Summer Fields

What do you say about footy in the summer?

The pain of watching my mob bomb out of the finals has long since passed. Mostly, these days, my worries are to do with beer brewing, swimming, or taking off to the mountains. None of them make me swear wildly and smack the couch like footy does.

I live in Tassie, and often I go through small towns, chasing lore, doing skunk-work for interesting histories at the local pub or a dinky café. In each of these towns, the rounded ovals catch my eye; most of them still have four white posts at each end, although sometimes, in the smaller towns – the ones that events have left behind – they’ve been nicked, or rotted away.

These are great stories, and while it’s summer and I don’t have anything more pressing to do, I’ve been profiling the stories of Tasmanian football fields.

The locations are usually beautiful. There are those surrounded by eucalyptus forest, where galahs and cockies streak across the park, or are perched on the edge of one wild stretch of ocean or another. Some are less pleasant to play on. Queenstown’s gravel is notorious, but perhaps my favourite ex-football ground is one near Cradle Mountain. A bumpy, rock-strewn patch in alpine scrub, it was never used for any formal competition, but hosted the frosty, fierce bouts of workmen from neighbouring villages decades ago now.

Sometimes I feel like an echidna, sticking a big rubbery nose into the affairs of the world, with a prehistorically stupid grin on my face. What is it that makes me so happy in rooting around the history of the things I enjoy? I suppose it somehow feels that in remembering what has passed, my gratitude is renewed for what there is now. And gratitude keeps us from turning greedy.

You can see some of the grounds I’ve profiled on the dodgy blog my mate and I made earlier this year:

About Bert Spinks

I tell stories for a living. About footy, beer, Tassie history, the bush, and other things.


  1. Great stuff Bert. Whenever I see an old country oval, I see the ghosts of my youth, and smile.

  2. Lived in Tassie when I was in the army. Great country ovals abound. It is a magnificent place to tour and have a look around. Miss my days there.

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