Almanac T-shirts and bush footy: Where the f..k is Tooleybuc


“Where the f..k is Tooleybuc?” T-shirts hang for sale in the bar of the local pub.

The majority of Australians probably don’t have a clue where Tooleybuc is. Not so for a couple of Northern Territorians, Ross Tungatalum and Adam Tipungwuti.

The young indigenous duo are some of a handful in the Tooley watering hole on Tuesday night. The former enjoys feeding a few coins into the slot of a gaming machine; the latter settles on watching a movie on the telly.

They share a beer – and a ‘beef’.

They want more footy to start the season. After all, that’s what they came south for.

The pair played for Tooleybuc-Manangatang in the opening round of the Central Murray League last weekend. Their club, the Saints, have a bye this weekend – before there is a general bye for all clubs the following weekend, Easter.

As they say in the classics, a long time between drinks. Or in this case, between games.

“Are you going home for two weeks?” Tungatalum is asked by a local.

“Nuh, I’m staying here,” he replied. “We’ve got training or a scratch match on the weekend.”

Tungatalum plays for the Tiwi Bombers in the Premier League in the NT.

I ask how he went in the opening game in the Central Murray.

“We lost by eight points. Don’t know who we lost to, but they wore the colours of the Adelaide Crows.” (It’s Koondrook-Barham, known as the ‘River Raiders’).

I then inquire if he knows the Papertalk brothers, Leedham and Kristian, who hail from Mullewa, 100km east of Geraldton in Western Australia.

The pair were star players at the club, where yours truly was president the past two years, and spent the off-season in Darwin playing for Southern Districts.

“Yeah, I do. We [Tiwi Bombers] played them in the last game of the year. They rested a lot of players for the first semi the next week. But they lost it.”

Tipungwuti – who two seasons back had a stint with St Arnaud in the North Central League -was a member of the Wanderers side which lost the NT grand final to St Mary’s by nine goals.

There were four Motlops in the Wanderers 22, and two Riolis and one Long in the St Mary’s squad.

For those folk not as good on geography as Tungatalum and Tipungwuti, Tooleybuc is 45km from Swan Hill, sitting metres inside the NSW side of the border with Victoria.



  1. Earl O'Neill says

    Seems to be a Motlop in every league in Australia, fitting that when four play for one team it’s the Wanderers.

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