this last week. She expressed, as she often did, that she felt she drew far more from the club than she ever gave. While that may well be true – it most often is in the case of those who give authentically selflessly – it is also true that Jo gave much of her life to the Blacks. We hope that Jim, and Jo’s wider family, will draw comfort from knowing that Jo’s legacy will be remembered and celebrated annually, and whenever the honour board comes into view; and that all volunteers will draw inspiration from Jo’s selfless example.

I speak on behalf of the Adelaide University football club, aka the Blacks, aka (consistently with today’s evident theme), a social club loosely based around football; where Jo was a reliable constant through 4 decades and 2 Millenia. Jo was introduced to the club by brother Jim in the late 80’s. What I mean by that is she answered Jim’s desperate plea and took on the demanding physio role for the “Top Scum”, the bottom team at the club. The SCUM’s remit is to lose, every week, in order to make the other teams at the Blacks feel better. Jim evidently didn’t get that memo. Instead, he brazenly coached the top SCUM to the premiership in 1990, with Jo at his side. Jo remained a physio at the Blacks even through her illness, right through this season’s final series with her beloved Chardonnay Socialists, the club’s C grade team. During well over 30 consecutive years at the Blacks, Jo featured as physio in numerous premierships, and shared many memorable moments, fun and joy, with many hundreds of the Blacks family. The numbers, of course, don’t tell the full story. Old mate Darien O’Reilly noted, it was Jo’s grace under pressure that really marked her out. She was rarely flustered. She was solid as, reliable, expert, stoic, and she really cared. Jo wasn’t much given to extravagant displays of emotion. So, it was somewhat surprising when she and fellow trainer, Blacks stalwart and great mate Janne Filmer stripped off and joined the boys in the showers after the 96 A1 grand final victory. I’d suggest Janne was key to this dare, although as Darien also notes, Jo did have a mischievous streak. Jo also credits Janne with having encouraged her to stay at the club when she was considering giving it away about 10 years ago. Many premierships later, and having become a pivotal cog in the Chardonnays unique cultural machine, Jo never looked back. Not only did she tend to the injured, Jo ran the boundary, led the peloton in the many Tour de Chards events, did the goal umpiring, and led the suit and soup days in her wonderfully distinctive red suit. She did it all with class, panache, and a full-faced smile. Jo was awarded life membership for enduring service to the Blacks in 2012. In 2018, in recognition of her singular contribution to the Blacks, Jo was inducted into the AUFC hall of fame. She was the first and still only woman, the 8th inductee overall, and presently one of only 11 in the 117-year history of the club to have received this honour. This is testament not only to her dedicated service, but also to the respect and admiration she inspired among the AUFC community, and the esteem in which she is held. She was truly an exemplar. A proposal initiated and funded by the Chardonnays and unanimously endorsed by the Executive committee, the AUFC Volunteer of the Year award will – from 2023 onwards – be known as the Jo Richardson award, and will be recognised on a new honour board. This is a highly valued award, for our club would not exist without its volunteers. To quote from Jo’s funeral memento: “Volunteers don’t get paid because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless”. This would be a worthy quote for the new honour board. We hope Alan and Jim and other members of Jo’s family will find comfort in knowing that Jo’s legacy – her incredible enduring selflessness – will be recorded for all time, will be celebrated, and will provide tangible inspiration for all volunteers at the world’s greatest football club; a club made all the greater for Jo’s enormous contribution to it.

Vale Jo, from all your friends at the Blacks. 🖤

Michael Dadds # 36

In 2022 she bequeathed a significant monetary contribution to the AUFC in her will.

Address

Adelaide University Football Club
Ground Floor, George Murray Building
Gate 10, Victoria Drive
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

The Blacks have always stayed committed to the fine principles of University Sport and you can rest assured that the man or woman alongside you is also playing for the love of the club and the game in its purest form. It makes success all the more glorious.

The Blacks have always stayed committed to the fine principles of University Sport and you can rest assured that the man or woman alongside you is also playing for the love of the club and the game in its purest form. It makes success all the more glorious.