Anzacs & Ball-punching updates

A number of people have contacted me with updates about two stories that I shared recently – firstly, about £10 owed since the Anzac Landing, and secondly about a family of world champion ball-punchers. I shared these updates live on West Bremer Radio.

First of all, Alex from the Queensland Museum got back to me about the exhibition that’s currently in the Anzac Legacy Gallery there.

The gallery has “Mephisto” which is the only surviving German tank of its kind left from the First World War.

It also has a number of personal relics including a military cap and war medals belonging to a Captain Percy Adsett. He served at Gallipoli before he was wounded at Pozières in 1916.

But you might remember Percy as the man who didn’t pass on the £10 to an Ipswich widow after her husband was killed in the Anzac Landing in 1915.

The widow Lucy Roberts tried everything to get her £10 which was given by her late husband to Percy to forward onto her. She even wrote to the federal minister for defence.

The letter by widow Lucy Roberts

Percy has now become a celebrity with his war relics on show at the Queensland Museum, and his grandson was even interviewed by ABC Radio when the exhibition opened.

Percy’s medals on display in front of Mephisto

But there was no mention of the £10 owed to Lucy in Ipswich, which means followers of History Out There definitely got the scoop ahead of Australia’s national broadcaster the ABC on that one.

And then there’s the story of Ipswich’s family of world champion ball-punchers that I shared a couple of weeks ago. Ball-punching is boxing with a speed ball.

Phil Jackson contacted me, he’s one of the founders of Ipswich Basketball.

Phil told me that in 1955 he was at the Ipswich Trades Hall in to see Ron Ruenalf break the world ball-punching record.

Ruenalf was supposed to break the record at about 11pm but because a new mark was established in Brisbane that night, he had to keep going until around 2am to claim the new record. Ruenalf punched continuously for 131 hours and 20 minutes. That’s almost five-and-a-half days!

Phil did stay to the end to see it, but of course he was only about fourteen-years-old at the time, which meant he had to sneak in when he got home.

You might remember Rueben “Kid” Ruenalf from my earlier story. He was Ipswich’s 7-time world champion ball-puncher in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Kid came from a family of ball-punchers. His brother made an unsuccessful attempt on the world record. His father was a famous ball-puncher, boxer and footballer, and his mother was regarded as the best female ball-puncher in the world.

The Ruenalf family boxing tent

And now we know – thanks to Phil Jackson who was actually there – that Kid’s son Ron also set the world record. That means Ipswich, Queensland and indeed Australia, can proudly boast at least three generations of champion ball-punchers from the one family.

By the way, the boxer in Brisbane that forced Ron to keep going until two o’clock in the morning, he was in fact the trainer who had pickled the hands of Ron’s father in preparation for the world record in 1941.

Thanks to Alex from the Queensland Museum and Phil Jackson from Ipswich for sending in more information.


Photo credits:
Mephisto at the Queensland Museum, 2022 – my own
Letter from Mrs Lucy Roberts, 1915 – National Archives of Australia
Percy Adsett’s medals, 2022 – my own
Les Ruenalf’s Touring Stadium – via Ancestry from Miss Twigglet 2018

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s