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Henke (front) with the Raiders and Dave Cunningham (Blackhawks) and Ivo Vesely, 1950s. Both Vesely and Cunningham made the first Australian Olympic team 4 years later in 1960. Courtesy Beryl Black Archive.


October 3rd 1926
Melbourne Australia

VIHA Golden Bears, VIHA Raiders

Goodall Cups
1952, '53, '54

1956 (Did not tour) [Ice Hockey]

Member of the Order of Australia 1987. Officer of the Order of Australia 1999, Sport Australia Hall of Fame 1993, Olympic Order 1998, Australian Sports Medal 2000, Centenary Medal 2001, Lifetime Member International Ski Federation 2008

BORN OCTOBER 3RD 1926 in Melbourne, Australia, he played in the rebel Victorian Ice Hockey League (VIHL) with the Golden Bears in 1949 and then the invincible Raiders from 1950, winning 5 straight premierships, 1950 to 1954. He represented Victoria 9 times, winning Goodall Cups in 1952, 1953, 1954 and captaining the team in 1959. The first Olympic ice hockey team in Victoria had been almost two decades in the making by 1956 when Henke was selected to represent Australia. The state association had joined the Australian Olympic Federation in 1950, re-established an Olympic Fund in 1954, and requested permission to compete at the 1956 Winter Games in Italy at their own expense. All the team needed was formal permission, but the AOF never responded and, at the age of twenty-nine, he was one of the affected players.

He moved into sports administration becoming the first Alpine Director of the Australian Ski Federation (ASF) from 1972 to 1979 and the chef de mission (general manager) of the Australian teams to six Winter Olympics, from Innsbruck 1976 to Lillehammer 1994. He was the Australian representative and then Councillor to the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) — the body that controls world skiing — from 1977 until retiring in 2006. He represented the ASF on the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and was made a life member of the AOC in 1992. He was an Executive Member of the Victorian Olympic Council (VOC) from 1977 to 1985, Vice-President from 1985 to 1993, and President from 1993 to 2001. He became a life member of the VOC in 1992 and he has been Chairman of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia since 1998. He married Gweneth Molony, the daughter of Ted and Maffie Molony, "Ted was a famous ice hockey player who was also my referee. I thought he was a terrible referee, and felt he used to pick on me. But when I asked him, he didn't object". [2] Their daughter, Joanne Henke, represented Australia in downhill skiing in 1976.

Henke was the founder and developer of Dinner Plain, and his role in establishing Falls Creek, Mt Buller, and Mt Hotham earned him life memberships of each. He was an Executive Board Member of the Melbourne Olympic Bid Committee (1996), and the successful Sydney Olympic Bid Committee (2000). He was also a Strategy Board Member of the Melbourne Bid Committee to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games. He is a Member of the Order of Australia (1987) and an Officer of the Order of Australia (1999) for his service to sports administration. Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1993, he received the Olympic Order in 1998. In 2008, he became the first Australian lifetime member of the International Ski Federation. The driving force of Melbourne's original Icehouse, later the O'Brien Group Arena in Melbourne's Docklands, Rink 1 is named in his honour. "One of the reasons I lobbied five Victorian premiers to build the Icehouse, is because it's where boy meets girl. Hundreds of people have told me they met their wife skating at the Glaciarium. Gweneth's parents met there". [2]

01. Historical Notes

02. Citation Details

Ross Carpenter, 'Henke, Geoff Johhn (1926 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia,, accessed online .

03. Select Bibliography

1. Winter sport gets serious venue John Hamilton Herald Sun April 18, 2011
2. Two of Us. Geoff and Gweneth Henke by Robyn Doreian, Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend, Aug 15 2015

04. Citations
Citations | 1 - 280 | 281-on |
G A L L E R YArrows at right scroll the images
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With the Golden Bears

VIHA, 1948.

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"Mr Winter"- at the Icehouse

Courtesy Herald Sun

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Launch of Olympic Winter Institute

Melbourne Icehouse, 2010

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Launch of Olympic Winter Institute

Melbourne Icehouse, 2010