Hay, here’s a question?

With my maternal family being from the Riverina I’m used to places like Albury, Berrigan, Corowa and Wagga. This means I’m familiar with the chaps who have come to the big smoke to play AFL, nee VFL. The Riverina is a big area, in the western corner it includes townships like Hay for which I will focus in this article.

Last week Maryanne and I spent a few nice days in Hay, following up another great Winter Blues Festival in Echuca. We even went out to Booligal where we popped into the Duke of Edinburgh hotel to watch a bit of Freo Vs Sydney on the TV. Whilst in Hay I had a few brief chats with locals re the footy, which got me thinking; who from Hay has played AFL/VFL ?!?

I know from Deniliquin we’ve had chaps like Leo Barry and Simon O’Donnell. East of Hay is Narrandera which has produced players like Terry O’Neill and Jim Durnan, but who from around Hay? Can any of my fellow Almanackers provide me with any names of players who have hailed from Hay, or adjacent places like Booroorban, Wanganella or Booligal . Hay is along the mythical (mystical) Barassi line so I’m curious who has forsaken rugby to play footy.

Dr Rocket, are you out there ?



  1. No doubt you know the famous Paterson poem:

    “’We’d have to stop!” With bated breath
    We prayed that both in life and death
    Our fate in other lines might fall:
    “Oh, send us to our just reward
    In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord,
    Deliver us from Booligal!” ”
    — A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Hay and Hell and Booligal

  2. True JTH, but it has changed tad since then.

    When Banjo wrote,

    : Of course, there isn’t much to see-
    The billiard – table used to be
    The great attraction for us all
    Until some careless, drunken spurs
    Got sleeping in it on their spurs, And ruined it, in Booligall.”

    It seems fixed since then, but true there ain’t much to see in Booligal.


  3. Richmond premiership player, Bill Brown, came from Hay. I’m not sure there’s been many others.

  4. Ta Josh.

    He was second rover to KB in 1967 and 1969 if my memory serves me right.


  5. And a mighty fine second rover he was too John. He goes back to the days when the green grocers would spruik their iceberg lettuces with the claim they had hearts like Richmond rovers Missus.

    One time I recall, Big Nick had taken a mark on his own out on the wing. Billy Brown grabbed him in a bear hug. Actually it was more of a koala hug, but anyway, he wouldn’t let go. In the end Big Nick clipped him and the mark was reversed – Billy got the free. Today Billy would have got a 50m penalty. Such is Life, and the evolution of Our Great Game. (And the evolution of lettuce too Wrap – Ed)

  6. I was looking at a map today (as you do) and something occurred to me, that I hadn’t ever noticed. Apologies if this is well known.

    If you draw a line due west from Sydney…

    And a line due north from Melbourne…

    You arrive at….


    What are the odds of that? Hay!

  7. What about Hell?

  8. it’s other people…

  9. maybe if I told the story I would have the One Tree at the exact meeting point of those arcs.

  10. I thought, to quote Talking Heads, Heaven was the place where nothing ever happened …

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