Local Footy: The day that Welcome Advice saved Bushpig coach’s honeymoon

The Rivcoll Bushpigs, the club from the old Riverina College of Advanced Education (now Charles Sturt Uni) in Wagga, enjoy such a reputation as a social club that their opposition in this Saturday’s Farrer League fixture, the Northern Jets, is holding a get-together at the Bushpigs’ annual Old Bores Day.

The Jets footy club was formed through a merger between Ardlethan and Ariah Park-Mirrool in 2004. Ardlethan premiership players from 1952 and 1953 are gathering at the clash against the Bushpigs at Bushpig Park in Wagga to honour their skipper, Max Dunlop, who through his son, Owen, has a unique place in Bushpig history.

Both Max and Owen, who’s the head teacher at the Burrumbuttock Public School in the southern Riverina, will be in attendance on Saturday to catch up with old teammates. Both the Jets and the Pigs are well out of finals contention, with the Bushpigs having won one game for the season and the Jets three. The Bushpigs almost upset third-placed Marrar last round, going down by just a goal, while the Jets suffered a 91-point loss to competition pace-setters Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka.

For this year’s Old Bores Day, two of the organisers, Paul “Ocky” Greenwood and Michael “Rocket” Irons, have put together a book entitled Pig Tales, which chronicles some Bushpigs adventures from over the years. It will be launched at a literary lunch before the game at the club’s sponsor, the Victoria Hotel in Wagga, at which a photo of the famous Riverina pacer Welcome Advice will be on display.

Welcome Advice figures strongly in the history of the Bushpigs. Ocky is happy to share the story with Footy Almanac readers:

Welcome Advice

The Bushpigs formed in 1972 as Riverina College. They were coached by the legendary Ivan Carroll in a voluntary basis.

In 1973 the Bushpigs were coached by accountancy student Brian Murphy, a talented player who won the league B&F. It was in 1974 the Pigs appointed Owen Dunlop, who was a third-year primary teaching student with an impressive football pedigree. Owen had just won Wagga Tigers’ B&F in the much higher Farrer league.

Dunlop was appointed on a $300 fee, which the committee felt was a bargain as they assumed that Owen would have such a great social year that, come presentation night, he would donate his fee to the Pigs. This seemed a reasonable assumption given that Owen was about to embark on a teaching career and would not be short of money in the future.

What the committee did not count on was Owen’s news at an early season training run: that he would get married to the lovely Narelle on December 14 and the coach’s fee would pay for his honeymoon at Batemans Bay.

This presented the committee with a huge dilemma as College policy was that match payments had to come from gate receipts. Unfortunately this was the first year that the Pigs were playing home games at South Campus Oval, and there was no gate at that oval.

So they organised Owen’s father Max, a retired farmer with immeasurable fencing skills, to cut in a gate to allow public access and the opportunity to charge an entrance fee.

Max Dunlop knew the value of a paid coach, having captained Ardlethan’s 1952 and ’53 premiership sides.1953 was the first year Ardlethan employed a paid coach, allowing Max to concentrate on his wily goal-sneaking play, thereby extending his career.

Max cut in a gate in time for the next home game. Committee man Maurie Hogan was in charge of collecting the gate money and its safe keeping until banking on the Monday. Maurie was a superb mathematician, capable of accurate arithmetic even after a few ales. He calculated that with such paltry gate receipts $300 was way out of reach.

The after-game function was always held at South Campus gym where players and officials from both teams drank kegs of beer. As the evening progressed Maurie, a keen trotting fan who had always followed the local horses when they entered the metropolitan arena, struck upon an idea.

On this day, it just happened, Maurie’s favourite local champ, a pacer called Welcome Advice, was racing in Melbourne. At odds of 7-1, Maurie decided to place the entire gate-takings on the nose without consulting any of the other committee members.

Welcome Advice came through and Owen had a wonderful honeymoon. He now has two children, one of whom is a lawyer who may be called upon to defend Maurie now that this story is out.


  1. Now there is a distant memory…Welcome Advice. I have grainy recollections of his Interdominion win at Albion Park. In that mental rewind, I reckon My Gal Sal (owned I recall by triple Magarey Medallist Lindsay Head) may even have led them up in to the straight. In my questionable memory it was a giant track, a long straight and they were racing right-handed as Welcome advice powered down the centre for a safe victory. Hondo Grattan, “The Bathurst Bulldog”, then won the next two sensational finals (the Perth one was worth a book!).
    Even if I’m not correct, Rod, I’ve enjoyed your tale and its triggers to my pre-teen love of the “thieves on wheels”!

  2. Peter Flynn says

    A refresher of the last lap in ’74.
    You don’t see the earlier madness.
    A famous race.

  3. Was it Just Too Good and Paleface that got tangled at the start. I just remember it was a shambles and certainly detracted from the win.

  4. Peter Flynn says

    Correct Crio.
    A mate of mine had Just Too Good to win a small fortune.
    He still has nightmares about it.

  5. Just watched that clip thanks Peter.
    Need to refocus on the A-League now!

  6. Loved the story. Loved the clip. Hate to use the term “the good old days” but that was, for me at least, the golden era of the trots pretty much up til the demise of the best which were Maori’s Idol and Poppy.

  7. Peter Flynn says

    Who called the ’74 final?
    Sounds like George Grljusich.

  8. Very likely, though have you ever noticed that certain mikes draw a particular sound? We flick around radio stations and often recognise its tone (pre-digital of course).

  9. Lads,

    Once I drove into the Riverina town of Temora and noticed a sign proclaiming that here was the home of the Temora Terror. Lo and behold, in the middle of town was a statue of Paleface Adios, who apparently was known (in the Riverina at least) as the Temora Terror.

    I reckon I’ve seen signs at the entrance of Victorian towns proclaiming a link with famous pacers or trotters, but I can’t remember them. Can anyone help?

    I reckon Paleface Adios had seven farewell races at Moonee Valley in the late ’70s/early ’80s and I saw four of them.

  10. Peter Flynn says

    Gammalite at Terang.

  11. Entering Terang the first sign you see is ‘Terang the home of Gammalite’.

  12. Junee should have a shrine to Brian Hancock and Bathurst to Hondo

  13. Gammalite and Terang is exactly the one I was thinking about.

  14. Andrew Fithall says

    There is a photo in the Marnoo pub of Maori’s Idol actually in the bar drinking from a winning cup.

  15. Peter Flynn says

    Great get.
    Birthplace of Maori’s Idol.

  16. uncle tony says

    Actually had the pleasure of backing Derby Royale ,then trained by Cliff Powell of Elmore fame to beat the famous Maori’s Idol and I have a famous photo on my wall at home of myself drinking beer from the winning cup.There was a fair bit of confidence in the camp that Derby had one more big race and master trainer Powell peaked him for his greatest victory to defeat the champion.
    I had been at the Broken Hill races (St Patricks day) working, pencilling for a bookmaker and stayed over night and went in order to,the St Patricks day ball, followed by a quick visit to the 2 up , then out to the trots where I took all the 33/1 and the 25/1 and also took the SP from the bookie I had worked for that day. Glorious Result

  17. pauldaffey says

    I once saw Jim Jess play for Avoca at Marnoo. Clearly, I had to leave that night before making it into the pub.

  18. paul greenwood says

    Unfortunately the 5 by 4 foot oil painting of welcome advice no longer hanngs in the Farmers Home hotel in Wagga. He is out the back stabled while renovations take place. So the old boars will meet at the Victoria Hotel as they sponsor the Bushpigs aqnd we can tie the mascot pig up in the carpark before we go to bushpig park for the game Saturday

  19. Uncle Tony, you are the luckiest man alive. I was at Moonee Valley that night and Maori’s Idol was an absolute certainty beaten. In fact on each rare occasion he was beaten it was due to pilot error by B. Healy.
    Claerly the best horse (thoroughbred or standardbred) I’ve ever seen.

  20. Michael Irons says

    Very successful day for the Bushpigs’ Old Boars Day, with the Bushpigs & Bushsows having a clean sweep against the Northern Jets.

    Rivcoll 2.2 5.3 11.9 16.13 – 109
    Northern Jets 3.3 5.7 7.9 9.11 – 65

    The boys came out in the 3rd quarter and were full of running, blitzing the Jets with an 11 goal to 4 goal second half to run out convincing 44 point winners. Great reward for the past month of consistent footy and the boys will now be looking to finish the year of strongly in the remaining 2 games against Temora & TRYC.

    Rivcoll 6.5 9.8 15.9 18.13 – 121
    Northern Jets 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 – 3

    2nds warmed up for finals with a big win and will be looking to get a full strength side on the park leading up to finals.

    A Grade: Sows 31 d Jets 27
    B Grade: Sows 52 d Jets 23
    C Grade: Sows 31 d Jets 27

    Great win by A grade against the top side and the girls continue to push for a finals spot. Wins in the last 2 games will assure a finals spot. B & C grade consolidated their spots in the top 4.

    The release of Pig Tales at halftime was well received with many of the Old Boars still trying debating who the culprits really were in the recruiting of John Dowling…..

  21. pauldaffey says


    Was there any post-match betting after Saturday’s win?

    You’d better relay to the Welcome Advice fans on this site your mid-season betting plunge.

  22. Michael Irons says

    No post-match betting this time as it would be hard to top our last effort!!!

    Back at the end of May, the Bushpigs snapped a 38 game losing streak by defeating The Rock-Yerong Creek by 5 points at The Rock. It was our first win in Seniors at The Rock and only the 2nd time we had beaten them. It was also the first time we had a clean sweep against TRYC in footy & netball (1sts, 2nds, A, B & C grade).

    Celebrations went long and hard into the night. Since the following weekend was a general bye, a Sunday Session was organised at our local, the Vic Hotel, which also meant we continued the celebrations for another day!!

    One astute judge (has about 2 bets a year!), Big Al Charnock, was checking the Sunday paper while enjoying a few cold ones and came across the form guide. He thought it would be more then appropriate to see if we could continue our good luck and searched the guide for a horse to back.

    He came across an aptly named horse called Beerwinenspirits racing in Gosford that afternoon and thought here was our chance. He started asking everyone for a dollar for the kitty but this ended up being most of the change in people’s pocket so the kitty ended up quite large. Big Al backed the horse straight out for the win, before the crowd settled in to cheer the horse on. Beerwinenspirits started well and raced midfield for most of the trip. The crowd started to reach fever pitch as the field entered the straight with Beerwinenspirits starting to make its move. The horse hit the front in the last 400m to win by 1.5 lengths! The crowd was estatic!

    Beerwinenspirits paid $3.30 for the win and the winnings went straight over the bar and the celebrations continued for quite a while longer!!

  23. Michael,

    The club should consider a book: Pigs on the Punt, or The Punt and the Pigs, or Piggy-wiggy Punt-o-rama, or … you get my drift.

    Love the Bushpigs’ betting tales.

  24. The Pigs’ betting plunges are based on the age-old punting maxim:
    If you can’t back a winner, back another!


  25. The recent Old Bores Day was a great success with many of the original Bushpigs and College lecturers that helped form the club in 1972 in attendance including the major beneficiary of Welcome Advice greeting the judge first at the Melbourne trots, honeymoon coach Owen Dunlop.

    One of the startling revelations on the day was that there had been an Australian football club at the College prior to 1972 – pre-historic Pigs! The Riverina College of Advanced Education was an amalgam of the Wagga Teachers’ College and the Wagga Agricultural College, which has subsequently become Charles Sturt University. The current team wear red and white striped jumpers – the same markings as the wild bushpigs found in the western Riverina.

    A new chapter has been added to the club’s history by Paul “Ocky” (even his mother calls him Ocky) Greenwood who now has possession a team photo of the premiership team.

    Here’s Ocky’s piece on the original Bushpigs below:

    The Forgotten Bushpigs

    1972 is accepted as the establishment year of the Bushpigs. There was however a college team long before this.

    During the war years South Campus was the RAAF hospital. When the war ended it was decommissioned and Wagga Teacher’s College set up at the site in 1947.

    In 1951 a group of students mainly from footy playing towns set up the Wagga Teachers College Australian Rules Team. The team played in the Wagga and District Sunday League against Wagga Tigers, Gumly, Currawarna and others.

    Bob Smith was the main organiser of the team. Bob had a battle with the college to obtain funding for the jumpers. The jumpers were a bottle green with a white sash and white numbers.

    A few of the players played Rugby Union on the Saturday and backed up to play footy with the college team on Sundays. Other players continued their practise of going home to nearby towns to play on the Saturday then returning to play Sundays with the newly formed college team. This practise was of course illegal under Australian Football rules so assumed names were used.

    Team captain was the talented Gordon Schliebs from Burrumbuttock. Many believe that Gordon could have played VFL had he the inclination. Vice captain was Ray Fielder also from the Burrumbuttock area (where Brett Kirk’s father played).

    The team was very successful playing Gumly in the grand final. Gumly started like a house on fire before tiring in the second half when college ran over them with superior fitness due to their young age.

    The jumpers were given to the rugby team when the club ended.

    So the original Bushpigs formed on a whim by a group of college students and utilizing players from other codes and teams to make up numbers won a premiership in their only year of competition. Has anything changed?

  26. Michael Irons says

    Well its been another big weekend for the Bushpigs & Bushsows with 4 premierships won in the Farrer Football & Netball League grand finals on Saturday and another inspired bet at our Sunday session.

    Reserve grade triumphed over Collingullie by 13 points in a thrilling come from behind win. Captain Rohan Rowling led the way with 2 goals in the last quarter to be best on ground. Rohan’s brother Lochie (who won a Seniors premiership with Rivcoll in 2001) also played in a premiership for Tamworth Swans in the Tamworth FL on the same day.

    For the Bushsows, C grade started the day off well with a thrilling 4 goal win over Temora that needed to go to extra time. B grade started slowly but fired in the second half and held on to win by 2 goals over Temora. In A grade, the Bushsows, who only scraped into finals with a win in the last round, completed a fairytale finish upseting the reigning premiers Collingullie with a convincing 13 goal win.

    Celebrations went long into the night at the Vic Hotel, where all the boys & girls gathered again for lunch on Sunday. Big Al Charnock decided a bet was appropriate again on Silly Sunday and started to review the form. One horse that caught his attention was “Tusk” (as the in the tusk of a Bushpig) that was racing at the Phar Lap Raceway in New Zealand (Race 8; No 12). A quick wip around of the crowd produced a substanial kitty which was duly placed each-way.

    The crowd gathered in anticipation to watch the race. Tusk started well and took the lead and never looked back and ran out a convincing winner by one & half lengths! The crowd was estatic – it was another win for Pigs & Sows!! Tusk paid $11 for the win and after collecting our winnings of $750, 3 kegs were purchased and we headed to a player’s house to continue the weekends celebrations!!

    Some hardy souls backed up again for Mad Monday and to our great surprise found our winning horse from earlier in the year, Beerwinenspirits, racing that day at Pakeham. Another collection was done but after waiting all afternoon, when the boys went to place the bet they were extremely dissappointed to find that Beerwinenspirits had been a late scratching!! With no other suitable horses to be found, it was decided best to keep our betting efforts to Sundays and the kitty was duly placed over the bar!!


  27. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    Young Rocket,

    The tradition continues!

    Great to hear about a fantastic day for the Pigs – followed by the usual risk-adverse celebrations.


    Rocket Snr

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