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Baker brother’s legacy lives on at the Roos

Baker brother’s legacy lives on at the Roos

The Queanbeyan rugby league story is very much a tale of two teams. The boys-and now girls- in sky blue from Seiffert and their rivals across town, the Kangaroos from the west. In recent years the culture and community of the Queanbeyan Kangaroos has strengthened the integrity and success of the club, and it’s all been inspired by one man- Club President Ian Baker. 

Ian is the eldest of the infamous five ‘Baker brothers’ (hats off to Mum Barbara) Ian, David, Neil and twins Micheal and Ashley that grew up in Queanbeyan and would leave an indelible mark on its sporting history. 

The Baker family at Mum Barbara’s 80th Birthday. From left to right: Ashley, David, Barbara, Gordon, Ian, Neil and Micheal

Ian led his four brothers to rugby league when he made the decision to play for the newly developed Queanbeyan Kangaroos Football Club in 1969. Remarkably the Baker brothers were not the first set of five brothers in their family to rise to Queanbeyan sporting fame; 


Because I’m the eldest- I was at that age where Mum wanted me to do something. There were no computers back then, it was just throwing stones in the water or making your own fun. I grew up in Callum Street, and in ’72 we moved to Stornaway Road. My grandparents lived down on Ross Road and Pop was football mad- whether it was AFL or rugby league”

He and all his brothers- there were 5 brothers- prior to the war were all playing with Queanbeyan Tigers on a Saturday and then they were playing rugby league for the Blues on a Sunday. Then they went off to war, Bubby the youngest got shot and killed in New Guinea by a sniper. All the other brothers came back and they all continued to play a lot of sport, so Mum thought it was a good idea that I should get into playing sport too” Ian said. 

The five Williams brothers, Arthur, Ron, Harold, Jim and Roy.

Ian, being only six years old, had never played any type of sport. He spent all his time playing with his brothers or the neighborhood kids, but Mum Barbara encouraged him to venture further out into the Queanbeyan community; 

“Mum asked me what I wanted to do, and I had no idea. So she took me to the Town Park to train with the Tigers. The following week she took me to Taylor Park, to the train with the Blues, and I don’t know why, but I just didn’t want to be there. Mum knew that the Roos had just started and she took me up to Freebody. When I got back in the car that day, I said ‘this is where I want to be’”. 

Ian Baker in his Queanbeyan Kangaroos uniform, 1986

Ian signed up to play for the Roos not knowing that it would lead to a life long relationship with the club,  not only for him, but the whole Baker family. His four brothers following his lead, with youngest brothers Micheal and Ashley starting their Roos careers at just 4 years old. Mum Barbara somehow found time between driving all five young boys to games and washing their football gear, to volunteer for the club,

“Mum decided she would join as a Committee Member for the Senior Roos. So she was Secretary of the Juniors and Committee Member of the Seniors. Once all the boys were in the Seniors, Mum took up a higher role there and she was Secretary for them for a number of years. Mum did all the running around, and I don’t know how she did it. Just this year Dad at 87 and Mum at age 84 have volunteered to run the canteen. The fact that they’re still willing to help the club out at that age and after all these years is just remarkable” Ian said. 


Ian’s daughter Chloe and son Glenn in their knitted Roos jumpers in 1992

Ian would go on to play in two premiership winning teams for the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and be the first ever winner of the prestigious Les McIntyre medal in 1987. In 1993 all five Baker brother contributed to a premiership win, an ultimate underdog story when the Jerrabomberra Diggers thrashed the Bogong Warriors 28-8. 

Three years ago, 20 years after retiring from first grade football, Ian was approached by Queanbeyan Roos Club President Leigh Kiely to take on the role of Football Club President. 

“In 2020 when it all unfolded and they asked if I’d be interested in running the club. I knew if I did it I wanted to bring the family orientation back into it. If you go through that 1985 side that won the premiership, in that team, there were 3 sets of brothers. There were the Bakers, the Bachettos and the Christous. Those families made up six players out of the whole team. Back in those days, everyone that played in that side lived in Queanbeyan. We trained together, we lost together, we won together, drank together, we celebrated together.. We did everything together”. 

Two teams lead to success by Ian Baker, Top: The 1983 premiership winning team. Bottom: The 2013 premiership winning team

This year Ian has upped the ante, introducing a weekly trivia question about the history of the Roos Club, for the players and members of the community. If the players fail to answer the question, they are each fined five dollars as a penalty for disrespecting the club. 

“When I came back I wanted to bring that closeness back to the club, make it family orientated and look after our juniors as well as our seniors. The first thing I wanted to do was to get everyone back involved. My first agenda was get the blokes like Sammy Vucago, Wayne Brownley, get them back into the club and watch these kids play. They old boys used to go watch me play, Noel Cummins, Billy Sullivan, Kerry Netting and all them guys, let’s bring the guys back that started the club, show them some respect and keep them involved ” Ian said. 

This weekends commemorative jerseys, featuring half of each of the 1983 and 2013 jerseys along with their photos

This weekend the Roos will host a Reunion Round this weekend at their game against the Gungahlin Bulls. The club will be commemorating 40 years since they won the 1983 premiership and 10 years since they won in 2013- both times against the Queanbeyan Blues.  The double celebration will be marked with a marquee serving food and drinks, in prime position, right on the half way line, between the two opposing teams benches. Before the game the former players will hand over the special Heritage Round jerseys that feature half of each team’s jerseys from ‘83 and ‘13. The one of a kind commemorative jerseys will be auctioned off after the game on Saturday. 

The Queanbeyan Kangaroos remain undefeated in the 2023 season. Ian attributes his strong commitment to family culture along with key signings- including former Raiders players Sam Williams and Sia Soliola- to the strength of the club today, “Sam Williams, he has a full-time job now, but guess what he’s still out in the community going to schools and talking to kids, he’s been a great asset to the club. He’s very history oriented.  

As long as I’m President this is how I want to run things, and people might think it’s selfish, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the players and the history. I get a lot of appreciation from the old boys telling me I’m doing a good job, but I’m just doing what I think needs to be done”. 

Get down and support the Queanbeyan Kangaroos this weekend from 1pm at Freebody Oval- you might see a bit of history being made yourself.

About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.