Almanac Book Review: Clogball


Adam Muyt is a long-time friend of the Almanac as is the reviewer of this book, Roy Hay.

Roy is a distinguished historian and writer who, along with Bill Murray, is the authority on the history of soccer in Australia, and the history of soccer in its social context in Australia.






Adam Muyt published Maroon and Blue: Recollections and Tales of the Fitzroy Football Club in 2006. Now he has turned his skills to the Dutch influence on soccer in Australia since the Second World War. It is another marvellous story told with a light touch that only just disguises the deep and extensive research on which it is based.

The post-war Dutch migration to Australia from the Netherlands directly and from what is modern-day Indonesia, then the Dutch East Indies, was substantial. Around 125,000 Dutch people arrived in the peak inward migration years of the 1950s some eight per cent of the non-British incomers. They brought their sports and their social clubs with them and Association football, soccer, was probably the most important of these.

One substantial group of engineers and construction workers arrived in Corio in the northern suburbs of Geelong to build an oil refinery for the Royal Dutch company of Shell. The area had been subdivided and set aside for houses in the 1930s but development had stalled until the 1950s. Soon the local soccer league had not one Dutch team but several—Olympia, that had three teams at one point, Shell, that had two briefly, Go Ahead, and the Dutch Society of Geelong (DSG). Holland, won the De Nieuwe Wereld Cup, a competition sponsored by the local Dutch newspaper, in which players competed in teams drawn from their heritage rather their regular club. The efflorescence was brief as when the refinery and its housing was completed the construction workers and their families moved on. By the late 1950s some of the remaining Dutch players joined the Corio club that won the Second Division North of the Metropolitan League in 1958. Others continued with the clubs playing in the local leagues.

Many of the 1950s Dutch migrants settled in rural western Victoria forming soccer clubs in and around Port Fairy, Warrnambool, Hamilton and Mount Gambier. Others went east to the Latrobe Valley, where the Morwell club was taken over by Dutch players and officials and the construction company Werkspoor set up a junior team for the offspring of its workers.

Dutch influence was profound in Victoria on and off the field. John van Hoboken was the driving force behind the Wilhelmina club and built their magnificent stadium in Ringwood. A force of nature he was a disrupter whose attraction of top-quality players from Holland without paying transfer fees to their clubs led to the suspension of Australia’s membership of FIFA from 1960 to 1963.

Many Dutch players joined clubs with other heritages. Trixie (van Lieshout) Tagg came to Australia in 1962 when she was 13. She joined the Prague club in Sydney and played in the first women’s national tournament in 1974. The following year she was part of an Australian women’s team to take part in an invitational tournament in Hong Kong, the predecessor of the Matildas today.

Dutch influence on soccer in Australia did not end with the waves of migration. In 1974 when the Socceroos qualified for their first FIFA World Cup, Johan Cruyff, Rinus Michaels and their Dutch ‘total football’ team were the favourites to win the trophy only to lose to West Germany in the final. Subsequently the governing bodies of the game in Australia have looked to Holland for coaches for the Socceroos, most notably Guus Hiddink, who took the team to the 2006 World Cup again in Germany.

Domestically the brilliant orange of Holland was seen in the A-League as Brisbane Roar won back-to-back A-League Premierships, though the influences on master coach Ange Postecoglou were much wider.

Youngsters of Dutch extraction also took to the domestic code of football including Paul van der Haar and Robert Klomp. The cricketer Bob Holland was known as ‘Dutchy’ but he was not.

The resources used for Clogball are listed in an impressive set of endnotes and an extensive bibliography.

The book will be launched at the Dutch Social Club in Carnegie on Sunday 23 July 2023 at 2 pm.



Clogball: The Dutch and Soccer in Australia: A Migrant Story by Adam Muyt
can be purchased from his publisher Here


More from Roy Hay can be read Here.







To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE


Leave a Comment