A Season in the Country: 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues – Episode 16

Lockhart Football Ground

The Boys from Temora Town

 

Farrer League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kangaroos               v                   Magpies

 

 

 

 

 

Match of the day: Temora v The Rock-Yerong Creek

Saturday 2nd August 1975

at Nixon Park, Temora

 

Featuring Temora’s Gary McDougall, Peter Gilchrist, Bruce Firman, Allan Breust, Peter Clarke and Wayne Krause

 

Paleface Park, Temora

 

Temora is situated in the heart of the southern NSW wheatbelt. The town was established during the NSW Gold Rush era of the 1870s and ‘80s. After gold, wheat and sheep farming took over as the mainstay of the local economy. Like several other Riverina locations, German immigrants came to the Temora district from South Australia around the turn of the century in search of land for selection. The town is located on the Cootamundra – Lake Cargelligo branch rail line that was once important to the transport of grain and passengers in the region. Today, Temora boasts one the state’s largest inland grain handling and storage facilities owned in conjunction with an expanding agribusiness enterprise.

 

The town is home to the Temora Aviation Museum, which houses an impressive array of historic aircraft and supports air shows which draw visitors to the district from far and wide. Temora is also the home of the famous 1970s Australian harness racing champion ‘Paleface Adios.’ Owned by Shirley Pike of Temora, trained and driven by her husband Colin Pike, ‘Paleface’ was the pride of the town. His duels with the mighty ‘Hondo Grattan’ (dubbed the “Bathurst Bulldog”) were legendary. A statue and park honouring the great pacer, known as the “Temora Tornado”, can be found in the town’s main street. Temora identifies itself as the “friendly town”, and the experience of many visitors wholeheartedly supports the claim.

 

The history of Australian Football in the town dates back to 1893 but the code was not played on a consistent basis at Temora until the 1920s. Starting in 1923 Temora played inter-town matches prior to participating in local leagues including the Temora and District League followed by the Ariah Park and District League (1948-51). After a three year recess (1952-4) Temora had a short but productive stay in the Wagga and District League W&DFL). The club moved to the Central Riverina League (CRL) in 1957 before joining the stronger Farrer League in 1961, adopting the blue and white striped ‘Kangaroos’ jumper. Temora remained in that competition with the exception of three seasons in the short-lived Riverina District League (1982-84) and a six year period in the Riverina Football League (1996-2001). Temora’s premiership years were 1956 (W&DFL), 1959 and 1960 (CRFL) and 2012, 2013, 2014 in the Farrer League.

One Temora footballer who has established a very successful career in the AFL is Luke Breust (Hawthorn), the son of one of our featured Temora players in this week’s episode.

 

 

Preview

Temora were out of contention for the finals but victory over tough opponents, The Rock-Yerong Creek, was a scalp in their sights. While the Magpies were without their pivot, centre half forward Murray McFarlane and rover Shane Maddox, they were tipped in the Wagga press to account for the struggling Kangaroos.

 

Team lists

 

(source: The Crier Vol. 16, No. 15, NSW Australian Football History Society)

 

The match

Temora gave The Rock-Yerong Creek plenty to worry about all afternoon. With a dominant third quarter, when they added five goals, Temora sent a real scare into the visitor’s camp. By three quarter time the home side had reduced the deficit to eight points and threatened to cause an upset. However, the Kangaroos were unable to keep the momentum going while the Magpies steadied in the final stanza to win by three goals. Temora’s best, centre half back Peter Gilchrist, was a rock in defence, repeatedly halting Magpie attacks. In the final analysis, poor kicking for goal and some bad luck in the second quarter cost Temora dearly and let TR-YC off the hook.

 

Final score: The Rock-Yerong Creek 12.18 (90) defeated Temora 10.12 (72)

Goals: TR-YC – R. Driscoll 3, P. Elliott 2, P. Jack 2, P. Miotti 2, L. Curtis 2, R.McFarlane

Temora – A. Breust 5, P. Clarke 2, I. Pike, R. Rodway, B. Firman

Best: TR-YC – P. Elliott, P. Miotti, J. Klimpsch, R. Anderson, L. Curtis, P. Jack

Temora – P. Gilchrist, A. Breust, P. Clarke, B. Guthrie, R. Rodway, Greg Luhrs

Umpire: I. Carroll              Gate: $293

Reserves: Temora 3.8 (26) defeated TR-YC 1.5 (11)

 

Around the Farrer League grounds

 

MCU coasted to a 34 point win over Holbrook, keeping their finals chances alive. Wagga were too polished for Culcairn in the wet, running out winners by 62 points. North Wagga completely dominated Collingullie in a performance that earned them seven points. The fast fall of the ‘Gullie, in the space of 12 months, was a remarkable feature of the 1975 season. Henty and Lockhart provided the closest contest of the round, which ended in a nail-biting one point win for the Swans.

Leading goal kickers: Greg Sheather (Wagga) 65, Garry Mickan (Henty) 64, Bob Driscoll (TR-YC) 63, Peter Clarke (Temora) 58

 

Next week in the Farrer League: Henty host MCU, Wagga meet Lockhart, Holbrook are at home to Temora, TR-YC face North Wagga and in the battle for the wooden spoon, Collingullie host Culcairn.

 

Footy clubs have a liking for giving nicknames to their players – it’s a very Australian tradition. In last week’s episode readers were given a link to the Ararat Football Club website which presents a wonderful collection of team photos dating back to the early twentieth century. Close inspection of the photos reveals the nicknames of many of the players. Most football club team photos include player names but do not show the names players were more commonly known by. Some of the tags given to footballers are abbreviated surnames and family nicknames, many however have a more colourful origin arising from incidents both on and off the footy field.

 

The Temora football fraternity have for many years joined in on that great tradition of giving monikers and happily adopting nicknames for their players. From the days of ‘Nugget’ and ‘Jacko’ in the 1950s through to ‘Mouse’, ‘Doog’, ‘Gilly’, ‘Sticka’, ‘The Little White Bull’, ‘Paleface’, ‘Magic’, ‘Buck’, ‘Seal’, ‘Mad Dog’, ‘Pissy’, ‘The Flying Dutchman’, ‘Split Pin’, ‘Hocker’, ‘Gonzo’, ‘Floss’, ‘Bubbles’, ‘Springer’, ‘Ferret’, ‘Henry’, ‘Buster’, ‘Wallygator’, ‘Tully Gully’ and many more in the 1970s and ‘80s, right through to today, nicknames have been very popular at Nixon Park Temora.

 

This episode’s featured Temora players: Gary McDougall, Bruce Firman, Peter Gilchrist, Allan Breust, Peter Clarke and Wayne Krause.

 

Another great footy tradition is the singing of the club song after a win, on the annual trip away, in fact whenever players feel like it. It is customarily belted out with gusto on the ground, in the sheds, on the bus and in the pub afterwards. Temora is no exception. The Kangaroo’s song goes like this:

 

Temora footy club song

(to the tune of Along the Road to Gundagai)

“Are we good, are we good

 Are we any bloody good

We are the boys from Temora town

   You can bring up all your locals

And bring them to the top

The Temora boys are coming

We’re coming on the hop

  

 

Are we good, are we good

Are we any bloody good

We are the boys from Temora town”

 

This episode’s featured players made a combined total of nearly 2000 appearances for Temora, with several playing from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980’s. In many ways they represented the heart, soul and hope of the Kangaroos at the time. Four of the group have been awarded life membership of the club. Each player was chosen for this episode with the focus on the 1975 season in mind. Several other late 1970s and ‘80s players could have been included, such as Phil Reid and Gary Block, but their prime time was just around the corner.

 

Gary McDougall (‘Doog’)

 

 

Gary McDougall (jumper # 2) was a key defender, but also a capable forward for Temora over his 324 game career, which was highlighted by his 1980 season when he was awarded the Farrer League best and fairest award, the Baz Medal. Gary also won Temora’s best and fairest award on four occasions. He represented the Farrer League regularly in the 1970s and was highly regarded both at Temora and in Riverina football circles as a talented footballer and a fair competitor. Tall, laconic and deep-voiced, not unlike Brisbane’s Jonathan Brown, he was an asset to the club both on and off the field. ‘Doog’s’ charismatic and magnetic personality is typical of the stuff that helps bind footy clubs in both good and lean times.

 

 

Peter Gilchrist (‘Gilly’)

 

 

 

Peter Gilchrist (# 14) was Temora’s ‘Mr Reliable’ centre half back in a 420 game career that spanned nineteen seasons between 1966 and 1984. ‘Gilly’ was a fierce competitor, a great teammate on and off the field and an ideal role model for young players, always setting high standards. He took on the role of Under 16s coach and later Reserves coach, giving wonderful service for many decades to his beloved Temora Football Club. The consummate clubman Peter Gilchrist was awarded life membership of the club after he reached the 300 game milestone. But after 300 he was just warming up!

 

Bruce Firman

 

 

Bruce Firman (# 11) played 336 games (234 in the seniors) for Temora between 1970 and 1987 playing mostly at centre half forward. He was ideally suited to that position with his mobility, strong marking and penetrating kicking. Bruce was a member of the famous Farrer League team that won the NSW State Championships in 1976. He was a highly regarded player in the league, known for his competitiveness but also for his fairness and sportsmanship.

In the mid 1980s Bruce stepped back and captain coached the Reserves team, winning the Farrer League Reserves best and fairest award in 1984. In 1985 was beaten on a count back for the award. His contribution to the young playing group was immense, helping the Reserves to three successive premierships (1985, ‘86, ‘87). Bruce, like this episode’s other featured players, gave tremendous service to the club over many years, including club patron. Bruce is a life member of the Temora Australian Football Club.

 

Allan Breust (‘Sticka’)

 

 

After  playing junior football (Under 12s) with Ariah Park-Mirrool, Allan Breust (# 17) joined Temora where he worked his way up through the junior ranks to graduate to the seniors in 1975. He played over 180 games for the Kangaroos between 1975 and 1985, representing the Farrer League twice (1980, 1982) and winning the league goal kicking award (the George Burgess Trophy) in 1980 with 108 goals.

 

Allan was a fast leading full forward who was a very accurate kick for goal. He wasn’t a tall, high marking forward, but his specialty – lightning fast leading – made him a very difficult forward for opponents to counter. ‘Sticka’ gave lengthy service to the Temora Football Club, both on and off the field. He is the father of Hawthorn’s evergreen forward Luke Breust who has inherited his father’s trademark focused, head-over-the-ball approach when kicking for goal. Read about Luke Breust (the ‘Silo Sharpshooter’ from Temora) Here.

 

Peter (‘The Little White Bull’) Clarke

 

 

With a high reputation, Peter Clarke (# 3, # 12) arrived at Temora in 1974 from South West District Football League club Whitton, where he had won the 1971 Gammage Medal. Originally from Bendigo League club Eaglehawk, ‘The Little White Bull’ was a superb rover and small forward with a keen eye for the goals. In his Riverina football days (1970-1975, 1977), Peter was almost always among the leading goal kickers. He was renowned for his bullet-like stab passes that gave teammates a perfect supply of the football. When he came to Temora he filled the role of assistant coach to Pat Adams, providing great experience and leadership to the playing group. Peter Clarke was a very popular player and a much-loved character off the football field.

 

(Note: Peter Clarke is not to be confused with the author, Peter Clark, but coincidentally they did play together for Temora in 1977)

 

Wayne (‘Mouse’) Krause

 

 

Wayne Krause (# 4) is the Temora Football Club games record holder with 526 appearances in the blue and white Kangaroos footy jumper. Playing in defence, ‘Mouse’ was a fierce in-and-under competitor who could also hold his own against taller opponents and quickly turn defence into attack. To say that he was the ‘life and soul’ of the club is perhaps an understatement. Mouse was everyone’s friend, showing the way both on and off the field, always with spontaneous good humour and camaraderie. A Life Member of the club, he contributed his time and energy to the committee as secretary, treasurer, dedicated volunteer and club stalwart. Wayne Krause is held in high esteem not only at Temora but also throughout the Farrer League football community.

 

 

The Wimmera League

Round up

The Magpies (Murtoa) climbed back into the five after a win against the Lions (Warracknabeal). The reigning premiers, the Demons (Horsham), dropped out of the five and plummeted to sixth place after losing to the Redlegs (Stawell). The big upset of the round, however, was the shock defeat of the Rats (Ararat) by the Kangaroos (Dimboola). The Redbacks (Jeparit) returned to form with a big win over the Tigers (Nhill), while the Blues (Minyip) easily accounted for the bottom-placed Panthers (Rupanyup). Jeparit forwards Doug Schumman and Ken Stronach booted a combined total of 15 goals, taking their season tallies to 82 and 49 respectively.

 

Next week in the Wimmera League: Jeparit (3rd) host Horsham (6th), Stawell (2nd) face Murtoa (5th), Warracknabeal (8th) are at home to Ararat (1st), while the cellar-dwellers Rupanyup (10) and Nhill (9) meet at Rup oval. In our match of the day Dimboola (4th) meet Minyip (7th).

 

Next episode’s featured players: Merv Neagle and Ritchie Kalms (Dimboola)

 

 

In the VFL

The upset of the season unfolded at the Junction Oval when Fitzroy, with just three wins “whipped the ears off” (The Age 4.8.75) Hawthorn beaten only once in 17 games. The Saints stole the cream at VFL Park, defeating the Cats by four points after trailing all afternoon. The Blues put in a plodding performance to get the four points over lowly Swans. The Demons tamed co-tenants, the Tigers at the MCG, ensuring Richmond’s topsy turvey season would continue. At Windy Hill, the Bulldogs burst the Bombers final five hopes while boosting their own. ‘Super boot’ Bernie Quinlan led the way with six goals for the visitors.

 

Kangaroos coach Ron Barassi was not a happy man … again! Despite a 50 point mauling of Collingwood, two of his players got their names in the book for undisciplined acts of retaliation. Arnold Breidis and Peter Chisnall had their numbers taken for striking. Subsequently, Breidis was suspended for two matches, while “Chizzy” got off.

 

The handball happy Roos gave the Magpies a lesson in non-stop, play on football. Best for North were Davis, Wade, Kekovitch, Cable, Schimmellbush and Burns, familiar names and ones we would hear a lot more of in September.

 

 

Meanwhile …

Mining magnate Lang Hancock announced plans for a giant iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

In the Second Test at Lords England fought back strongly with new skipper Tony Greig scoring 96 of his team’s tally of 315 after Dennis Lillee had destroyed the home country’s top order. Australia responded with 268 thanks to an unbeaten 73 by the Western Australian speedster, before England piled on the runs in their second dig, highlighted by 175 from John Edrich. Set 484 for victory, Australia was 3/329 when the game fizzled out to a draw. Australia led the four match series 1 – 0, with the Third Test to be played at Leeds.

 

 

Read more episodes of A Season in the Country – 1975 in the Wimmera and Farrer Leagues HERE 

To read about Geelong’s Record Run, click HERE.

Peter also wrote about St. Kilda’s premiership season in his 1966 and All That series. You can read that HERE.

 

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Comments

  1. Riverina Rocket says

    Yet another great read Peter.

    Good to read about the Temora boys – many of whom I played against when the Bushpigs went into the Farrer League. Always tough and hard to beat. Interestingly enough most of their players were off farms while the rugby league club mostly fielded townies.

    Also good to see Ivan Carroll umpiring the game.
    Very good umpire – and terrific fellow.
    It was good to see him at last year’s uni club reunion – he was the first coach in 1972.

    And great to see Jeparit back on the winning list!

  2. Thanks for this series, Peter. I am finding it most enjoyable.

    I am continually amazed at the fact that even the smallest of towns managed to field a footy team back in the day. And saddened by the impact that losing said teams must have had on the towns.

  3. Peter Clark says

    Yes Riverina Rocket, there was a divide in the Riverina between the Aussie Rules and the League boys; the townies and the farmers. Their watering holes was one clear line of demarcation. Mostly good humoured rivalry though.

    Alas Smokie, the big towns (Albury and Horsham to name just two) have taken over at the expense of the smaller settlements, but some country leagues have managed to share the spoils around more evenly.

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