Force For Good

This is a transcript of a seminar called Force For Good held at the National Museum of Australia. It involved Sean Gorman, Che Cockatoo-Collins, and David Headon. I moderated it. It is conversational and hence may lack a little structure (in its form and in its thinking) but it addresses the elements of the topic. (It is also available as an audio for anyone who would like to listen to it.)

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 on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Mark Doyle says

    Some interesting thoughts on Aboriginal footballers.

    Unfortunately, most Australian people and media commentators continue to have little knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture. Most of the recent comments about the Liam Jurrah affair have been naive and ignorant. Also, institutionalised racial vilification continues with our government and public service organisations, especially the legal system. Aboriginal people in remote areas of Australia continue to be disadvantaged because unacceptable standards of housing, health, education and job opportunities. This is a shame and disgrace on the whole of our society. However, this does not mean that talented aboriginal footballers and others are more difficult to manage than any other talented footballer from any part of the country. Young talented non-aboriginal footballers and others from the ugly cultural wasteland outer Melbourne suburbs are often difficult to manage by any employer because of their background of growing up in dysfunctional families with feral parents, who are poorly educated.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    Unfortunately most Melbourne people and media commentators (from Melbourne) continue to have little knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture. There you go, I just fixed your opening sentence for you, Mark.

    It’s not their fault though, Mark. I have spent an accumulated 9 of my 43 years living in places with sizeable Aboriginal communities, namely the South Coast of NSW, Sydney(cultural wasteland suburb), Perth(cultural wasteland suburb) and Mandurah. Compared to these places, one thing that is noticable about Melbourne and Geelong etc is the lack, almost non-existence, of Aboriginals.

  3. Mark Doyle says

    Skip. you have to be kidding if you think that the majority of non-aboriginal Australian people and institutions such as the mainstream media from all parts of the country are not ignorant and rascist in respect of aboriginal people and their culture. Ignorance is no excuse! You might also be surprised at the number of aboriginal people living in Melbourne and other parts of Victoria. I know aboriginal people living in Northcote, Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool as well as many places in the Northern Territory, such as Darwin, Daly River, Ngiui on Bathurst Island and Nhulunbuy. It is worth listening to radio stations such as 3KND and 3CR, especially programs presented by Robbie Thorpe and Gary Foley for a better understanding of aboriginal culture. I also recommend TV programs such as ‘Living Strong’ presented by Rhoda Roberts and ‘Living Black’ presented by Karla Grant. I suspect that most non-aboriginal Australian people have similar ignorant attitudes to Matthew Rendell, who has just been sacked from his AFL job for his rascist attitudes.

  4. Mark – is there anything good about Australia? Maybe just one tiny little thing? Maybe we grow good apples, or make the best pavlova in the world? I just want to see if you can make a positive comment about this magnificent country of ours – the most free, democratic, beautiful land in the world.

    Tell me one thing you like. Just one. Then sit down this afternoon at 6.30 and switch your TV onto channel 7 – I promise you’ll enjoy yourself.

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    Interesting you mention Gary Foley, Mark. Two of my mates got jobs in Melbourne and shared a flat. Party Time! This was in Clifton Hill in ’87/’88. Through them, I met Gary a few times, in social settings. I knew who he was, although my mates just knew him as Gary, a friend of their Aboriginal mates from the Royal Hotel and what not. Being 18/19 at the time I would have been too young and stupid to have engaged serious conversation, but I remember he had a presence about him.

    As a side note; a soon-to-be infamous chap was a regular at the Royal in that time. A peripheral pub acquaintance who you might play pool and talk crap with on a quiet Sunday afternoon, as my mate Tony can and did atttest. Interesting times and memories, looking back, and lots of ‘Sliding Doors’, although that’s probably the case for most people at that age.

  6. Mark Doyle says

    Skip, I have great memories of Clifton Hill, having lived in Clifton Street for about 12 months in 1978 and the Royal Hotel in Spensley street was a great friendly working class pub. I haven’t been there for 30 odd years and suppose it is now an upper middle class drinking and restaurant venue.
    Gary Foley is a great Australian and you remember well – he knew how to party. I first met Gary through an uncle, who worked as a philosophy lecturer at the Qld. University in Brisbane in the early 1970’s, at a party hosted by bloke named Dennis Walker who was a well known Aboriginal activist in Brisbane at the time.
    One of my favourite memories of Gary Foley was when I was secretary of the Camberwell branch of the ALP in Melbourne; I invited him to be guest speaker at a monthly meeting and was greatly amused at how he ‘stirred up’ the white upper middle class folk of Camberwell. I also remember some good times with Gary in the Melbourne branch of the Communist Party in the early 1980’s.

  7. Skip of Skipton says

    Cheers Mark. I knew you were a shit-stirrer. Clifton Hill was a ‘rockin’ suburb in the day. ‘Camberwell branch’ of the ALP is GOLD, more so than Communist Party membership (which has been subsumed by the Greens). I shared your enthusiasm, but grew out of it a few years back. Now all I want from Government is to make the trains run on time, and get the f*** out of my life. If I want a sermon, I will source my own.

  8. Richard Naco says

    Fantastic seminar, and much food for thought.

    Many thanks for linking the transcript here.

  9. Tim Dixon says

    wonderful transcript, I was fortunate enough to meet che cockatoo collins at one of the almanac shows in adelaide, a credit to himself, his family and his football club (port of course!)

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