– Footy at Bowral

Harry Hedger

In 1892 a game of Australian Football was played at Bowral, NSW.

The match, Bowral v East Sydney was arranged by a Mr Charles Church,[1] schoolteacher, and a resident of Bowral, who had previously played for the East Sydney Club in the late 1880s, represented NSW against Queensland and was at one time a member of the East Sydney Club’s committee.

The game was initially scheduled for mid-August but fell through.  Church persisted and the match was re-organised for Saturday 10 September at Athletic Grounds in Bowral.

The condition of the ground was in a very poor state because of rain and a soccer match having previously been played there.[2]

Nevertheless a large crowd gathered to witness the game with East flying to an early lead by four goals to one at half time.

In those early days, goals were the only score counted and the game was played in two halves.  Certainly in this game it was the case.

The second half saw the locals equalise their opponents score and but for fulltime might certainly have overtaken them.  It was said that Bowral’s team was made up entirely “of former Melbourne players.”[3]

Be that as it may, they were encouraged to continue to play the following season by Harry Hedger, captain of the East Sydney team but no more was heard of Australian football in Bowral.[4]

In  recent years though the Southern Highland Hawks junior club has emerged. It participates in the Illawarra junior league.

An Auskick Centre is located at Loseby Park, Bowral Tuesday afternoons at 4.30 p.m.  for approx. 5-7 year olds.

Older players [8-14) play in club teams. The Hawks [Under 11s] won the Club’s  first premiership in 2007, and after the Under 12s and Under 15s won flags in 2008 with the future looking bright.

The club play and train at Loseby Park in Bowral, training Tuesdays 4 – 5:3. Game day is Sunday.

[1] Bowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer 7 September 1892, p.3
[2]  Bowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer 7 September 1892, p.3

[3] Bowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer 7 September 1892, p.3
[4]  Referee Newspaper, 14 September 1892 p.8

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