Footy in Tasmania: Picture This

Apart from spending one week there in 2008, I don’t have any great knowledge or affinity with Tasmania. Having said that, I haven’t met an Apple Islander that I didn’t like. And I reckon that they’ve been given a bum footy deal national competition-wise.


I stumbled across this at the library associated with my current workplace. It is a cracker, put together by Ken Pinchin and Allan Leeson.


I haven’t yet read it in detail, so I’m still none the wiser about the complicated politics of Tassie footy. An example, the historic depiction of each state team by specifying which league (T.F.L, N.T.F.A, N.W.F.U.) each of the selected players came from gives a hint of its complexity to us mainlandlubbers.


My version had this bland cover, although I have seen other versions emblazoned with the more evocative Cazaly image that follows.



This book is chock full of history: anecdotal, political, statistical and pictorial. Here’s some examples of the latter.





What struck me immediately was the action photography, which seems to go uncredited. You can just about smell the smoke coming from the nearby chimneys.


Here are a few examples for your enjoyment (yes Huddo gets a few mentions). (click to enlarge)









I hope this has stirred up some memories of Tassie Footy. I’d like to hear from you if it has.


Update: Here’s a photo from the 1947 Carnival, with a similar background to some of the shots above (from The Pash Papers)

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Hey, they all have just one head!

  2. Chris Rees says

    Great stuff Swish. That Hobart Tigers getup is pretty lively.

  3. I played basketball against Michael Roach in the mid-1970’s in a Baptist Youth Carnival in Adelaide!! At the time there was a rumour that he had been signed by Richmond, for big money….turned out to be true!

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Excellent work Swish. Was I. Barwick (1972) related to Doug Barwick?

  5. Their guernseys seem similar to AFL ones and I strongly think Tasmania should have an AFL club. Plus Fitzroy should get Lions back.

  6. Thanks again for sharing, Swish.

    I get quite nostalgic when I see these pics. Personally, I loved attending TFL games at Nth Hobart, Bellerive (now Blundstone Arena), TCA ground (also home for Tassie Cricket prior to Bellerive), KGV at Glenorchy, Queenborough near the Casino and even Boyer (home of the Oulp Mill) between 1975 and mid 80s before leaving the state. It was “our” VFL but then also made us supporters appreciate the step up in class yo the big league. The Big V platers were idolised when they made a rare trip to Hobart.

    Local TFL games were hotly contested affairs with real salt of the earth dyed in the wool type supporters which is what you’d expect. There was no love lost when Glenorchy supporters made the trip across the river to play my team Clarence and vice versa! Plenty of advice handed out from across the boundary line to the players from memory too ;)

    Unfortunately I was OS as a 12 yr old and therefore missed the famous 1979 GF when somehow 23,000 crammed into Nth Hbt to see Clarence beat Glenorchy.

    Another great tradition was seeing the 6 VFL game score updates posted on the main scoreboard at Nth Hbt Oval.

    Just wonderful times. You no doubt have similar stories and memories from the SANFL in the same decades.

    Damian, the former Apple Islander !

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for the interest so far everybody.

    I saw an online response from Martin Flanagan that the Sandy Bay team of the 70s was the best Tassie team he ever saw.

    Not sure about I Barwick, Phil, I’ll do some digging.

    The game that Damian refers to can be found here

  8. Robert Allen says

    Hi Swish. It is a great reference book, and my dogeared copy served me well when I was researching my book on Roy Cazaly. It is a treasure trove of stas, profiles and photos. The internecine battles between the South, the North and the North West were part of Tas folklore for generations. Emnities between local sides were put aside several times each season for these battles. In turn, regional differences were forgotten every three years when a combined Tassie team took on the other states at the national carnival. Tas hosted three such carnivals – in 1924, 1947 and 1966. Some of the best players never to play in the VFL – and quite a few who did – were in these sides. It was a different era. Footy is still strong in Tas but the local comps are under siege from changing demographics. Meanwhile the AFL continues to pick up the cream of local talent – a situation lamented by Cazaly as far back as 1934, when he remarked that “as soon as a young player’s capabilities have been developed, at considerable expense to the club, he is induced to go to Melbourne.” The more things change …

  9. Check the 1972 state team – you won’t find a better name than Ziggy Haremza.

    Sandy Bay would have to be the best side of that era, Flanagan is 100% right. Grand finals every year from 1971-78 with 5 premierships. Famously pipped (pardon the pun) by Appleton’s Army (Hobart) in 1973 who came from 4th to win it.

  10. Love it, Swish.
    I’ve only seen one game at North Hobart.
    The history dripped off the stands; off the mountain.

    Looking at old footy photos I usually think that the game looked uncomplicated. Free.
    There’s a degree of openness, or possibility, about these still shots that I like.

    So much cultural history in Tassie footy.
    Right from the very start.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Robert, Liahm and E.r – more people need to know more about the Tassie story.

    Also, in another publication that I’ve recently come across, there is a photo from the 1947 carnival that includes Fos Williams. I think I’ll add it to this piece when I get a chance.

  12. On Tassie history –
    Liahm’s Dan Minogue piece is a beauty.

    And I once stumbled upon an old Collingwood FC tour itinerary to Tassie from 1939.

    And another chance encounter led to this uncovering – developing rules for the game – “The Victorian Code of Rules, with a minor alteration”

  13. Michael Sexton says

    Swish – Any sign of the gravel oval at Queenstown? Surely the ground with the greatest home advantage in the country.

  14. Mick Jeffrey says

    Having seen North Hobart Oval I can’t fathom how 13000 could cram in, let alone 23000. I also can’t believe that scoreboard is still there, even if the digital readout isn’t as it was in the 70s-2000s.

  15. Chris Rees says

    I have heard a story that the stab pass was invented by Collingwood players one day at Cygnet on an end of season trip.

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    This conversation’s got some legs hasn’t it? Thanks again.

    I’ve added that photo from the 1947 Carnival.

    One day I’m going to get lost in the site below. The Tassies are certainly very serious about their heritage (pity about the AFL Tasmania branding though).

  17. Chris Rees says

    When the brother of the current Lions coach was in charge of Tassie football he made a lot of enemies. I thought he was OK but one really tone-deaf thing he did was name the best-and-fairest for the new Statewide league the “Tassie Medal”. Now, hands up who knows why that was historical sacrilege?

  18. Unless it was named after Melbourne’s Robert ‘Tassie’ Johnson, then I’m baffled as to the relevance of the name. There’s a list of people as long as the Bass Highway that deserve a medal named after them!

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Who went on to play vfl from the Tasmania sides from those carnivals,Sutton ( NM ) ?
    Chris isn’t the Tassie Medal re the award which was given to players re best player at a all aust carnival ?
    ( some great photos,Swish )

  20. Robert Allen says

    Dead right Malcolm! The Original Tassie Medal was given to the best player at the national carnival and was named after a SA official. The Tasmanian version for the best statewide league player each season was named after the state, which probably only caused confusion for older footy history buffs! Anyway, sanity has prevailed and the statewide medal is now named for one of Tassie’s favourite sons, Alastair Lynch.

  21. Robert Allen says

    By the way Swish, another great Tas footy publication is the Tasmanian Football Guide, which was published to coincide with the 1947 national carnival in Hobart. It was written by Jack Donnelly, the Examiner’s football editor. Chock full of stats, profiles and photos, including one of Cazaly lining up a place kick when he played for City (Launceston) in 1928-30.

  22. That’s right Malcolm and Robert, the original Tassie Medal (I suspect it should rhyme with Bob Massie) was for best player at the carnival and as such was de facto “best player in Australia”. Won by Polly Farmer, Cable, Cornes, Whitten, the apple isle’s own Terry Cashion.

    I was completely wrong above when being snide about Grant Fagan, the name I wanted was Scott Wade (Matthew’s dad). Anyway thanks to SW the Tassie Medal was handed out for a few years to good ordinary players from Clarence and Glenorchy. I did write to Mr Wade asking if he had discussed this with Terry Cashion but I didn’t get a reply.

  23. Malcolm, Derek Peardon of the 1975 state team had played with Richmond in years gone by. Martin Flanagan wrote a great piece about him two years ago –

  24. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Robert, I’m currently highest bidder for one of those. Thanks for the tip.

  25. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    George McInnes ended up at the Roosters ‘Book

  26. Brilliant photos Swish. Love the old action shots.

    Apparently the groundsmen at Bellerive Oval had to clear all the Thylacine pooh off the ground before each game in the early days. Bloody pests. Lets hope Tassie footy doesn’t go the way of the Thylacine.

  27. Glad this was re-posted.
    So pertinent at this time.
    Great work, Swishter.

  28. Peter Warrington says

    yes Sandy Bay were the benchmark. No doubt about it. We used to try and stay up to date with the results or at least the finals in Sydney, but it was almost impossible. You would hear that Huddo had kicked 400 in a season after leaving Hawthoirn, but that was about it.

  29. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Pleased to say that I’ve snaffled a copy of this overnight.

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