The most spectacular collection of Geelong's all-time great International sports icons and Brownlow medallists assembled at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club on October 4 for the launch of John Craven's acclaimed book The Conquerors.

  Hosted by the popular evergreen entertainer Ian Cover - star of the Coodabeen Champions' long-running radio show - the launch attracted around 230 representatives from 33 sports, the media and local dignitaries, including the Mayor of the City of Greater Geelong Cr. Peter Murrihy and the President of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr. John Stekelenburg.

  Test cricket legends Paul Sheahan, Ian Redpath and Alan Connolly launched Craven's book which documents Geelong's Top-100 All-Time Sports Greats - in his studious view.

  Netball superstars Simone McKinnis and Madison Browne were present. So were Geelong's finest swimmers Peter Doak and Tony Strahan. Seven-times Australia's Socceroos captain Steve Horvat, international baseball mega-star Graeme Lloyd and USA Super bowl luminary Ben Graham graced the yacht club with their attendance.

  Cycling was represented by the illustrious four-times world champion Leigh Howard, dual Olympian Tracey Gaudry, multiple Commonwealth Games medallist John Hine, Tour de France exponent Donna Rae-Szalinski and the veteran Don Wilson - Mexico City Olympian and twice Australian professional road title holder.

  Other sports and their stars included: David Ramage, Jeff Sykes, Jon Berney and Angus Widdicombe (rowing), Chris Commons, Don Commons, Lou Rowan, Georgie Clarke, John Minns, Chris Unthank, Jess Gulli-Nance and Mick McGrath (athletics), Greg Stewart and Tim Bentley (triathlon), Addy Bucek, Barry Walker and Doug Jarvis (yachting), Steve Haberman (shooting), Kelly Cartwright (para athletics), John Jacoby (canoeing), Gail Couper (surfing) and Judy Nyirati (badminton).

  Aussie rules football identity Alistair Lord, the 1962 Brownlow medallist and '63 Geelong premiership centreman, described the launch as "absolute magic.

  "It was an enormous priviledge to be gathered under the same roof as all those champions," he said. "It was a huge day for Geelong, one that I will never forget".

  The Conquerors was a 47-year-long writing and reserach project for Craven who commenced his epic while engaged as a sports writer on the Melbourne Herald from 1973-83. He had previously worked as a writer in Papua New Guinea in the mid-1960s before signing-on at the Geelong Advertiser and Launceston Examiner.

  In 1980, Craven founded Caribou Publications, a trail-blazing publishing, media services and event management company which - among other conquests - became Australia's largest cycling promotions outfit, and organised the iconic Great Ocean Road Marathon festival and Yarra River three-mile swim.

  As a sportsman, he played in Port Moresby's 1966 Aussie rules premiership side in the Papuan League and was the Victorian professional middle distance runner-of-the-year in 1977-78. In club cricket, he proudly yielded three hat-tricks with his pedestrian left-arm medium-fast deliveries.

  A horse racing devotee, Craven served on the Geelong Racing Club committee from 1994-2002 and was the Briseis Club's foundation chairman.

  He was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, and an Order of Australia Medal in 2018 for services to cycling and community events.



  • Top left: The three wise men - Test cricketing greats Paul Sheahan, Ian Redpath, Alan Connolly.
  • Top right: Paralympian Kelly Cartwright, netball champion Madison Browne and Mum Chris Browne.
  • Top left, below: Master of Ceremonies Ian Cover interviews the multi-talented media celebrity Mike Sheahan.
  • Above left: The champions' parents Bill Cartwright, Chris Browne, Colleen Carroll and Sue Anthony with Barwon Sports Academy CEO Cameron Loftus.
  • Above right: Master of Ceremonies Ian Cover dazzles the 230-strong audience.
  • Second row, left: Open Mike. Sheahan gets serious with gridiron star Ben Graham.
  • Second row, right: Baseball superstar Graeme Lloyd takes his turn with Sheahan.
  • Third row, left: Alistair Lord fends off Sheahan's probing questions on the circumstances surrounding his 1962 Brownlow Medal controversy.
  • Third row, right:Author of The Conquerors, John Craven.
  • Fourth row, left: Cycling luminaries Tracey Gaudry and Donna Rae-Szalinski.
  • Fourth row, right:Georgie Clarke and Jess Gulli-Nance, arguably Geelong's greatest female track and field duo.
  • Fifth row, left: Spokesman Paul Sheahan launches The Conquerors with his compatriots Ian Redpath and Alan Connolly. Geelong's finest swimmer Peter Doak and wife Gillian are among them.
  • Fifth row, right: Sheahan sings the praises of The Conquerors.
  • Sixth row, left: Bob Gartland, creator of the Geelong Football Club History Society.
  • Sixth row, right: Multiple world champion cyclist Leigh Howard with Modewarre's junior football coach Wayne Carroll.
  • Botttom left: Rowing royalty. Jeff Sykes chats with Stuart Wilson.
  • Bottom right: Michael Sheahan.









Caribou’s unique publishing arm continues to flourish and is actively engaged in the creation of several books, set down for future release.

The company’s publishing enterprise began in 1983 when Caribou’s managing director John Craven collaborated with the celebrated sprint queen Raelene Boyle on her captivating autobiography RAGE RAELENE, RUN.


Then followed the best-selling autobiographies of the distinguished jockey Roy Higgins (THE PROFESSOR, with Terry Vine) and Australian rules football legends Leigh Matthews (LETHAL, with Mike Sheahan) Robbie Flower (ROBBIE, with Ron Reed) and Wayne Johnston (THE DOMINATOR, again with former Herald Sun sports editor Reed).


Caribou’s publishing activities extended beyond sport. Company secretary Bernadette Craven for many years produced the pioneering annual course handbook for the LINCOLN INSTITUTE OF HEALTH SCIENCES. The distinguished author-journalist Bill Hitchings wrote an intriguing Caribou-inspired book on Melbourne’s landmark Manchester Unity building (GRAND DREAMS AND GRAND MEN).


More recently, John Craven collaborated with the popular race broadcaster John Russell on his autobiography AN OUNCE OF LUCK, and also wrote the acclaimed history of the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic (THE ‘WARRNAMBOOL’).


Craven, the ex-Geelong Advertiser-Launceston Examiner-Melbourne Herald journalist, linked with the record-breaking Melbourne Cup commentator Greg Miles on writing his outstanding autobiography MY LUCKY LIFE BEHIND THE BINOCULARS.


Details of Caribou’s exciting new releases, including THE CONQUERORS, will be announced on this site as they become available.





















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By John Craven