The battle for Melbourne’s soul: Sporting Capital or International City of Culture?

AFL Grand Final day 2009. A young Japanese tourist wandered down Spring Street, Melbourne, dressed in a fashionable clinging top with blue and white horizontals. She was quickly surrounded by Geelong fans, vying to have their photo taken beside her. An observer described her as “utterly, utterly perplexed”.

Who’s watching the Grand Final? Home teams and foul-weather friends

Who’s watching the Grand Final? Home teams and foul-weather friends Tony Ward Who’d have thought the TV ratings sensation for 2010 would be a cooking show?  Junior Masterchef attracted 2.2 million viewers on Sunday 12 September.  Overshadowed by its big brother in July – the final of Masterchef attracted 4 million viewers, making it the [Read more]

Kicking Goals: Sport in Australian National Identity

My book Kicking Goals was published in March.  It takes a fresh look at the common image of Australia as a sporting nation.  Sporting passions have ebbed and flowed since Archer won the first Melbourne Cup in 1861.  Tracing these, the book emphasises the differing ways Australians have loved our sports, saluted our national symbols, [Read more]

The real founders of Aussie Rules?

By Tony Ward Tony is author of the recently published Sport in Australian National Identity: Kicking Goals (Routledge). Paperback ISBN 978-0415575553, published 31 March 2010 in UK – copies available: £26.99 plus shipping, from $50 including shipping, from There’s been a decent tussle over the last couple of years on who can claim [Read more]