Fevvy and all the fun of the circus



In Tassy things are happening. Some say we’ve ‘moved on’ and footy has been on the back burner of late. We now have a big, new museum called MONA. And in the last few weeks there’s been a big festival of art and culture (DARK MOFO) with international artists taking up residence. The piece de resistance was a massive light spectacular called Spectra by Japanese artist Ryogi Ikeda on the Hobart domain. Alamancker Squeezebox Wally and Mick Thomas returned to give us a history trip with Vandemonian Lags. Then, just to get some real recognition we followed up with a winter solstice public nude swim. Reports were that hospital emergency departments were inundated with men suffering undescended testes; particular the older members of the community. We were described by mainland journalists as  ‘out there’. Had we come of age, so to speak? I remember as a kid the nearest thing to the arts that I was exposed to was the circus.


Back to reality. Stuck to my fridge door I have a Moonah TAB calendar. Every home should have one. I had June 29 marked as an important day. Income tax  reminder? Hell no. It simply said Fevvy – Boyer.


The 1pm pickup of number one sidekick Lezzy found him overflowing with excitement. He sprang into the car with his travelling bag and thermos singing Lipps Inc’s 80’s classic with a slight variation:


Won’t you take me to

Fevvy Town.

Won’t you take me to

Fevvy Town.

Won’t you take me to……

Doo dah-doo

Fevvy Townnnn


I said, “Come on Les, lets talk about it, talk about it, talk about it……. Yeah, yeah. We’ve gotta move on, yeah, gotta move on.” He even had a long-collared paisley shirt and platform shoes. Man, he was out there. Seems his nearest brush with the arts was disco.


A gentle cruise up the Lyell Highway, the sun bright and the Derwent river as still as a millpond. Firewood seemed to be a necessity in this community as wood-hooker’s trucks lined the streets. We weren’t looking for wood, we were looking for goals and the target was high.


Then, as often is the case, my mind began to wander, about the old days and arrived at the circus. Why, I’ve no idea but I remember as a kid the circus used to come to town. The first time I can ever recall it was Bullen’s. People came from all over and they had exotic animals. Lions, a tiger, a panther, a gorilla, a few monkeys and what looked like a family of four elephants; including a baby one. It used to grab the adult elephants by the tail with its trunk as it was led around. I loved elephants and just wanted to see one lift a log like in the Tarzan movie. Come show time and the elephant lifted a lady over it’s head with its trunk and she rode it around the ring. We were in awe.  I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Dad.


Years later another circus came to town but Dad warned us, “These blokes aren’t as good as Bullens.” He was right. They had just one elephant. It was big but it had a chain on its leg that pinned it to the ground. We were encouraged to read the Bible as kids and remember this one: “Don’t you know that my eyes are on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” I felt sorry for that elephant.


On show night there was no lifting, the elephant just walked around the ring.  There was an old cross-eyed lion, and heaps of monkeys. I hated the monkeys. They were in cages outside the tent. They smelled and jumped at us as we got near. Years later the circus came again. This time there was no elephant, no tiger and the lion was mangy and looked blind. There were a few camels, heaps of monkeys, ponies and dogs.  Ponies and dogs? My nan had dogs and Chris Howell had ponies. Nothing new there. That circus wasn’t much good.


I wondered if today would be more of the same; not as good as the last time. You see the last time Fevvy came to New Norfolk he put on a circus. He had every trick in the book and kicked 18 goals. But, like Sixto Rodriguez, I wondered.


This time the fanfare was the same but Fevvy told the faithful he’d be very surprised if he kicked 18 again. But still they came. It was like the circus, they came from all over. Gordon “Whip” Collins greeted me on the gate. The local Liberal candidate for Lyons hand-rushed me and said he’d been twittering or the like about the day to his constituents. I thought, “I don’t need this, p-ss off d-ck head.”


Fevvy appeared in the tri-colour, number 25 Eagle guernsey. He looked a bit heavier than last year but still in good shape. What next? Well the Fevmiester started better than last time. Goal one from a free kick, number two from a mark in the square, goal three from a long lead and 40 metre conversion; all this inside the first 5 minutes. Then a test for the Eagle midfield. Fevvy led to the right and local star (and reigning League B&F) Michael ‘Thommo’ Thompson led left. They honored Fevvy! He converted from outside 50. Then a one on one, push and shove about 20 metres out. Next a highball and juggled mark, 45 metres out, 45 degree angle; no trouble. Then a push and shove in the pocket, tight angle, after the siren; is there anything he can’t do. They swarmed.


Quarter time and the punters were everywhere, texting, tweeting, phoning, filming admiring. A kid about 6 years old, burrowed in close to Fevvy in the huddle, stared up at him like he was Santa Claus and said, “Have you got 7?”


Second verse same as the first. Three minutes in, highball, one hander. Next, a mark 30 out, then the full back fell over 25 metres out; Fevvy plays on around the body. Then another highball one-handed in the square. Number 12 around the body from the (dead) pocket, check side, lobs in the goal square, right angles through. There aren’t any other ways, are there? It was like a stationary ark, two of everything. Then, late in proceedings a holding free. What else could the hapless backmen do? Tight angle, in front of a now humming booza, looked like a point. Goal umpire, staring into the sun, no idea, considers personal safety, no review in these parts, another. Half time tally: 13, thanks very much. Eagles lead 17.6-108 to Brighton 1.3-9


There was talk of another record. Only time would tell.


Into the sheds and Fevvy communicates via a hand-held device to Yarrawonga. The Pigeons are up and cruising at half time too. A glucose snake, a drink of staminade and it’s on again.


Back into the sunlight and the crowd seemed to have thinned. Talk was that some had seen enough. This time Fevvy had to contend with two defenders, one either side. The Brighton boys stacked the backline and things quietened down a bit. Fevvy snared only one for the quarter but the crumbers had a field day. Fourteen at three-quarter time. Where to from here?


The last quarter opened, but this time there was, can you believe, four on Fevvy. One either side, one in front, to chop the lead and one behind with the punch. Somehow Fevvy got clear and marked twice about 30 metres out. But he couldn’t convert, much to the dismay of the Eagle faithful. Finally he cracked it, then another, but to their credit the Brighton boys had finally stemmed the bleeding. Unfortunately they were 29 goals in arrears come siren time. Fevvy’s contribution was 2 short of last time but a magnificent 16 all the same.


But his efforts didn’t end there. He was still on the ground half an hour after siren time, signing autographs and doing happy snaps. Only the dark forced him in.


Just like the circus, all those years ago it was another great show. A crowd of about 3000 made it another big success for the club. But, it was not as exciting as last time. Fortunately the star of the show was unshackled.



D Sharpen

1 July 2013



  1. Matt Zurbo says

    Grreat piece!!

  2. Loved the piece, Daryl. Lots of colour and characters as always.
    I’m interested to know what the non-New Norfolk fans and players make of all this. Is it ‘good for footy’? Or only for NN and Fev?
    Given that NN are premiers and Brighton are down the bottom (even with regular players) do they feel they are being treated as cannon fodder; or do they join into the one-off festivities???

  3. Daryl Sharpen says

    Peter – Must agree it is an indictment on the league really. But they (clubs) are doing it all over the country. After all, it is still entertainment. The atmosphere wasn’t as electric as last time and the applause and crowd roar was subdued, probably due to expectation.
    Regarding the opposition players, I recall last year the Huonville boys said they enjoyed the experience. No doubt a similar feel from Brighton in fact the full back, James Hope, was quoted as saying, “That (it) was a big experience.” He seems to natter away to the opposition and certainly encourages and tutors his teammates.
    A nice gesture would be to make some form of donation to the losing clubs. That may have happened but I’m unaware of it. After all they have provided the fodder as you call it.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Daryl, enjoyed your Fev pieces here and in the Footy Town book. Must visit New Norfolk one day.

  5. nice one.

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