The Cup Is Back In Coota

At Wyalong and Tumut, Wagga and Cowra, and all the places in-between, people are preparing for the Maher Cup Reunion at the Country Club on Saturday 13 February. It look as though more than 120 folks may be coming. This impressive display at the Camera Arts Centre at 266 Parker Street has been prepared by Susan Chambers and Tisha McTavish.

Maher Cup display in the Camera Art Centre

Maher Cup display in the Camera Art Centre

There were 728 Maher Cup matches, approximately 3,000 players, total attendances would easily have topped a million people, and the memories are countless.

At Cootamundra, Fisher Park last hosted the ‘Holy Grail’ more than 45 years ago on 6th June 1970 with this team: Colin Powell, David Cook, Ron Shergold, John Kennedy, R. Miller, Peter Lawson, Barry Black, Tony Hardwick, Bill Miller, D. Luck, Bob Glanville, Brian Wilson, and Ray Gaffey.

Thanks Tisha McTavish for the photo

Thanks Tisha McTavish for the photos

Cootamundra’s final challenge for the Cup was at Alfred Oval, Young on 29th May 1971 with, according to Wal Galvin’s annotated program, the following players: Peter Lawson, L. Gehrig, Keith Thompson, Gary Luck, Ron Shergold, Jim Piffero, Col Powell, Bill Miller, Bob Sheedy, Mick O’Toole, Brian Wedgwood, Brian Wilson and Ray Gaffey.

Remember that the reunion is for anyone interested in preserving and sharing in memories of life and football in the golden age of our small towns and villages.  Places that were both united and divided by the determination to deliver The Old Tin Pot home by whatever means.

Maybe you, or your parents, or grandparents will find the same joy of being photographed with The Cup on 13 February as these folks below did way back: Continue reading

The Hall Brothers

Sid Hall aged 92 in 1994

Sid Hall aged 92 in 1994. Source: Daily Advertiser 26 May 1994.

The danger in writing of the Hall brothers is that most of the population of Young and places thereabouts seem to be related to them, and thus will find errors and omissions.  The advantage is that you will be gracious and contribute stories, corrections and improvements.

There were other prolific sporting families about, such as the Weissels of Cootamundra, footballing families like the Broads of West Wyalong, the Lawrences of Barmedman, and the Templeman brothers of Bellarwi, but nothing quite like the Hall brothers of Belowra, Wambanumba, Murringo, Bendick Murrell and Young.  It’s not that the family lived in all these places, but being in the vicinity they represented them all in some way. Continue reading

Group 9 in the 1920s.

This is the first instalment of a brief history of Group 9 Rugby League.

Rugby League emerged in the Riverina in 1911, at West Wyalong. By 1921 it had replaced Union throughout the southwest. The NSW Rugby League, recognising the need to join up clubs and to organise this rapidly expanding sport, proposed prior to the 1922 season to divide the rural parts of the state into twelve groups. Group 9 was to include the teams Harden, Wagga, Cootamundra, Gundagai, Tumut, Temora, Barmedman, Wyalong, West Wyalong, Mildil, Ariah Park and Ardlethan. Continue reading

A Pictorial History of Cootamundra Rugby League to 1971

The following has been prepared with thanks to Susan Chambers and the wonderful resources that her father Wal Galvin diligently and painstakingly collected.

A football club was first formed at Cootamundra in 1882. The committee then debated what rules to adopt. Although they decided on the ‘Victorian game’ rather than Rugby the team did play at least one game of Rugby that year. In 1885 the ‘Our Boys‘ team provided the code with some permanence. By the 1895 Rugby was well established and a second team, the Pirates, enabled a home town derby.

Cootamundra Rugby Team 1914

Cootamundra Rugby Team 1914

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Gundagai 1921

Wirth's Circus in Sheridan Street, from Dr. Gabriel's photos.

Wirth’s Circus in Sheridan Street – from Dr. Gabriel’s photos.

1921 was the second year of Maher Cup football and its first under Rugby League rules.  For the first time Mr E.J. Maher’s trophy left Tumut. It was the year of Gundagai.

The transition to League was simple. By the time the Tumut and Gundagai area clubs met to decide whether to stay with Union or move to the more attractive code, nearby Junee, Harden and Cootamundra and just about every other town in the southwest, had already moved. The decision was made without rancour or acrimony.

But there was much more than football on the minds of Gundagai people…. Continue reading

Old Films of the Maher Cup, People & Life in & around Harden-Murrumburrah

filmThese two 20 minute (approx) videos, linked below and now placed on You Tube, are from a found film reel that was given to Wal Galvin of Cootamundra on DVD. The creator is unknown. It is uncaptioned and silent. Two things are clear from watching.  They were amateur films shot in the early 1950s. The main town featured is Harden-Murrumburrah, with some film also from Young and Goulburn as well as from a farm.

It would be wonderful to fill in the gaps. Who are the people? What Rugby League matches are being played and where? (Roberts Park, Murrumburrah?) What about the other sports the buildings and towns?  So much to discover.  Please leave some comments if you know. Continue reading

The Maher Cup Originals: Tumut and Gundagai in 1920

O'Brien family

The family of William Daniel Patrick O’Brien about 1897. Tom O’Brien went to war and returned to captain the first Tumut Maher Cup team. Here he is with his dad’s arm around him. Younger brother Assal and Orlando (top left) both died in the War.  [Source: Ancestry.com]

This post is an attempt to form an impression of life in the Gundagai and Tumut areas in 1920 through the prism of forty players from the two clubs who fought out the first Maher Cup match on Wednesday 14th July at the Tumut Racecourse.  For more on this first match go here.

Below are the team lists with brief biographical information. Further down is the analysis which you can jump to here.

Continue reading