The 44-5 VFA Finals Season & Declaration of Peace

44 or 45 VFA finals—Williamstown seconded Stan to play – their top ruckman was injured         Stan Livingstone…final BOG … G/Final  OK – carrying three broken ribs, the paddock training stepped up a few cogs at this time…Tarzan Glass…famous VFL – also featured!!

Stan & Esme sold and purchased land out of Leongatha at Tullaree, later to be part of  “The Lady of the Swamp” murder mystery -a saga lasting decades and features in Richard Shears ‘08 book: ‘Swamp’ – who murdered  Margaret Clement’? Stan was my mate!  

An hilarious incident occurred at Katandra- Pooey Grinter charged at Tatura‘s Louis Mulcahy, missed and fell on the ball and burst it…wartime, no other ball was available, the bladder was repaired using a car vulcaniser and blown up…the game resumed.                                   

1945  Army had vacated the football ground which meant the Central Goulburn Valley League…the  football ground was back in use, pre-season practice was held. Identities were Bob Glover and Les Maskell…Bob was later hi –jacked by KY as coach…Les (St Kilda!) was to be later hi-jacked by KY. 

Moxley & Oigle Williams were identities, keen but ordinary players, both noted for their strange mixture of English. Mox bitten by a “sensation dog” said he was “delicious all night”… said by Oigle after a serious car accident ‘to have three broken legs ‘…one leg was broken…the other broken in two places.

Yearly Knockout Competitions of 2 X 15 minute quarters was staged  at Tatura, capably organised by Jim Trevaskis, Oigle an umpire lined him up – ‘ I thought all umpires were locals?” …”They are!”… “Who is Lynch 12.30 –1.00?”  (lunch!)

George  Semmens lived in a cosy extension to the big shed…now the Ballantyne  Centre, a wild bush grew over the fence, it was George’s custom on pension day to have a beer then stand outside the middle pub smoking…then another beer…people went by…Mrs Williams a neighbour greeted him saying, “George I see your Japonica is out.”…”Cripes is it? “said George grabbing his fly .     

Aug 15th Peace was declared…days later an impromptu carnival celebration was staged.       Open High Jump – 1st Keith Maxwell, 5 ft 3 in’s – 2nd Jim Bunn 5ft 2.5 ins – 3rd Peter Kerrins 5ft 2 ins!

Sr Pancratius (Holland) from a farm in Bridgewater with 4 brothers and recently attaining a BA Melbourne  University arrived I was in my first year of Secondary School at St Mary’s…her  interests…God and us Kids! Sr Pan turned out to be a football tragic…her brother Len Holland (RAAF 1945) had visited the school and was soon to be found at  H Back for S/Melb …arranged football mad school matches v Shepp.   Nipper Hovey, Lawrie Dwyer, Frank Batey v  Tat state Johnny Cavicchiolo,  Freddo , Young .           

Pan elated…Tommy Deane won 1946 Stawell Gift …Murch kids ‘he came from Murch‘                    Pan  – no Nagambie…attended  Assumption College with her brothers. At the 2000school re union,  Sr Pan aged…greeting a group of former boy students, Freddo the youngest of the group shaking her hand …“ Sr Pan  you may not remember me?“ Sr Pan, “Freddo how could I ever forget you!“ Freddo 300+ games, Tat  2ND Morrison  medal…

ImageThe 2012 GVFL Premiership team: Tatura – Bulldogs. Pictured with Margot, myself & Betty Ryan


Footy on the back burner


Locally Football was put on the back burner for a couple of years.

Footballs themselves were hard to get hold of. My brother, Tommy who was in the Navy on Thursday Island sent a brand new one home, the bladder had completely perished!! It was remarkable how the kids would be seen kicking many sorts of make believe footies around; covers, hats stashed with paper, cartons. A local from Crowbar Demolitions at Tat Saleyards remembers as a kid using animal intestines from the abattoirs.

Scratch matches would occur at various venues and times around the town. A vacant block on the Thomson St /Alexander Av corner, or Casey St / Victory Hall St usually after school… impromptu – mostly kids! Sometimes a paddock at the back of the Commercial Hotel – organised / Sunday ‘arvo games, many spectators… good fun. Later on as the Prisoner of War & Internment Camps were set up there would be odd matches arranged on site with the soldiers/ guards – old blokes … who mostly wore bloody big army boots with steel caps… hard gravel grounds, make shift set ups . Mick Keating a young enthusiast was an active organiser, he came to Tatura to work at the Research farm. Joined the Air Force and returned to play for Tat. (Richmond reserves …Coburg … coached Stanhope …a good football teacher /mate.

Hogan Estate  now Unilever / Rosella site became an official ground, goal posts – saplings  – boundary…a single plough furrow…tomato boxes …Rosella… hundreds set up  for changing –no score board!!

Occasional practice matches were held, organised and coached by Roy Lovett – a guard out at the Camps, he had played for Fitzroy and his kids were at Sacred Heart School, Ted Doody was in my class, a younger brother in Freddo’s grade was to also play for Fitzroy? Bluey Lovett an older, brother played for Tat , but was famous for another incident … whilst working for Groome & Beckwith  Motor mechanics and blacksmiths who were Tat football enthusiasts ( the business premises beside Athol Opie the plumber. ) As a striker the blacksmith heated then fashioned the steel on an anvil and the striker belted it with a sledge hammer where indicated. Bluey by mistake belted Bill Groome’s thumb and splattered it all over the workshop and remarked  it should not have hurt him that much as… “the hammer was only on his thumb for a split second!“…Bluey kept his job!

1943 – 45  These Hogan Estate matches lead to a team being entered into the Central Goulburn Valley League – Ardmona Shepp Harriers- CYMS  St Brendan’s – SPC cannery – Shepp East – Katandra – Dookie – Dookie College – Tatura…sure from memory, perhaps Lemnos – Mooroopna?Travel was by player’s bus and supporter’s bus or cars …bus travel was good fun!

 Bill Pritchard started his football career during these years as a junior, he was a standout he played in any position…Bob MacDonald another very good young player.

Stanley Livingstone purchased the property neighbouring our farm, he had played several VFL games for Footscray and was enticed to play for Tatura. He was 190 cms, 90 kgs – late twenties – fearless and a feared ruckman- match winner and local hero… Bunn’s, Robbins boys.

At the age of 13/14 I kicked around the paddock with him. An interesting incident took place during a game on Hogan Estate against CYMS –Shepp. Fr Paddy Collins lined up for CYMS…fiery and described  by Fr  Brosnan, the Pentridge Chaplin in his book as ‘… of the same ilk as Jack Dyer.’ On hearing this Fr Joe Holland also of football fame remarked “is that praise?” – Fr Pat and Stan took to each other, spilling blood!


Margot and I with Bill – holding the 2012 GVFL Premiership Trophy

Memories of Football in the War years

1939-45   September 1939 Early morning   – Sacred Heart primary kids were waiting for the assembly  bell to ring – the big news was War …“Germans were at it again “…the general consensus of opinion was; “we had handled them in 14-18 and would do likewise again!“

The 1940 school year was under way and it was then realised – what a Bastard Hitler was –  the Army had set up camp in the showground  …  the football club had gone into recess  …  Wednesday had been  a half day holiday football was played and the school kids were allowed out early to go to the footy -bloody Hitler had put a stop to this!

1939 Nagambie 10 . 10 . 70 d Rushworth 9 . 11 . 65
1940 Benalla 15 . 16 . 106 d Rushworth 11 . 16 . 82

As kids we would crowd around the players fascinated by smell of the oil … a rub down etc – the chewing gum – oranges… I fondly recall Maurice Dick as a Tatura player who took a bit of notice of me, put me on his shoulders and gave me some chewie & orange peel?

I also, recall a player being referred to as a champ… a genius

These memories have notable sequels –:                                                                                          Maurice Dick served in the army – on active service had the misfortune to lose a complete arm. Maurice after rehabilitation, worked for The Leviathan menswear on the Swanston/Bourke corner.

I was proud to meet him many years later playing golf at Hill Top…handicap around 20…mine not much better.

Dick’s uncle George was a Tat football enthusiast, the family were local carriers, one of the first to run a motor truck (Maple Leaf…say 1930’s on) they had a wooden stock crate kept on a stand in their paddock – Rob’s Radiators ) football season crate on the truck…Tat team in the  crate free travel to away matches! Trains – special trains were also part of the early Goulburn Valley Football travel.

The genius was identified only recently- I met Kevin and Gwen Dwyer (of football fame Murchison) shopping in Foodworks, Tatura. Mrs Dwyer snr was to celebrate her 100th birthday in a short time – I asked after her and extended good wishes.  Kevin showed me her shopping list, faultless – written in a very good hand, obviously in good form! Off the cuff I said, “Did your Dad ever coach Tat?” He replied “I will ask Mum .Sometime later after the birthday, Kevin informed me that his Dad, Leo Nedsie a celebrated footballer, who played for North Melbourne and Victoria – won the Morrison Medal did in fact coach Tatura around that time. I had been fortunate to have witnessed some of the latent magic when he took the field in a Murchison/Tatura scratch match with his glasses taped on. Son Lawrie “twinkle-toes” showed and extended the amazing Dwyer football skills – Kevin and Cliff also to a degree David Lawrie son?

Leo Dwyer coached Tatura for one year ’38-’39. His mother, Mrs Dwyer …was 100 yrs in 2008)