From a desert, from the driest continent, from this land at the opposite end of the globe ...

... as remote as could be in the hockey world ...

... came one of the world’s oldest winter sports trophies.

A cool tradition, a dream of champions, and a story we owe it to our children to tell.

Legends of Australian Ice.

[ ICE HOCKEY ] The First New South Wales Goalie

Cyril Herbert Dodson Lane (1888 - 1915)

Thus by 6 o'clock the hill had apparently been taken; but the process had been far more difficult than the inaccurate maps had led the staff to believe. ...between 'B1' and 'C' there existed, not the straight sap which was shown on the maps, but a network of crooked trenches, ...and must therefore be blocked and held. This task would presumably be carried out by the third line of the central attack - 100 men of the 18th Australian Battalion under Major Lane. But this line, starting from the open near the sunken road and coming up the lower slopes of the hill, had been met by a whirlwind of shrapnel and small-arms fire which the previous lines had aroused. The troops were inexperienced, and their progress slower and less effective than that of the [NZ] mounted rifles. The gallant Lane with some of his men reached Trench '3,' and was killed in the bomb fighting which ensued near its eastern end.'
— Bean Diary Volume 2 p743, 752 quoted.

Every man in the battalion would have followed him to the ends of the earth after the first charge. He was a fine officer."
— Obituary for Cyril Lane by Corporal Rose, Storeman, 18 AIF, Gezirs Overseas Base, Cairo, 19 January 1916.

There was still something contemptible about the way the 18th Battalion had been sent out to die."
— Les Carlyon, Gallipoli, Macmillan, Sydney, 2001, p. 485.

IN 1924, CHARLES BEAN, Gallipoli veteran and Australia's official war historian, would describe the battle fought on Kaiajik Aghala (Hill 60) at Anzac in August 1915 "as one of the most difficult in which Australian troops were ever engaged". [1] Like many of the actions fought on Gallipoli, the battle was confused and inconclusive. This year, the centenary of Anzac, is also the centenary of the death of Major Lane, who was killed in the battle of Hill 60 at the age of 27.

Cyril Lane was one of the few men in the world — one of just two goalies in the world — to contest the first Goodall Cup, the champagne trophy of Australian ice hockey. Born Cyril Herbert Dodson at Bondi on February 23rd 1888, he was the son of Herbert J Dodson and his wife Kate Eliza Johnson. [8] They lived in Barrona, the two-storey Italianate Victorian villa at No 1 Ocean Street, corner of Martins Avenue. The property is known as Mandalay today.

1st Goodall Cup Team to represent New South Wales, 1909. Lane is standing second from left. New South Wales won the first of three matches, 1-2, and Lane in goal along with Arthur Cuthbertson and captain Norm Ducker were their best players. Image from Table Talk newspaper, Melbourne.

Cyril's father died the year after Cyril was born, [10] and his mother remarried a few years later to Herbert William Lane. [1, 7] His step-father had emigrated to Victoria from Norfolk in 1881, then moved to New South Wales in 1890 where he worked as an auctioneer and later ran a furniture business. He served as alderman of Armidale in the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, from 1910 to 1917, including time as mayor between 1914 and 1915.

Cyril went to The Armidale School (TAS) and Sydney Technical College. He was a regular at Sydney Glaciarium from its opening in 1907 with his step brother and sister, Lionel and Phyllis. He represented New South Wales in 1909 when he was 21, then again the following year for the second Cup, both won by Victoria. He also refereed local club hockey but he was really a career soldier. The TAS Cadet Unit was part of the Australian Army Cadet Corps back then, and it still is. He had spent 6 years in Senior Cadets and 8 years in the CMF, today's Army Reserve, before the outbreak of war, which found him adjutant of the 21st (Woollahra) Australian Infantry Regiment.

He was made a captain of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN+MEF), and set sail for Rabaul in German New Guinea on August 19th 1914 on the transport vessel Berrima. Onboard he was appointed adjutant to Colonel William Holmes and his Brigade staff who led the Force. This was the first time Britain called upon Australia to train, supply and command her own forces in defence of the empire. Ice hockey player Jim Kendall and rink promoter Jimmy Bendrodt also later served in its Tropical Unit. It was ultimately successful with limited casualties.

Group portrait in the Officers' Mess of Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN+MEF), Sep 1914. In the front row, Capt Cyril Lane is third from the right and Colonel William Holmes is fourth from the left.

Immediately after discharge, Lane volunteered to continue on with the 18th Battalion AIF. Holmes was given command of the 5th Brigade, with the rank of brigadier general, and Lane went with him once again, this time to Anzac in June 1915. But first he married. It was a military wedding performed by Canon Bellingham at St Phillips on Church Hill in central Sydney, just a few weeks after his return from Rabaul. His bride was Lyn Maclurcan, the third daughter of Hannah Maclurcan, owner of the Wentworth Hotel on Church Hill. [1, 7] Just months later, on June 26th, he was promoted to major and left for Egypt, the veteran commander of B Company.

Lyn Maclurcan and Cyril Dodson Lane at the beach, summer 1914-15. Image courtesy of John Maclurcan.

The voyage took a month and after just 3 weeks of training his men he received word to prepare for Gallipoli. He led them across the pebbly beach on the morning of August 20th knowing they were not battle-ready. Two days later they were ordered to the front line. Hill 60 strategically overlooked most of the Anzac positions and its occupiers had control over two water wells. Most of his men were unaware they were to assault it until just before dawn.

Lane's friend, Sydney Goodsell, led the first wave over the top at 5.00am and the second wave followed shortly after. He led the third wave towards Goodsell from the left. After a brief discussion with Goodsell he ordered his men east along their trench, continuing for the next three hours until he received orders at 10.00am to retreat. This was never confirmed but Lane still ordered the withdrawal and his company frantically crossed fifty metres of exposed ground to get back behind their lines.

Lane lost most of his men in the first attempt to take Hill 60. Their bombs had not yet arrived and attacking only with bayonet the Battalion suffered 383 casualties from 750 men. They had recuperated for 5 days when they received new orders to assault the hill again with a regiment of Connaught Rangers (light horse attacking on foot) and a New Zealand Rifles brigade. Lane volunteered to lead the attack and called for 100 others. Every soldier who was not wounded volunteered, so he chose from among them, then led them over the top to the enemy trench to achieve the centre objectives with the 300 men of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR).

The second assault that proved fatal. Lane's men were in the centre with the New Zealanders. He reached Trench 3 with some of his men.

Attack and counter-attack continued for days, from the 27th until the 29th when the last assault on Hill 60 finally ended. Lane reached Trench 3 with some of his men but the bomb fight that ensued was one-sided. They lobbed back Turk grenades until their enemy just let the fuses burn down longer. Lane stood up on the parapet of a trench preparatory to leading the men out and was shot by machine gun fire at least eight times around and over the heart.

The trench had been held by the Turks, seized by the 18th Battalion, and handed-over to part of the 19th. Lane was buried by Captain Edgely and his personal effects given to Colonel Chapman, his Battalion commander. [12] Barely 100 men of the original 750 who had marched around from Bauchop's Hill on 21 August were left uninjured after two charges made in a week of action. The Australian 18th Battalion alone was reduced to one third of its original strength, and Lane was its only officer to be killed.

Goodsell had followed Lane into battle and he later described the experience as similar to that of the first attack, "men dropped like flies". After charging a Turkish trench, about twenty men remained of the 100 who had attempted to cross no-man's-land. He described a fearful scene: "Shrapnel was falling everywhere, including in the trench, and smashing up the bodies in a frightful way and causing a number of casualties to [his] party." [13]

Lane's step-father, then mayor of Armidale, had just been elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Armidale, a position he held until 1920. On news of Lane's death, the acting Premier, Mr Cann, passed a resolution of sympathy in state parliament. As unprecedented as that was, the British did not award a decoration for the recommendation of gallantry made on November 16th. Lane's daughter was born four months after he was killed. His friend Goodsell received the French Croix de Guerre the following year. His step-brother, Lionel, was killed in action in 1917.

In a picture on the roof of Sydney's Wentworth Hotel five years earlier stands Cyril with his brother-in-law, Charles Maclurcan, a future national skating champion. A third man in the photograph has them in a bear hug. His name is Arthur Cuthbertson and he too represented New South Wales in those first two Goodall Cup squads. The same age as Lane, he was born in 1888 to parents William and Edith Cuthbertson of Burwood, Sydney. He attended Newington College, studied medicine at Sydney University, then enlisted in June 1916 as a corporal with the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion AIF.

Left to right: Lane, Cuthbertson and Maclurcan on the roof of the Wentworth, Church Hill, Sydney, 1910. Image courtesy John Maclurcan.

He saw action at Passchendaele, the Somme and Messines. Demobilised in Britain, he remained there to finish his degrees at Edinburgh and Glasgow, then take-up the position of ship's doctor on Waipara with the London-based British India Line. He returned regularly to visit family in Sydney, in 1922 and again in 1926, until he was knocked down and killed by a London taxi cab. [6]

Lane and Maclurcan had more than ice sports and family in common. When war broke out, they both lived at the Wentworth Hotel. They were partners in the automobile importing business, Maclurcan and Lane, and an electrical engineering consulting practice at Loftus Street in Sydney. The train track visible in the photos ran Charles' scale model of the "Precurser", which is still in the Maclurcan family.

They built their first radio in the Wentworth's rooftop "Smoking Room". By November that year they had made and erected two radio masts on the roof, one 80-feet high, the other 40-feet, so that the receiver was 170 feet above ground, and 220 feet above sea-level. They had received messages from RMS Otway at Adelaide and HMS Powerful in Port Phillip.

Wireless room and model railway, Wentworth roof, 1911. A 5/8" scale model of the London and North Western Railway's Precursor locomotive ran along the tracks. Images courtesy John Maclurcan.

Then there was teammate, Jack Pike, yet another player in that historic, first ever interstate ice hockey series against Victoria at Melbourne in 1909. Unlike Maclurcan and Lane he was self-taught, yet he also came to prominence in the wireless field at the same time, at the same age. They must have collaborated because their wireless experiments were quite pioneering, even though most states of Australia had been experimenters since about 1897, very soon after Marconi's demonstrations in London. The only other radio mast installation in Sydney at that time was on the Hotel Australia by Australian Wireless Co Ltd. The company had only begun the year prior and it is well-known today as AWA. [6]

One of Sydney's oldest amateur wireless experimenters at Arncliffe from about 1908, then Greenwich on Sydney's North Shore, Pike had communicated with ships as early as February 1910 when he was in constant contact with HMS Powerful steaming in the Tasman Sea. It was later that year the masts went up on the Wentworth, but his was the first Trans-Tasman radio transmission, widely discussed in naval circles at the time. It earned him a trip to America as a wireless operator on a passenger ship. He received radio messages from New York as early as 1926, on a special super heterodyne set designed for the New York wavelength.

Maclurcan didn't play ice hockey, Lane and Cuthbertson were gone, but Pike endured, and when New South Wales ice hockey resumed in the 1920s he played a big part in its transformation into the hockey capital of Australia for two decades. Canadian ex-pat Jim Kendall may have attracted most of the glory during his 8 seasons split either side of the Great War. But Pike was likely the most dominant force in the first years, from inception until well into the 1920s. By 1928, when he was in his late-thirties, he was reportedly still one of the best players in the New South Wales team, yet one of the first to ever play ice hockey in Sydney. He had scored 29 Goodall Cup goals for New South Wales, the highest of any state player in Australia between the wars, including Kendall.

Images | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 |


[1] Sunday Times Sydney Sunday 31 January 1915 p 5.
[2] The Sydney Morning Herald NSW Wednesday 15 September 1915 p 10
[3] Lost Leaders of Anzacs, Officers of the Australian + New Zealand Army Corps.
[4] Bean Diary No.16 p2. ML MSS 159
[5] Sunday Times, Sydney, 27 November 1910.
[6] Sydney University War Service Record, Arthur Cuthbertson
[7] Mr Herbert William Lane (1853 - 1938). Former Members. Parliament of New South Wales. 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
[8] NSW Births Deaths and Marriages, Reg No 10694/1888
[9] Lane Family History, Retrieved 27 Jan 2015.
[10] NSW Births Deaths and Marriages, Reg No 5091/1889
[11] Compiled with assistance by Birger Nordmark, hockey historian, Sweden.
[12] Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau File 1DRL/0428
[13] Slaughter of the Innocents: the destruction of the 18th Battalion at Gallipoli August 1915, Tony Cunneen, Australian Army Journal, Vol VII, No 2, p 129


Further information from Anne and Tony Bishop can be found in their letter below. Anne is a granddaughter of Cyril Lane and lives with her husband on a grazing property at Myrabluan Bunnan near Merriwa in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales. Their house is surrounded by a large romantic garden, which has provided inspiration and themes for their enchanting children's stories. Visit their website at the link below.

I know my cousin John Maclurcan has already let you know how much my brother Bill (Coyle) and I have enjoyed and appreciated all you have discovered about our grandfather Cyril Lane BUT it's time I told you for myself! My computer was out of action for some time... No excuse — it recovered weeks ago. It is really that I find reading about his death and the hopeless position he and his men were placed in on Hill 60 just so sad. Now, in re-reading your email, it makes me angry that his troops were so very young, unprepared and inexperienced and so cavalierly tossed into this confused and inconclusive battle. He was indeed a grandfather to be proud of‚ gallant and ardent and courageous and I always think in his photographs he looks really fun!

I have been to Hill 60 and, with Charles Bean's map and the help of a couple of old boys visiting the cemetery there in search of two members of their football club in Sydney, we think we found the trench where Cyril Lane was killed." It was very overgrown, unlike the trenches at Lone Pine and other more central battle sites which have been bolstered and reshaped." It is a very beautiful place and I sat in the trench quietly for a while on my own and left a sprig of rosemary from my garden there. As I was getting up my hand touched something hard and sharp which proved to be a human scapula. No-one came back to Gallipoli until 1919 and as the soldiers apparently didn't have any identification in the 1st WW most of the bodies remained unidentified. His was never found although his name and rank are on the great memorial at Lone Pine...and it was very moving to read that. Cyril's half brother was killed in France by 'friendly fire' and his sister's fiance was also killed — she never married. My grandmother remarried, another war veteran, which was not happy for my mother...I hope it was for my grandmother... but I suspect it wasn't. Awful, isn't it?

I had no idea that Cyril Lane was such a good skater although all the Maclurcans were, so it doesn't really surprise me, and wonderful to hear that he represented NSW in the 1st Goodall Cup Team. Thank you so much for telling us these things. John has been a truly marvellous sleuth and he has really brought our shared family to life for us all.My mother and his father really didn't like each other and I didn't know he existed (nor he that I did) until the phone rang a couple of years ago...Together we have had a fascinating time piecing together so many fragments, are now great friends and I'm so grateful to him that he has documented it all. It has already been a huge job and I suspect he's not finished yet! With very best wishes and thank you again for your contribution to our family history and your nice comments about my grandfather.

Anne and Tony Bishop — Myrabluan Bunnan, New South Wales.
23 March 2015

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