Melbourne YCW fulltime worker, Paul Ladds, died in a car accident on 21 August 1967, fifty years ago today.
A star Australian (AFL) footballer as well as a committed YCW leader, Paul’s death sparked a national road safety campaign organised by the YCW, which eventually led to major changes in Australian road laws.
This video by the YCW Archive and Research Centre in Melbourne recalls that campaign.
Mic Rees, who played football with Paul Ladds, recalled his impact in an article on Footy Almanac:
Tragedy struck prior to the commencement of the finals when brilliant Centre Half Back Paul Ladds was killed in a car accident. The 22 year old Ladds had finished runner up to Waverley’s Alan Poore in the Liston Trophy the previous year, a feat he would achieve posthumously a few weeks later, finishing in second place behind Coburg’s Jim Sullivan. After accounting for Preston in the First Semi Final (14.16-100 to 13.12-90) Sandringham’s run came to an end a fortnight later in the Preliminary Final at the Punt Road Oval, the Zebras bowing out of the race for the flag at the hands of the eventual premier Dandenong (11.15-81 to 15.10-100) The match also brought a premature end to the football career of Murray Zeuschner.
“The Preliminary Final was my last game of football at any level. Early in the game Dandenong Captain/Coach Alan Morrow tackled me and my knee collapsed. The injury was severe enough to necessitate three operations and ended my playing career. The tragic loss of Paul Ladds and my injury were significant factors in Sandringham failing to win the flag that year”.