The Galahs – Footy features at the Melbourne International Film Festival

A footy journey. A sporting odyssey

Almanac contributors Tony Wilson and Rob Heath (with Cameron Fink) have made a sporting documentary that is premiering at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
It’s called ‘The Galahs’ and it’s the story of a group of Victorian AFL (VFL) stars, in 1967, jetting off to challenge the All-Ireland champions, County Meath, at their own game.

The players were, and are, household names – Barassi, Skilton, Jesaulenko, Davis, Hart, Nicholls, Mann, Dugdale, Fraser.

Most didn’t own passports. Most had barely been out of Victoria.

Ex umpire and media juggernaut Harry Beitzel was the man who made it happen. He mortgaged his house. He organised the opponent. He flew his team of champions on a milk run to Darwin, Hong Kong, Paris, Dublin, London, New York and beyond to plant the seed of international competition. It was pioneering stuff — it was Beitzel’s courage and imagination that led to the formalised international rules series of subsequent decades.

Knockers in the press didn’t think it would work.

The tourists were dubbed ‘The Galahs’.

But they played like the champions they were on an action packed world adventure.

The Galahs is a rare feature film that reconnects fans with all time greats of both VFL and GAA football. It’s a wonderful and largely untold story. It’s full of fondly remembered travel anecdotes from young men on their first overseas adventure. It contains original music by Almanacker David Bridie, and was edited by Ken Sallows (Chopper, Proof)

It premieres at Melbourne International Film Festival 2016 as part of the Talking Pictures program on 7th August 2016 at 11am.

There will be a panel of filmmakers and footballers afterwards, including Hassa Mann, Lawrie Dwyer, Ken Fraser and Bob Keddie.


Tickets available here


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Sounds magnificent. Well done. Will it be on later than that date? Out of town for premier.

  2. Mic Rees says

    Just the one screening scheduled Yvette.

    Might be a chance for a “surprise screening” on the final day of MIFF (Sunday 14 August).

    Surprise screenings usually announced during the final week of MIFF.

    Keep an eye on the web for further details.

    Happy trails.


  3. Can someone give us the full list of players, clubs and coaches on the first Galahs tour? Were there any SANFL or WAFL players included or only AFL? Did Harry Beitzel publish Football Life magazine? I remember buying it as a kid in Renmark which would be about 1966. Had a full gloss front cover which was very glam back in the day.
    Top stuff all involved. Hope it makes it to TV or DVD so it can have a wider audience.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says
  5. Barry Nicholls says

    Let’s hope it comes out as a DVD. It looks fascinating.

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