Almanac History: Music, sport and the footy in July 1971





Don’t ya love her madly?
Don’t ya need her badly
Don’t ya love her ways
Tell me what you say






Jim Morrison and the Doors have long been favourites of mine.  Going back to my childhood  I remember catching up with older cousins, listening to their Doors albums such as L A Woman. The music always impressed me as a little tacker. The Doors music in many ways summed up the times, with classic tunes such as Riders on The Storm, Touch Me, Unknown Soldier, Roadhouse Blues, and Light My Fire  being anthems to this exciting period. However, the time of the Doors was brief, with Jim Morrison being gone far too early. He is one of the members of the ‘27 club’, those talented performers who died at that age.


Jim Morrison’s death in Paris on July 3rd, 1971 brought the band to an end, though it provided impetus to the legend. Morrison’s death still is a cause of conjecture.  There was a version his girlfriend Pamela Courson gave him a ‘hot shot’ of heroin though Morrison apparently had an aversion to needles, whilst another story is that he snorted heroin in a night club, leading to his death. Pamela stated she woke to find him dead in the bath. The coroner listed the cause of death as heart attack, but no autopsy was conducted.


Morrison was buried in the Pere Lachaise, a cemetery famous for its poets and performers. Among them is one of Morrison’s heroes, Oscar Wilde. Even his burial adds to the intrigue. The only people in attendance were Pamela, and the under taker, with none of the band, or Morrison’s family, knowing of his death until he was buried.


This circumstances of Morrisons’ death and hurried burial led to acrimony over his estate, as the unmarried Pamela was listed as the sole heir to his estate. Morrison’s family were quite wealthy with his father George being a Rear Admiral in the U S navy. It may be worth noting George Morrison was the officer in charge of US naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the pretext for increased US involvement in the undeclared war in Vietnam.


Expensive legal battles over the estate dragged on over the next few years before a 1979 settlement that saw the Morrisons’ control half the royalties from Jim’s music, with the Courson’s taking the rights to control the Morrison image, the music, as well as some of the royalties.


As it was, Pamela died of an overdose on Anzac Day, April 25, 1974. Even her death added to the controversy as the funeral plaque lists her surname as Morrison though the pair never married.


It’s worth noting the weekend of Jim Morrisons’ death was also the weekend of the 1971 Wimbledon tennis finals. That year Wimbledon was a happy hunting ground for Australia, with both the 1971 women’s and men’s singles champions being Australian players.


For the women Evonne Goolagong thrilled Australia, and the world, with a  6-4, 6-1 victory over compatriot Margaret Court. 1971 treated Evonne well. In the French Open final a few weeks prior, she’d beaten compatriot Helen Gourlay, 6-3 7-5 in claiming the French crown.  Evonne finished 1971 the world’s top ranked female tennis player. At the age of 20 the young indigenous champion from Barellan, up past Griffith in Southwestern New South Wales, was on top of the world.


Don’t forget Australia in 1971 still very much adhered to the fiction of Terra Nulius, that this wide brown land was unoccupied by humans prior to European colonisation.  Only four years earlier 90.77% of votes cast in a referendum agreed to give the Commonwealth of Australia powers to make laws for the First Nations people of this land, also including them in the census. It’s important remembering these people had lived here for 60,000 years, long before the Europeans were even aware of this land. It’s worth noting Evonne Goolagong has spoken of her fears about being taken from her parents, this being the time of the Stolen Generation. To have a young indigenous woman succeed on the world stage broke many barriers. Evonne Goolagong was a worthy winner for 1971’s Australian of the year.


In the 1971 Wimbledon men’s singles, John Newcombe defeated America’s Stan Smith in a tough five set contest. When Smith took two sets to one lead, Newcombe drew deep into his reserves of G&D to take the final two sets, winning 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.  For Newcombe this was his third Wimbledon singles title; he was also part of the winning men’s doubles combination 6 times. This was the second year in a row an Australian ‘pairing’ was victorious in the Wimbledon singles, the third time overall.  It’s not happened since. Will it ever again?


Of course, Saturday July 3 also saw Round 14 of the Victorian Football League’s (VFL) 1971 season. Coming into this round Hawthorn were on top of the ladder followed by Collingwood, St Kilda, and Melbourne.  Hawthorn faced a danger clash travelling out of Melbourne town, down the road to Geelong.


Kardinia Park had not been happy hunting ground for Hawthorn, last winning there in their premiership season of 1961. Then in 1963, when Geelong beat Hawthorn in the Grand Final, these teams tied in their clash at Kardinia Park. Hawthorn had struggled there in the following years.


1969 was probably the closest Hawthorn had come to a victory in this period, leading well into the last quarter then a flurry of goals from Geelong saw them home by 15 points. Leading them with 8 goals was Doug Wade, who in that final burst hauled in the mark of the season, with his follow up goal bringing the house down. But all that was past tense when the teams lined up in 1971.


Hawthorn jumped off away a 6-goal lead at the first change, a bulwark maintained throughout the first half. Words were exchanged between members of both teams during a break, with Geelong eventually commencing a spirited fight back in the third term. As it was the buffer Hawthorn had in place was enough to record their first win there since they’d won their previous flag. An omen?


The absence of rovers Billy Goggin, and Ian Nankervis, hurt Geelong as Hawthorns’ roving  pair of Leigh Matthews and Peter Crimmins combined for 50 touches, capped off by five goals.


The two full forwards enjoyed a bit of a shoot-out; Hawthorn’s  Peter Hudson, Geelong’s Doug Wade, each kicked 7. Hawthorns full back Kelvin Moore found himself moved off Doug Wade, then contributed a couple of goals of his own, his first league goals. Ooh, for the era of great full forwards.


Hawthorn: 6.6.42. 9.9.63 12.10.82 15.13.103  (Hudson 7, Matthews 3, Crimmins 2, Moore 2, Martello)
Geelong: 1.0.6 3.2.20 10.5.65 13.6.84 (Wade 7, Ryan 3, Clarke 2, Stephens)


Melbourne, after a wonderful start to the season, were still in contention for a finals berth, their first since 1964. However, they’d dropped form losing three of the four clashes prior to this. Carlton, reigning premiers, were thereabouts, just outside of the four going into the clash. This could be an 8-point match.


Melbourne were on top during the first half, but Carlton plugged away eventually taking the lead late in the third term. Despite having eleven more scoring shots Carlton’s winning margin was only 16 points.


A noteworthy inclusion in Melbourne’s side was Ross Dillon, who’d just kicked a lazy 11 in the Reserves. Dillon, Melbourne’s leading goal scorer the two previous seasons, had not played a senior game in 1971. Would his inclusion help?  Not really, as he only kicked a sole goal.


Concurrently, a significant absence from Carlton’s side was forward Alex Jesaulenko. Like Ross Dillon he’d been his clubs leading goal scorer the two previous seasons, including kicking 115 goals in 1970.


Carlton were well led to their victory by Adrian ‘Gags’ Gallagher who with 29 possessions, and a pair of goals, was best afield.  Two Carlton legends, John Nicholls and Sergio Silvagni, who were Gallagher’s associates in the following division triumvirate also played leading roles in this victory. They were well assisted by Brian Walsh, a young rover from Sandhurst popping up with 4 goals, with another impressive youngster David ‘Swan’ McKay whose display of aerial skills gave signs of a big future.


For Melbourne John Townsend, Tony Sullivan, Greg Parke, Paul Callery and Gary Hardeman were all strong contributors. However, their efforts couldn’t save Melbourne from a second consecutive loss. The early season promise seemed a long time ago.


Carlton: 1.6.12 5.9.39 8.15.63 12.16.88 (Walsh 4, Nicholls 3, Gallagher 2, Silvagni 2, Keogh)
Melbourne:  3.2.20 7.3.45 9.4.58 11.6.72 (Townsend 3, Bourke 2, Callery 2, Clark, Parke, Dillon, Sinclair)


South Melbourne found themselves at home to Footscray. In 1970 South Melbourne won both encounters with Footscray on the way to their first finals berth since 1945. 1971 was not going anywhere near as well, through in the early clash at Footscray’s home ground, the Western Oval, South Melbourne only lost by 6 points.


In South Melbourne’s team for this Round 14 clash was Dennis Matthews. This was his only appearance, recording no touches. Did he get a run? Mic, Gigz, are you two any the wiser of him? Another debutant was Robert Hay who picked up 18 touches. The two-point defeat was the closest he got to playing in a winning team during his 14-game senior career.


For Footscray the third term was the veritable ‘premiership quarter’ slamming on 9-5 to turn a 15-point deficit into a 20-point lead. However, South Melbourne weren’t to be denied, fighting back to within 2 points before the siren went producing an enthralling end to the match. South Melbourne remained anchored on the bottom of the table with only the 2 wins.


Footscray:  5.2.32 8.3.51. 17.8.110 19.11.125 (Quinlan 4, Sandilands 4, Parker 3, Bissett 2, Dell, Magee, Mannix, Merrington, Round, Thorpe)
South Melbourne: 6.3.39 10.6.66 13.12.90  18.15.123 (Bedford 7, Hoffman 3, McHenry 2, Quade 2, Cook, Grima, Murphy, Pitura)


The ‘Pies’ faithful crammed into Victoria Park for a clash with long term rivals, Essendon. The early season clash at Windy Hill saw a draw. The return bout was a shellacking with full forward Peter Mckenna outscoring Essendon, helping himself to a lazy bag of 12.  Des Tuddenham had the ball on the string recording 40 possessions, capped off with four goals.


Collingwood’s winning margin of 147 points was a club record, surpassing the previous best winning margin of 128 points set against St Kilda in 1901. However, within 8 years it was superseded by Collingwood’s 1979, 178-point demolition of St Kilda.


A few players debuted that afternoon at Victoria Park.  We saw Laurie Kaine debut for the victors: he kicked a point in that match, the only score in his brief career. For Essendon, Trevor Heath debuted; it was also his last game. For his teammate Bryan Pirouet, it was also his final game after playing 14 times for the Bombers.


Collingwood:  5.5.35 13.10.88 23.15.153 30.20.200 (McKenna 12, Tuddenham 4, W Richardson 3, Dean 2, Heard 2, Jenkin 2, Coles, Dunne, Greening, Pettigrew, Rose)
Essendon: 2.5.17 3.9.27 5.10.40  7.11.53 (C Payne 3, Anderson, Daniel, Grainger, Hogan)


North Melbourne found themselves playing at home for the second consecutive week though they hoped for an improvement after the 59-point drubbing St Kilda meted out the previous Saturday. Their opponents Fitzroy had also been humbled the previous week, Hawthorn defeating them by 35 points at VFL Park, Waverley.


A small crowd of 8,777 turned up at Arden Street to see if the home side could beat Fitzroy. For the first three terms the Kangaroos held sway, establishing a nice buffer. But the pressure went on in the final term as Fitzroy may have pinched the four points but poor kicking for goal was costly.


For the victors John Perry was grand, picking up 28 kicks, capped off with a pair of goals. Other contributors of note were ‘Slamming’ Sam Kekovcich who booted four majors, with the young trio of David Dench, Vin Doolan, and Keith Greig all impressive.


Alex Ruscuklic, one of only three German born players to turn out at the top level, was in Fitzroy’s ranks that day. It was one of his 108 games for Fitzroy. 1971 was probably Ruscuklic’s best year for the ‘Roy boys’ finishing equal fifth in the Brownlow medal, polling 16 votes.


John Murphy contributed 5 goals for Fitzroy. Coincidentally  Murphy finished his career at Arden Street, his last VFL game being for North Melbourne in the 1980 R 12 encounter with Essendon.


North Melbourne: 5.4.34 9.5.59 13.10.88 13.11.89 (Kekovich 4, Greig 3, Perry 2, Scholes 2, Doolan, Ryan)
Fitzroy:  4.1.25 6.7.43 8.10.58 11.16.82  (Murphy 5, Crow, Irwin, Renwick, Rhodes, L Robertson, Ruscuklic)


Richmond journeyed down to Moorabbin. The ground was a bit of a hoodoo for them, Richmond last winning there in their premiership year of 1967. The biggest crowd for the day, 28,825, attended this clash. The final term commenced as the home side had a 30-point buffer, yet Richmond weren’t being denied. Kicking to the scoring end they added 6-4,  sneaking home by 3 points.


Barry Richardson kicked 5 for Richmond. Support around the ground by club stalwarts Kevin Bartlett and Roger Dean, assisted by Greg Hollick who played one of the best games in his 38-game career helped Richmond to a tight victory.  Former Saint Ian Stewart made his first appearance for Richmond at his old ground, though he only managed 7 touches being unable to have much impact on the victory over his former team.


Richmond: 1.5.11 5.6.36 7.8.50 13.12.90 (Richardson 5, Dean 2, Hollick 2, Bartlett, Bond, Brown, Hart)
St Kilda: 3.2.20 4.6.30 12.8.80 13.9.87  (Davis 3, Ditterich 2, Galt 2, McIntosh 2, Bonney, Breen, Moran, Smith)


Though St Kilda and Melbourne lost, both remained in the top four. However Richmond, also Carlton, fighting for a finals berth, snuck that bit closer. When the 1971 season ended Richmond had replaced Melbourne in obtaining a final berth, Melbourne not appearing in the finals again until 1987. Where will 2021 take them?


Another big Melbourne sporting event that day was the Rugby Union clash involving South Africa’s Springboks, against a Victorian team. However, the sporting clash was surpassed by anti-apartheid demonstrations, with the subsequent violent police response. Around the world the off-field action field attracted more attention than the visitors 50-0 result on the playing ground. For anyone interested in this encounter the following link may interest you. Click here.


To close the posting, what better way than once again deferring to Jim Morrison’s singing of Love her madly.


Yeah, all your love is gone
So, sing a lonely song
Of a deep blue dream
Seven horses seem to be on the mark.





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  1. Love the fusion of music, sport and culture here, Glen! I was never much of a fan of The Doors but recognise their place in the rock arena. I was more into the likes of Rod Stewart, Carole King, Janis Joplin (also of the 1970 aged 27 genre), Daddy Cool, Spectrum, Three Dog Night, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Bowie, The Who, Yes…’I remember when I was young’, as Matt Taylor sang.

  2. Wimbledon finals coincided with school holidays. Come down from the country to stay with Nan & Pop in Adelaide. Mattress on the lounge room floor to watch the tennis late into the night on Black and White TV. Great memories.
    Australia loved the romance of the “boy/girl from the bush” beating the world. Doug Walters. Evonne. So long as she didn’t “get uppity” or “go walkabout”.
    Big “Riders on the Storm” fan. Love the moody intro.
    VFL just wasn’t a thing outside Victoria until after colour TV and The Winners and the systemic pillaging of our best players by Ron Joseph and John Elliott began in mid 70’s. All those VFL games and seasons were just a Sunday paper box score to us.
    Thanks for the memories Glen!

  3. Mic Rees says

    Hello Glen, terrific read my good man.

    1971 was a memorable year. New residents at the Lodge, Wake in Fright was released, Chips Rafferty dropped off the twig and Julian Assange was born (he turns 50 tomorrow).

    Insofar as the music scene is concerned had the local radio ban on certain Oz/International releases come to an end? Tapestry (Carol King), What’s going on (Marvin Gaye) Patchwork (Bobbie Gentry) – yeah, some pretty handy albums that year.

    Sorry to say I can’t help you with many details on Mr Matthews’ brief foray in VFL footy. He was recruited from Kerang, that’s about it. I’ll try and do better next time.

    I notice that some handy cricketers got amongst the goals on 3/7 – Bedford, Scholes, Cook and Rose.

    Look forward to your next effort.


  4. What a great band! Four brilliant individuals and a combination that was even greater than the sum of its parts. Dying in the bathtub is far more ‘poetic’ ending than od’ing in a nightclub bathroom. I only came onto the scene a year after Morrison departed so didn’t get into them until I bought the soundtrack to the movie (on cassette). I was hooked by both the hits and the poetry. Jim Morrison remains 27. A 77 year-old Morrison is beyond comprehension.

  5. Thanks for the comments chaps.

    Music from 1971? Russel Morris, Daddy Cool the Mixtures: was L A international airport another 1971 release? The Aztecs recorded/released their live album, recorded at Melbourne Town Hall. Six tracks, all very powerful. The use of the Town Hall organ lends wonderfully to the music. ( I hope i’ve worded this properly)

    Michael my understanding was the radio ban was from May to October 1970, It related to royalty payments.

    Jim Morrison @ 77 ?!?


  6. Thanks Glen for this trip down memory lane.
    I don’t play the Doors often, but am a great admirer of their music.
    I have made the pilgrimage to Jim’s grave in Paris.

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