VAFA – Smokie’s CYs preview: House Parties



These days, my idea of an enjoyable winter Saturday night involves a combination of uncapping a decent bottle of red and watching a decent game of footy on the tv. Latterly, I have found that a quality shiraz is much more easily attained than a good game of footy (it is true I am not all that fussy when it comes to matters of the grape). But my Saturday nights were not always so docile, especially when it came to good, old-fashioned house parties.


The first CYs function I ever attended was a do in Chandler St, at the former home of Dan Henry and his family. On approach, the hum of the crowd was audible from a couple of streets away. When we reached the front gate it was apparent that the backyard was bursting, such were the number of people who had spilled out into the sideway. In fact, I have never seen so many Williamstown people crowded into a yard, before or since. But even now, I recall how enjoyable it was to chew the fat surrounded by teammates, family and friends. And how easy was the entire set-up? A measly donation into the kitty in return for a stereo under the tree banging out mix-tapes, an unlucky volunteer in an apron turning snags on a smoking barbie, and of course the keg in the corner – delicately hooked up to a pluto-gun and temp-rite. These simple get-togethers were often the best. Although I have never asked Dan how the Sunday morning clean-up fared.


There were house parties in Laverton St, Charles St, Yarra St and, really, at the digs of anyone who was prepared to selflessly throw open their doors and host one hundred or more people. There were some particularly memorable turns at a share-house in Hanmer St, where four young CYs players were residing. On more than one occasion the theme was “toga”, and it is fair to say that both the party and the toga would become looser as the evening wore on. Animal House had nothing on these shindigs. A few mates and I, having left behind the comforts of the family nest, hosted a house party at our rented house in Kanowna St – at one stage of proceedings every room (including the bathroom) was packed to the rafters with revellers.


Years later there was the house of horrors on Victoria St, a residence condemned to the wrecking ball, which meant consequence-free debauchery was a matter of course. Thankfully, those walls will never talk, as they have long since been demolished, along with the events that they witnessed. Suffice to say that the neighbours were not sorry to see that place gone.


Our club’s social fabric was built on these get-togethers, particularly so in the period prior to the construction of the social rooms. In the end, is it not the company of friends which makes a party, regardless of the venue? So, this Saturday night, in honour of all the wonderful house parties I attended, I will raise a glass of red, and chuckle at the memory of the simple request “Ladies, please bring a plate” (which probably means nothing to anyone under the age of 35). And if you do decide to throw a house party, I am not yet beyond lifting myself off the couch to make an appearance. Toga not included.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Animal House was hugely inspirational/ aspirational cinema Smokie. I was party to numerous unsuccessful attempts to recreate that toga party. Otis Day and the Knights!

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