Round 22 – Carlton v Hawthorn: Mumma Mac and her Hawks





I’m watching the Hawks at Edihad. They have the blues, they are struggling with Carlton.


I also have the blues, and are struggling. The Hawks still have life; not so the most passionate Hawk I’ve known.


Joan McLennan passed away a day earlier. To me, she was simply Mumma Mac. The best, whose blood was brown and gold.


This wonderful and witty woman lived at 540 Burke Rd, Camberwell. She and her late husband Don reared their six children there. In the summer, they would holiday at Shoreham on the Mornington peninsula. As much as she loved it there, Mumma Mac was more of a winter woman, more at home at Glenferrie Oval.


The eldest of five kids, my siblings and I were lucky to know the McLennan’s through a favourite maiden aunt (Lil) and our mum (Shelagh).


Reared on 100 acres at Narre Warren – which in those days was home to more mushrooms than people – I barracked for Collingwood as a kid, probably mainly because the colours of the local club were black and white.


My best mate – who was reared on a dairy farm a few kilometes away and who I sat next to in primary school at St Michael’s, Berwick – was a kid called Michael Tuck. He also barracked for Collingwood, his favourite player being the reliable backman Ted Potter.


Tuck changed his colours in 1970 when Hawthorn picked up on his promise. He had a fair bit to do with me ‘jumping ship’ and barracking for the Hawks. But not as much as Mumma Mac did.


She would take me to the footy at Glenferrie Oval with her sons Ian and Chris in the 60s -when Hawthorn were, to say the least, pretty ordinary.


I remember the likes of John Peck, Graham Arthur and Des ‘Delicate’ Dickson, the trains rattling along the outer wing metres from the players and the post-game jam doughnuts Mumma Mac bought. Six hot jam doughnuts. They were better than winning Lotto for a lad who had just watched his side get ‘pantsed’ again.


Under leaden skies and drizzle, Mumma Mac would console and chat as she led the boys home – with talk about the next week.


She barracked for Hawthorn before it was fashionable to barrack for Hawthorn. She barracked for Hawthorn before they were any good. She would have nobody say anything against her Hawks.


Offering commiserations to son Chris on the weekend, he told me what his mum said to his now wife Bernadette on their first meeting.


“What do you think about Leigh Matthews?” Mumma Mac asked.


“Bern wasn’t following football closely. She thought mum was talking about (actor) Lee Marvin,” Chris recalled.


“She didn’t think this girl would be good for us.”


Unlike the “good old days”, when her mind was as sharp as a razor blade, Mumma Mac’s memory had dimmed in recent years.  


I said “goodbye” to her some some time ago, when I thanked her for all she had done for me.


The siren has just sounded at Etihad. To me, it’s ironic that Hawthorn’s poorest year in a long time, was Mumma Mac’s last. The final siren doesn’t only sound on players, it also does on diehard fans. 




  1. Daniel Flesch says

    Lovely story , Peter , and better than the one I mean to write but haven’t yet , about the Primary school kid going to Glenferrie Oval in the mid- fifties when the great John Kennedy was captain , the players you mentioned were featuring and the lowly Hawks were beaten more often than not . Things changed for the better thank goodness , and now the most successful club in the last 50 years can take its turn further down the ladder for a while.

  2. Nice memories Peter. What a wonderful gift to give a young boy, taking them to the footy, indoctrinating you into the joys and sorrows of following your team. I don’t like the Hawks but I can appreciate what Mumma Mac did for you, and of course, those jam donuts are the icing on the cake so to speak!
    Vale Mumma Mac

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