A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
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Malcolm McKinnon and State Library of Victoria, 2006.
From Korweinguboora to Chewton and from Kyneton to Woodend come tales of rough and ready football grounds: stories of time when any ground would do, whether it was under snow or full of rabbits.
Thank you to Bill Malone, Don Duus, Irene Malone and the Chewton Domain Society.
BILL MALONE: I can remember playing at Korweinguboora. We used to get dressed in the Spargo hotel. Had to wade across through the creek, which you can see down the bottom there, get our feet nice and wet. If you were up there playing fullback or full-forward, and the ball was down this end, you could not see which side had the ball.
There was a big hump in the middle of the ground, and the only way you could fathom it out was which direction the ball was travelling. And on one wing, we used to have to wade through ferns to get the ball.
There was rabbits all around the area at those times, and it was often when we were crossing the creek, there'd be rabbits running around everywhere. [LAUGHS] And well, as you can see, the ground has not changed.
There were a lot of grounds that were in pretty ordinary condition in those days.
I remember on the Chewton football ground in the Castlemaine league, that electric light was running through the ground about the center half forward position. And often the ball would hit that, and if you were standing on the wire, you were surprised when you found yourself you had the ball.
DON DUUS: I don't know whether the Chewton fullback knew he could hit the lines, but he hit them very, very regular. And of course, the opposing teams wouldn't have a clue what was going on. And of course, if the umpire told us that we could play on if the power lines were hit, we used to play on and kick goals, much to the annoyance of the opposing team.
The Harcourt was pretty bad. It had a big creek running down one side of it. And many a player's disappeared down the creek. Kyneton was a little bit difficult. You would always walk off the Kyneton ground four to six inches taller, because the black turfy ground from here used to build up on your boots.
Trenton and Woodend weren't too bad when we played out with them. But the biggest trouble there was the snow. We played on Woodend, I think it was, at one stage on about 6 inches of snow.
And I remember one of the players, real tough, hard player, come out. He says, Duusy, I'm gonna kill you, with a smile on his face. So during the game I thought I'd get even with him.
I bent down, picked up a handful of snow, squeezed it up hard in a ball, and let him have it behind the ear-- not knowing that it had gone to ice. It nearly knocked him out. It was great fun. He just turned around and said, will you buy me a beer afterwards? And that was the way it was.
If you meet up with some of the old players of those days, you still stop and have a talk about it. The subject is always football. You always get back to when we played. Wasn't it good when we played? Wasn't it different when we played?