Footy history: Hawthorn (and Footscray) – Bobbin’ up and down like this

Doing a bit of research and found out that the original Hawthorn song was an unlikely seafaring number made famous in the singalongs of music halls and by a Dad’s Army episode in 1969:


Sons of the sea
Bobbing up and down like this
Sailing the ocean
Bobbing up and down like this
We will build the ships my lads
Bobbing up and down like this
But you can’t beat the boys of the Hawthorn team
Bobbing up and down like this
And here’s the tune (I wonder when it took hold out Footscray way):


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. James Grapsas says

    I think that, in the film ‘The Club”, the players wearing Hawthorn jumpers sung this song in the rooms after they beat Collingwood (not mentioned by name in the movie). Hawthorn were coached by “Rostov”.

    This was before Geoff Hayward hit his purple patch …

  2. Haha James, I immediately thought of that scene in The Club as well. When I first saw the film as a kid in the early 80’s I didn’t know why they were singing such a song but have since learnt that it was an unofficial club tune…a bit like The Horses is now.

    Not sure if Rostoff kept his job at Hawthorn after the Collingwood thing fell through as it ended up being a Fitzroy v Collingwood Grand Final. Did Collingwood end up recruiting Cam Donaldson, Mickey Dimmish and Andy Payne? How would you like them in your goal to goal line?

    ‘Cheeta Ryan, the greatest centreman of all time, Warren Oates, only five foot seven but with a heart as big as a pumpkin. Mike Lenehan, Terry Dunstan, Sandy Forbes. Great names from a great club.’

  3. Steve Hodder says

    Now I find this very interesting JTH. Two clubs that wear their imperialist roots on their sleeves; Footscray all red, white’n’ blue bulldog and The Mustardpots with their yankee doodle dandy etc. It seems the two are hopelessly entwined musically. The chill winds of the East eventually settle upon the West?

    Or whatever?


  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Very interesting JTH any 1 with any more info,what era ? When did present song come along ?
    Enjoyed the comments above re the club

  5. For a moment there I thought John had posted up clip from The Fast Show.

  6. Fairfield Football Club circa 1973 used to finish their theme song with the line ‘bobbin up and down like this”

  7. I was once invited to a Hawthorn coterie lunch thing at the MCG. Hawks won the match and after a few speeches and such the coterie members all wandered off, formed a big circle and then sung the bobbing up and down song. A bit weird.

  8. This was the Queenscliff football song, and I assume it still is.

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