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The fund was established in 1979 by the Old Melburnians Athletic Club (OMAC), largely on the initiative of Wilf Dungan, a life member. Its main aim is to promote the development of club athletes and to assist them to attain maximum levels of performance. It takes its name from Ian Gawler, a former club Captain and champion decathlete whose athletic career was tragically cut short by a critical illness from which he later miraculously recovered.




The fund is administered by up to four Trustees (currently three): Rob Liddle, George Rennie and David Smart, all OMAC life members. The Trustees communicate as necessary to consider grant applications, decide on investment policy, and deal with any other relevant business. 



Finance for the fund is obtained through interest on investments, donations by senior club members and supporters, and club fund-raising activities. These funds are mostly invested by the Trustees in high security fixed-term deposits plus an at call account to facilitate the payment of grants.



Although the main aim of the Fund as set out above is very general, in practice the majority of grants are made to assist athletes with travel, accommodation, and other expenses incurred in competing at interstate or overseas meetings. These have included Commonwealth Games, National Senior, Junior and Schoolboy Titles, World Student Games, World Veteran Titles, Inter-Varsity, and invitations to compete in National Titles or important races abroad. Generally, the athlete would be officially representing the school, club, state or country on these occasions. Grants have also been made to assist individuals and the club with purchasing approved equipment, and to facilitate attendance at coaching clinics. They can in fact be awarded for any purpose consistent with the main aim.


Assessment Criteria

It is important to understand that no grant is meant to cover all expenses. In awarding grants, the Trustees will take into account many factors, such as precedent, the timing of the application, the recommendation of the OMAC Chairman, the relative importance of the competition, the service and level of commitment of the applicant to the club and/or the school, the availability of any outside funding, any previous assistance given, and the amount of funds available at the time.

Applicants must have competed at or volunteered in at least 3 competitions for OMAC within the previous 12 months.

 - Included competitions recognised as for OMAC: AV Shield competition, AV Relay Championships, APSOC Cross Country races or XCR races.

 - Excluded competitions that are recognised (for athletes): individual State Championships, Australian Championships or any other Australian Athletic Tour race.

 - All competitions volunteered at on behalf of OMAC's designated duties will be eligible.

Note: The OMAC Chairman and Board can exercise discretion to support an application.


Who is Eligible 

Any financial or life member of the OMAC (male, female, senior or junior), any schoolboy or staff member of Melbourne Grammar School


How to Apply

Applications must be made in writing to the Trustees through the Chairman of the OMAC prior to the competition or activity. The application will then be considered by the OMAC Chairman and Committee and if deemed appropriate, forwarded to the Trustees with a recommendation. If the Committee does not approve the application, it would not normally be referred to the Trustees. The Trustees will then confer, and taking into account the above criteria, may award a grant to the applicant, who will be notified in writing. Applications should clearly state the type of competition or activity to be attended, dates, location, an estimate of the total cost, and any other financial assistance available. Following the awarding of a grant, it is expected that the athlete will forward a brief report of results to the Trustees shortly after returning.



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