Danga’s got the gout: welcoming new sponsor Kate Burke and Think Agri

 

It’s funny how things work out – when you pen a few words and send them on their way you never know where they’ll lob, and who’ll read them, and where they will take you.

Kate Burke from Think Agri reads everything – newspapers, books, magazines, the form guide, menus, whatever brightens her day, and even academic stuff. A PhD in agronomy, she’s a Saints’ fan, a golfer, a punter and, with hubby Danga, has been in furious pursuit of The Cup – that would be the Murtoa Cup or the Melbourne Cup – forever (in numerous syndicates).

When Kate and Danga read Memoirs of a Mug Punter, they were surprised to find it pays homage to the Murtoa racecourse, and Murtoa in general. They featured as the first track where Courting Pleasure (the heroine of the tale) started, and the first track where she won (by 5 lengths on a bog track). True story. And it turned out Kate had been to La Trobe Uni with Ade (the banker), SAMRA boss and one of the main characters in the book.

So I met Kate, about 15 years or so ago, because of that book.

When The Handicapper and I came to Melbourne, Kate and Danga were actually living at the Paris end of Murtoa (or should that be the Berlin end) and, along with the squillions of Delahuntys who are up that way, and David Grigg from the racing club, invited us to their New Year’s day race meeting – the Marma Cup. It was a hoot.

The next time we went up was Murtoa Cup Day (which novices mistakenly call Turnbull Stakes Day). It was the weekend when, on the Friday night, Danga shuffled into the pub l in a pair of slippers, looking not long for the world. The pub went quiet. ‘Danga’s got the gout,’ Kate said. The whole pub pissed themselves – the same laugh that surfaces when you watch a cricketer get hit in the Jatz. That was another bonzer weekend.

The Handicapper and I made the drive a few more times. By then Vin Delahunty had me speaking at the Australian Tractor Association Dinner (ripper night) and a couple of years’ later the Dairy Farmers’ Conference Dinner (even better night, for which we’d picked the Footballers Who’ve Grown Up On Dairy Farms Team of the Century only to be haggled from the floor).

Soon after, Andy Delahunty effected some sort of squatters’ coup to become president of the Minyip-Murtoa Footy Club and, after a big harvest in the Wimmera (at last), the club put in new lights and Andy built the White House (for the president) where the president’s guests (basically anyone who could hold a wine glass) gathered to eat cocktail onions and gherkins with Coon cheese on tooth picks.

Kate and Danga moved to Melbourne for a while once Danga had recovered sufficiently to become a golf course greenkeeper while Kate travelled the country in her role as an advisor. Kate and Danga have moved back to the bush and now Echuca is the central location from where Kate travels in her consultancy role. Danga is busy fighting off gout.

Recently I was crossing St George’s Rd in The People’s republic en route to school with the kids when I hear a load toot followed by ‘Hey!’  It was Kate.

Kate and Danga have been Almanac readers forever. So, when the call went out recently for sponsors and patrons to help keep us ticking over, Kate contacted me offering to become a sponsor, which is terrific.

Think Agri can do pretty much anything in the ag economics, investment advice area. I know it will embarrass Kate for me to say she has vast experience and respect across all levels of the sector – from international specialists (whom she hosted at the North Fitzroy Arms one evening) to the family farmer.

She loves footy and cricket and golf as much as she loves farming. She was raised on a farm at Elmore (which she says is ‘the centre of the universe and field days’) with four brothers, Dad who was an armchair expert (on everything) and Mum, a mad-keen golfer who once drank ginger beer from the 1941 Melbourne Cup. Kate had dreams of playing in the VFL and for the Australian cricket side. When her skills were somewhat lacking (she said I could say that) her aspirations changed; she wanted to replace Doug Cameron or Wendy Wimbush as a cricket statistician or Errol Alcott as the Australian team physio.

Kate’s recent support of the Almanac has been prompted by the rise of the AFLW and she wants to play her part in maintaining the momentum around womens’ and girls’ sport. As she said to me, “Now ten year old girls can realistically dream about playing on the biggest stage and that is something Think Agri is pleased to support.”

Please keep Think Agri in mind and come and meet Kate when next she’s at a lunch or having a quiet one at the North Fitzroy Arms. Danga will be the bloke with a limp.

Thanks Kate, and thanks Think Agri.

 

I like to think this is how the Almanac works – it brings people together to celebrate the good things in life.

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Have a great weekend.

Go Cats (in Colac)
JTH

PS Have a look at some of the pieces at www.footyalmanac.com.au especially e regnans on David Warner and the many pieces of our AFLW coverage as well as a time-honoured first day at school piece from Andrew Starkie and Murray Walding’s ’60s Richmond and music memoir.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted j.t.h@footyalmanac.com.au He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo10, Anna8, Evie7. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    This is such a great story. Welcome Kate and Danga and thankyou for your support. Brilliant. Look forward to meeting you both.

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