22 July, 2021
100 years of footy and community
Blackall Magpies celebrate 100 years.
CENTRAL WEST footy team the Magpies may have won back-to-back premierships in 2018 and 2019, but this year they have another cause to celebrate.
The Blackall Magpies had originally planned to celebrate 100 years of footy last year, but due to COVID they decided to postpone it.
In celebration, the Blackall Magpies opened a memorabilia store called “The Nest” on Shamrock Street, next to Scoobies Saddlery.
The nest was opened on June 25 and will remain open this weekend for the grand final against the Longreach/ Ilfracombe Tigers.
After the store closes, the Magpies’ memorabilia will still be available for purchase through Facebook or the club’s website.
The club plans to also re-open the shop during events such as the Better in Blackall Festival.
Blackall Magpies Club Vice President Bevan Hauff said the club and its history have been essential to the identity of the town.
“It gives the town a sense of pride and belonging following the footy side,” he said.
He noted in years when the town could not form a team, the town held a sense of being lost.
“There was no entertainment on the weekends for the people to follow,” Mr Hauff said.
“You know the old players and even the kids; the juniors looking up they had nothing to drive them on.”
The club did not have a definitive date from when the club started but concluded that 1920 was appropriate.
“From what we could find in the archives, footy was being played in Blackall in 1912,” Mr Hauff said.
“We have a newspaper clipping from the 1950s that talks about the wool scour workers playing a game of footy against the railway workers – the navvies – and that was in 1912.
“And that was written by Jackie Howe, a legendary shearer in Blackall.”
According to Mr Hauff, the first games of competitive football were played in 1915.
“Obviously they are through the war years, and we didn’t want to make a celebration of that time,” he said.
“This was a chance to recognise our past pallbearers for being a part of our game.”
As a club, the Blackall Magpies are attempting to dig up their history.
“We’re only volunteers ourselves, but we are digging into our past so that we can have it somewhere for the next generation,” Mr Hauff said.
As talent comes and goes, the Blackall Magpies have seen both golden and dark times.
“I remember playing in a side that got beaten by 100 points three weekends in a row and we still kept going,” he said.
“There were also times when the club has won the competition undefeated.
“The ones who kept the club going through the tough times are just as important, if not, more important as the ones who did it in the good times.”
Mr Hauff quipped he will be seeing the Magpies lift the trophy one more time this year.