Games That Changed The Game No. 1
This is the first in a series.
“And the rain it gently, pattered down! And the lovely green flats of the ‘Bidgiee silhoutted, as it were, against the sky line as the special train from Tumut, with footballers and supporters aboard steamed over the railway bridge yesterday afternoon. The footballers’ quest was the Maher Cup — they were going to capture it for Tumut— so they said. And their supporters were going to stir them on to deeds of derring do”.
(The Gundagai Independent, 7 June 1923).
Let us step back from the poetry. It was a Wednesday afternoon – the 16th challenge for the Maher Cup was set to be played at Fisher Park Cootamundra. It was less than three years since Ted Maher put the Cup into play. Things were starting to get very serious. The rules were read scrupulously, and Rule 9 was a problem. Continue reading
The Maher Cup was a special event. It dominated the sporting life of towns from Tumut to West Wyalong like no other. To represent your town in the Maher Cup meant you were somebody. Before the Second World War when it was played on Wednesday afternoons, shopping stopped and main streets became abandoned. It became a metaphor for a sporting event significantly more important than others within its field. Continue reading
The cup season generally involved about 15-19 matches. 1953 with 24 games had the busiest schedule. Continue reading
In 1921 NSW had over 2,000,000 humans and less than 30,000 motor cars – about one for every 70 folk. Long distances were traversed by rail. Rail aided development. Continue reading
The following article is from the Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser Tuesday 1 July 1941, available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130455370?
Italian Prisoner Saw Captor Play Football at Griffith
Mutual Surprise in Battlefield Meeting – Roped in by ‘Musso’ While Holidaying Continue reading
On Tuesday 4 May 1920 Edward John Maher stormed into Tumut from Young with his wife Ronnie and children to take over the Wynyard Hotel. Known as E.J. or simply Ted, he was a young man going places. Within a few months he had ticked off the following – donated a Cup in his name to the local Rugby Union to be challenged for by teams up to a 150 miles distant; captained a local football team; appointed chairman of the Tumut Ramblers Football Club, refereed and ran the line, led the change from Union to League, became a member for the agricultural show and turf club committees, as well as an office bearer at the tennis club, a regular at the Tumut Rifle Club, the purchaser of the local Tattersalls licence, and player of cricket. Continue reading
Temora Rugby League is celebrating its centenary in 2014. Jim Woods in this embedded YouTube video was a key member of some very strong Temora teams in the 1930s. Temora defended the cup for ten consecutive matches in 1935-36. Temora Rugby League
The DVD to celebrate the centenary was launched in August. It is very professionally presented, very interesting, and costs $50. The money goes to junior football. If you are interested in the Maher Cup it has plenty of information about the early days.
You can buy a copy from Fly In To Dan’s in Hoskins Street, Temora. They’re also available somewhere in Wagga.
Although Tumut is both the place of origin and place of rest for the Cup, Cootamundra was the heart of Maher Cup football. As you can see below Cootamundra was clearly the dominant side. It was also the geographical and administrative centre of Maher Cup and Group 9 Football.
There were in my calculation 729 challenges between 1920 and 1971 for the Maher Cup. Continue reading
On a crisp Wednesday on the 14 July 1920 amongst the poplars, at the foot of the Snowies, the people of Tumut, along with folk from Gilmore and Adelong and footballers from Gundagai, headed for the racecourse, in sulkies, on horseback, by bike, and by shanks’s pony. A few well-heeled citizens went out in their motor cars. Some would have come in to Tumut on the train. The talk of the town was the O.Beegling vs J. Lawson scratch footrace of 120 yards, scheduled for 2pm. Connections had placed £10 on each athlete. The winner was going home with 20 quid, at least four weeks wages for the average punter. Continue reading