Local Footy Flashback: Bendigo FL – Round 1, 1960


by Richard Jones

TWO close finishes highlighted the opening round in the BFL half a century ago, a time when life was much simpler and less hectic.

Sandhurst sneaked home by one point over arch-rivals Golden Square at Wade Street, while a limping Kyneton coach Clive Philp steered home the final goal of the day to hand the Tigers a five-point victory over Castlemaine.

Reigning premiers Rochester accounted for old enemies Echuca by 34 points while South Bendigo nailed the last two majors of the QEO match to down Eaglehawk by two, straight kicks.

The opening round in 1960 was played on April 23rd following an extensive round of practice matches right across the region.

The Advertiser’s chief footy scribe Noel Beaton wrote in his lead back page story on the Monday that the three country finalists from 1959 — Rochester, Kyneton and Castlemaine — showed they would again be powers in the BFL.

“The question of the day remains: how will the city teams fare this year?” queried Beaton.

NEW centreman Daryl Knight and first rover Don Matthews were the inspirations for the Square as the Bulldogs fought back from deficits at half-time and three-quarter time.

Sandhurst’s hard-hitting half-back line of Bob Parker, Kevin Carr and Larry Williams had starved the Dogs of momentum in the opening three quarters.

Parker, a third 18 player from the year before, was opposed to Square skipper John Ledwidge and using close playing, negative tactics kept Ledwidge from having much influence.

The Maroons led 9.9. to 7.8 at the last change.

Golden Square narrowed the gap gradually in the last quarter and levelled the sores with only time-on left to play.

Sandhurst’s Bob Pretty was the player who sparked his side. He created space for Hugh Cameron and when Cameron raced in to score a behind scribe Beaton wrote “the Maroons had achieved a feat which few other teams will repeat in 1960: defeat Golden Square at home.”

MEANWHILE another thriller was being played out down at the Kyneton Showgrounds.

Five goals down at half-time Castlemaine looked out of the race but a great last half nearly carried the Magpies to victory.

New Magpie coach and physical education teacher Ian O’Halloran, a former Kyneton Tiger, must have come away highly satisfied with his team. Half of the 1959 combination was missing.

“Kyneton, too, would be happy despite the narrow shave,” the match day reporter said. With both reserves on the field and skipper Clive Philp hobbling about in a forward pocket the team of newcomers showed great spirit in fighting back after being headed late in the game.

Ron Brown put the Magpes ahead with a vital major. But it was Philp who in the Tigers’ time of need came to Kyneton’s rescue and kicked the winning goal seconds before the final siren.

Malcolm Stevens ended up with four goals for Castlemaine.

THE South-Eaglehawk match at the QEO was described as “a poor game” despite the fact only a few points separated the teams match-long.

Veteran South defender Alan Martin (a 1954 Footscray premiership player) was matched against George Ilsley. Martin livened up a dull game with his fearless dashes from the backline.

Even though Ilsley booted two of Eaglehawk’s five goals Martin had the better of his opponent for much of the day.

The Hawks found a rising star in Peter Lyons. He gave Eaglehawk terrific drive from the centre with his pace, tenacious tackling and excellent disposal.

South steadied in the vital, closing stages and a chain of passes started by Mel Boyd ended in Steve McQueenie goaling.

Then Aitken on a wing flashed into play to start another move which saw Brendan Tobin kick another six-pointer to give the Bloods a 12-point advantage.

ECHUCA was not disgraced against Rochester although beaten in the end by 34 points.

Rochy’s new full-forward Peter Broom goaled with his first kick in senior football while new centre half-forward McKindlay booted five majors, including three in the second quarter.

Egan was strong in defence for Echuca and Hipwell was sound on his wing.

Rochester led 10.7 to 7.10 at the last change and booted four goals to one in the final quarter. Broom, Chard and Prigg landed three of Rochy’s final term goals.

Rochester topped the ladder at the end of round one all those years ago with a percentage of 154.8, from other Top Four winning clubs South (130.0), Kyneton (105.2) and Sandhurst (101.4%).

Final scores: Sandhurst 10.11 (71) def. Golden Square 10.10 (70); Kyneton 14.17 (101) def. Castlemaine 14.12 (96); Rochester 14.12 (96) def. Echuca 8.14 (62) and South Bendigo 6.16 (52) def. Eaglehawk 5.10 (40).

Advertiser best on ground awards – Daryl Hooper (Rochester): safe marking and strong clearing dashes from his back pocket. Later switched to roving and continued to be a danger player.

Terry Bowe (Kyneton): as the main Tigers’ rover supplied innumerable leads and capped a grand display with two valuable goals.

Merv Pickering (South Bendigo): accurate palming to his rovers and fine marking in defence from the South ruckman while resting in the back pocket.

Don Matthews (Golden Square): roving to a beaten ruck, battled his way through the packs and never failed to place his kicks to advantage. His fierce tackling prevented opponents from breaking away on many occasions.

Richard’s tips for Top 5: Golden Square, Eaglehawk, South Bendigo, Sandhurst, Kangaroo Flat. Wooden Spoon: Castlemaine. Michelsen medal: Kain Robins.

Round 1 tips: Golden Square (Good Friday), Eaglehawk, Kangaroo Flat, Sandhurst (night) and Kyneton (all Easter Saturday). 2009 final total: 79.


  1. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    What grand old days when Rochester was on top of the Bendigo League ladder right from the get-go. Even sweeter that the Demons owed top spot to a win over Echuca.
    Daryl Hooper was a wonderful back-pocket player in the traditional mould – short and stocky, who played close and tight, but also backed his judgment.
    I’ll never forget the time Hoops and his great work and team mate Bobby Knight just happened to be working on some phone lines near our family farm at Corop and called in for a cuppa…
    indeed, life was much more simple and less hectic, Richard.

  2. pauldaffey says


    I remember John Ledwidge coaching Eaglehawk in 1991. He was a good bloke. I think he had some success in lifting the Two Blues up the ladder, but then he was gone.

    Interesting that you pick all city sides to make the five this year. Is that an indication of a growing gulf, or is it just a blip? Castlemaine and Kyneton have been down before, but they usually manage to bounce back.

    Rochester and Echuca, of course, now play in the lesser league over Shepparton way.

  3. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    Just read again and realised that the Eaglehawk rising star Peter Lyon is of course the father of Garry. Peter went from the Borough to Hawthorn for a couple of seasons then coaching in the country, firstly, at Mortlake, then in Tassie (Wynyard?). He then went to Kyabram and led the Bombers to the drought-breaking 1975 premiership. Garry went from Ky to Melbourne in the days of zoning – along with Chris Connolly (Shep United), David Williams (Rochester), Kelly O’Donnell (Ky), Stinga Tingay (Shepparton) plus quite a few others. Peter recently served a few terms as president of the Ky footy club and was largely responsible for the installation of lights that provide for night cricket and football.Ky are now coached by Dirty Dave Williams and played off in last year’s GVL grand final – won the 2nd semi but lost to Mansfield in the decider.

  4. Richard Jones says

    JUST a cyclical thing, Daff. Sometimes the city clubs are dominant, sometimes the country boys.

    Look at the story above. In 1960 Rochester, Castlemaine and Kyneton were the best going around. South and Eaglehawk mid-table. Noel Beaton asked the pertinent question in his Monday wrap. Were the city clubs just pretenders, was his query.

    Johnny Ledwidge came from South Melb., of course, to the BFL. He played for and coached the Square, had a stint in the North Central F.L. and of course coached the Borough to 2 flags.

    To cap off a huge career he was named as Eaglehawk F.C. Coach of the Century at the 125-year celebration in 2005. When the Two Blues were struggling — financially and player-wise — in the 90s back came Big John as the non-playing coach to try to right the sinking ship.

    Kyneton has recruited very strongly for 2010, mainly from your beloved Essendon DFL. Coach Paul Houston has been very busy. Meanwhile with the outgoings from the Maine I feel the Camp Reserve Pies will be in and around the cellar. Similarly, new boys Strath Storm have had a few leave and a few join but the names are not as signifacnt as the “outs”. The Storm are cellar material after 4 wins in their debut season, 2009.

    And as for the inter-league quip I couldn’t agree more. The BFL, with or without Rochie, has always been a bigger and brighter league than the GVFL.

  5. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    Dear Komrades Daff & Dick,

    You’ve finally extracted a defence of the GVL out of me…

    Without doubt the Bendigo league with Rochester and Echuca was a more powerful league, in fact, a strong case could be mounted that it was the best in the bush in the 50s and 60s. Legendary VCFL stalwart Muncher Maloney once told me so – and he came from the Wimmera.

    However, the move of Rochy (73) and Echuca (74) to the GVL in the early 70s, along with Euroa in 71 and Seymour in 76, really strengthened the GVL. Benalla (97) and Mansfield (98) have added further strength to the GVL.

    The BFL went through a merger with the Golden City league in the early 80s – that, of course, was a district league – let me leave that hang!

    Now that’s been sorted out the Bendigo league has Maryborough (92) and Gisborne (2000), and last year a completely new team, Strathfieldsaye – coached by former Rochy premiership player Clint Witstead.

    Without both leagues are probably about equal – but I tend to think the GVL is overall stronger because, of course, it has Rochy in it! I played in both, a long time ago. Always hard to compare footy leagues, but the GVL is certainly not lesser than the Bendigo league, now.

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