Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tasmanian football has had some fascinating club names

I recently decided to have a look at club names in Tasmanian football and seek out some of the unusual ones.

I am indebted to Keith Roberts, whose 2018 booklet entitled “Tasmanian Soccer:  Winners and Losers”, was compiled from Keith’s records and his extensive research of Tasmania’s three major newspapers.

Once upon a time, large industrial firms often had teams.  Hence, we had ANM (Australian Newsprint Mills), a southern-based team that played as New Norfolk from 1948-50 and 1959-60.

And then there was the North-West Coast side, APPM, which I assume represented the Burnie paper manufacturer, Australian Pulp and Paper Mills.  They were in existence  from 1950-53 and 1957-58 before becoming Burnie Rovers in 1961.

Some readers may remember the Titan ground in Moonah.  It was the home of the Titan club, which became Moonah in 1952.  Titan was an English tool manufacturing company with a plant at Moonah and the ground was beside the factory.  I can recall coaching a Claremont school team in a cup final at that ground back in the 1980s.  Our opponents were a Dominic College team coached by former Rapid and State goalkeeper, Phil Kannegiesser.

Zinc Works was a club in southern Tasmania in 1953.  Papermakers played in the North-West from 1955-63, while Patons & Baldwins were active in the north in 1925-31, 1936-67.  They held the State title in 1926 and 1930.

There were some very interesting club names in Tasmanian football last century, including Berea, a minor southern team in 1947.  Berea is a city in northern Greece and I wonder if Greek immigrants were involved in this club that survived just one season.

Black Bears is a fascinating name.  They were a minor league side in northern Tasmania in 1952 and I think their players were often German immigrants working on the Hydro power scheme.

Bohemians was another interesting club name for a southern Tasmanian team.  Bohemia was a European region that now forms the western part of the Czech Republic, so it would be interesting to know if the club was funded by Bohemian immigrants.  ‘Bohemian’ also elates to an unconventional lifestyle, so it could have been a club formed by Tasmanian hippies!  It only lasted for one season (1954) so perhaps all the players moved to San Francisco and were the founders of the Hippie movement there a decade or so later.  I am, of course, speaking tongue-in-cheek here, so don’t get too excited.

Brighton Olympians played in the minor southern competition in 1950.  Perhaps there was a Greek connection there?

The Central North-East of Tasmania had the Break O’Day league in the early 1930s and Cornwall was one of the teams.  I wonder if it was founded by Cornwall miners who had moved there from England and worked tin mines?

The two teams that really fascinate me from that region are Rossarden and Story’s Creek.  They apparently played in the northern league based in Launceston.

Rossarden existed from 1959 until 1961, when a thriving mining community existed there.  Story’s Creek, a little way up the road from Rossarden, lasted just the one season (1960).  I’d like to think there was a fiercely contested local derby played there, but my research has unearthed nothing of the sort.

I have been to both towns and recently directed a couple of mates that way, but none of us has ever found the remnants of a football pitch.  Story’s Creek is now a ghost town and my friends found what may have once been a small oval with a crumbling cricket pitch in the middle.

I did manage to contact a former player of Rossarden, Michael Kvarantan, who played for Croatia in Hobart in about 1960 before heading north to work at Poatina.  He told me he played for Rossarden but had never actually been there.  He said the team played its games in Launceston and the players would gather in Launceston for the games.

Michael scored the only goal of his career playing for Rossarden.  He said it was meant to be a cross, but the ball swung in under the crossbar and was described by The Examiner reporter as a magnificent goal.  Michael didn’t set the record straight!

Michael has no recollection of any derby between Rossarden and Story’s Creek and Rossarden, in fact, became Launceston Croatia in 1962.  He returned to Hobart that season and resumed his career with Croatia.

Excelsior played a few games in the minor southern leagues in 1935.  That’s a Dutch name, but I doubt there would have been many Dutch immigrants in Tasmania at that time.

There were also teams called Glenorchy (1959-60) and Goodwood (1959-60).  I think some of their players joined South Hobart after they were disbanded.

Mt Nelson had a team from 1949-53, while the Hydro town of Wayatinah, where my grandfather Balthazar Pless worked for a time, played in the southern Tasmanian competition from 1961 to 1963.

Fern Tree also had a team in 1975 and they became the Salvation Army team that played under the name Salvoes.  Reg Tolputt was one of the founders of Salvoes.  He was manager of the Tasmanian side in the 1970s and was devoted to football.  He, David Martin (Caledonians) and I had a radio show about football on 7HT on Saturday mornings in the early 1980s.

There was also a West Coast League at one time and Gormanston played Queenstown in 1923, for example.  The mining town Savage River had a team from 1982-83.

Juliana was a team from northern Tasmania in 1957 which may have had Dutch connections.  Queen Juliana reigned in the Netherlands from 1948 until 1980.

Lovett was a club in the Huon Valley in 1914 with British connections.

In the early 1900s, teams from the ships Zeelandia and Paloona competed in Tasmania.  The Zeelandia team played social matches when in port in Hobart, while the team from Paloona played social games and were sometimes included in the southern league.

Malaysian Tigers and their reserves called Harimau played in southern Tasmania leagues in the 60s and 70s.  They were mostly comprised of Malaysian students at the University of Tasmania.

The Peninsula Pirates were a team in the minor southern leagues from 2010-14.

I’d love to know more about the Weisa Bulldogs, who played only social games in the north in 1951, and the team called Tabernacle, which played in the minor northern leagues from 1927-31.

And then there was Cricketers, who started the ball rolling at New Town in 1879 with the first-ever Tasmanian football game.

If you’re interested in Tasmanian club names, why not contact Keith Roberts, who probably has more copies of his publication available at a reasonable price.  I purchased a couple of copies and sent one to a mate in the Northern Territory, who is involved in indigenous football there. He is one of the two people I referred to earlier in this article and whom I directed to Rossarden and Story’s Creek recently.  I’m waiting for the photos they took of Rossarden and Story’s Creek and these may just include the dilapidated oval and cricket pitch (football pitch?) at the latter ghost town.


Anonymous said...

Berea relates to Berea St found at the top of Collins St . It was
I believe a youth club .

Brian Young said...

I played at Savage River in the early 1970s. They were whipping boys in the North & NW League then. It's a LONG trip from Launceston.

Brian Young said...

Black Bears from Berlin? The city symbol.

Anonymous said...

Hi Walter,

Do you know if there's a way to purchase a copy of Keith Roberts book?

Walter said...

Just give Keith a ring on 6223 6009 and I'm sure he can help you out. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I just checked google earth for the Storys Creek ground. You can see the cricket pitch.

Anonymous said...

Hi Walter, fantastic read.

I was at Dominic College and played under Phil Kannegessier. Do you recall the score in the cup final?

He was a great coach and we played many games at the old Titan ground.


Walter said...

Thanks for your comment. We beat you 2-1 in that Cup Final. Very exciting game as I recall.
I was with Rapid when Phil was starting his career and I remember giving him a lift home some nights after training at Geilston Bay. He was a great goalkeeper.

Hunty said...

In case you or any readers are interested, here is some more information on the pre-1915 clubs mentioned above.

Lovett: The towns of Lovett and Port Cygnet opted to essential merge in 1915 to become Cygnet. The Lovett United Football Club only lasted 1 year )(1914) owing to World War I.

The Zealandia and Paloona are actually the same ship. The Zealandia was sold in 1908 and re-named the Paloona. The Paloona played in the Southern Championship seasons of 1910 and 1911, before being thrown out of the competition prior to the 1912 season (along with other ship team Westralia, who were reigning champions) as they could only play every 2nd weekend.

My favourite team name in Tassie history ? Wombats!
They played 4 games against Launceston United in 1911.

Anonymous said...

Clarebras most interesting name yet !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Pity that's not their name though isn't it.