– The Lost Central West Australian Rules FA

In April 1933 a report was made on the situation in the Central West Australian Rules Football Association.

Not many are aware that Australian Football was played in the area well before the 1982 establishment of the Central West Australian Football League.

The first Association was formed in 1929 with four teams: Parkes, Forbes, Tullamore and Gunningbland. The following year Tullamore dropped out on account of the great distance. The Wongalea Club took its place.

In 1931 Parkes and Forbes clubs were disbanded, because, they maintained, they had insufficient funds to continue.

In 1930 the Yarranvale Club was formed, but by 1932 they had difficulty in getting a full team. So that at the close of that year Gunningbland and Wongalea were the only teams affiliated with the Association.

Strange enough.  You try and find Gunningbland and Wongalea on the map, let alone Yarranvale.  Many of these places were districts or communities of which nothing remains.  Some were also stations and the teams made up of workers and shearers.

The executive of the association took the opportunity of placing this information before “those interested in Australian’s own national game so that they may be encouraged to

organise and support the formation of teams in their own district.” (it didn’t happen)

As the season opened Parkes and Tullamore had joined the Association playing for the Provan Cup.  Prior to this competition was for the (S.E.) Warran Cup.

Previous teams in the competition included Condobolin and Trundle in the association’s five year history.

In the 1920s a competition of sorts was also played in the area which included, amongst others, teams from Bogan Gate, Mercadool, Gunning Gap and Victoria Park.

Like those previously mentioned, games were played at these venues where, absolutely nothing exists!

The image shows the locality of the latter clubs apart from Gunningbland.

Match in Parkes

1930 Newtown jumper smallSome time ago we wrote about a match in 1910 when the strong Paddington Club visited Forbes to play a game.1931 South Sydney jumper small

Again, in 1929 two Sydney teams, premiers Newtown and third placed South Sydney travelled to both Forbes and Parkes to play exhibition matches in both centres to drum up support for the game in the districts.

The Central West Australian Rules Football Association had been formed in April 1929 with teams from Parkes, Forbes, Gunningbland (a local district west of Parkes) and Tullamore making up the competition.  The Gunningbland team was formed in 1928.

Charlie Cardiff, the 42 year old bank manager with the Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd in Parkes was elected president. G C Taylor the secretary and Bob Taylor, treasurer.  Both were from Forbes.  Parkes was selected to be the centre of the competition and advertisements were placed for umpires with a pay rate starting at one guinea (one pound one shilling or $77 today).

The same year it was decided to invite two Sydney teams to the area to play an exhibition match and they were pleased to receive a positive reply from the Sydney league saying that it would not only be an exhibition game but one would be a competition match, and arrangements were immediately commenced.

It was difficult to introduce a new game to the area and with Rugby League then part of the sporting culture and it proved more difficult as time went on.  They were not in favour of a new code being introduced to the area, particularly one with Victorian antecedents.

Cardiff had provisionally arranged use of the only sporting ground in Parkes, the Peoples’ Park, as the venue for the Sydney match however when they made a more formal approach to the local Council they were told that the Rugby League club had the rights to the ground and they would have to deal with them.  Of course the club refused their application stating that they had arranged another fixture on that day.  It was later revealed that no such fixture was scheduled.

This led to a conference between the Council, Australian Football delegates and officials of the Rugby League club.

The Sydney teams were to play two fixtures on that June Long Weekend.  One on Saturday and the other on the Monday.  Initially there was some conjecture as to whether Parkes should be the Saturday or Monday venue but because of the train timetables it was decided that Monday would better suit arrangements.

The meeting could not at first resolve the situation but when Charlie Cardiff said his group was willing to pay some compensation to the Rugby League Club for upsetting their fixtures, an agreement was reached immdiately.  They would be paid 10% of the gate.

So the date was set for Monday 3 June.  Admission was two shillings ($7.40 in today’s money) for men, one shilling for ladies and sixpence for children.

A contingent of 48 was ferried from Forbes to Parkes on Sunday afternoon in cars provided by the members of the Gunningbland club, they were then dispersed into several different hotels for their accommodation .  A Civic Reception for the teams was held on the morning of the game.

The big match was preceded by a game between local clubs Parkes and Tullamore at 12.30pm

The match, which included no less than ten state players, attracted about 1,000 spectators paying forty four pounds ($3,262) in admission charges and umpired by leading Sydney whistle blower, Tom King.

South Sydney won the game 9-11 (61) to 4-21 (45) in very blustery conditions.  The players then caught the evening train to Sydney.

In 1930 Tallmore withdrew from the competition, citing distance as the main reason.  Fortunately they were replaced by Yarranvale and also Wongalea, both representing local districts or most probably sheep stations. However in 1931 both Parkes and Forbes abandoned the competition both attributing distance as cause for their departure. For example, the Forbes Club had to pay two pounds five shillings ($167.00)to the local P & A Association each time they used the showground for games.  This was aside from the public risks costs the club also paid.

Click here for map of the area and towns.

Tullamore reformed in 1933 but could not last and Trundle briefly supported a team in 1934.  However the following year Gunningbland and Wongalea were all that was left as surviving members of the Association.  The new Condobolin association was making overtures for new clubs as the page closed on the Central West competition.