GET YOUR ADVANCE COPY OF FOOTY TOWN

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All VAFA supporters have been given a great opportunity to advance purchase the wonderful book Footy Town. Footy Town is a collection of stories from the local footy, stories that we all know and love that have been carefully chosen from over 50 authors around Australia and put together in this wonderful book by Paul Daffey and John Harms. 
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be publishing extracts from various stories to provide a flavour of what the book offers. It is a wonderful gift idea and you can purchase your copy through the VAFA Online Store. 
The Tribes of Broken Hill
by Keith Newtown
During my school years in the 1960s and ’70s, a small number of extended families formed the core of each of the four clubs in the Broken Hill competition. They lived in the same part of town, married within the tribe, drank at the same pubs, fought in the neutral pubs, and sorted each other out on the footy field. For many years after I left Broken Hill, my mother would send a weekly letter that would always include the quarter-by-quarter scores from Broken Hill games.
My club, Central Broken Hill, the mighty Magpies, had the unfortunate record of not winning a flag in thirty years – from the 1940s through to the 1970s – which in a four-club competition was a not an easy achievement. The Magpies played at the Memorial Oval, which was near my home, with the large, white clubhouse on the hill serving as the location for all Central Broken Hill social occasions: weddings, twenty-first birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, sausage sizzles for the mosquito fleet (primary school footballers) and of course the mandatory Sunday morning recovery sessions. The white clubhouse was known as the Taj Mahal and it was some time before any of us knew there was another white building with the same name. Apparently it was in India. (This was not altogether unusual in Broken Hill because the grand union headquarters building was known as The Kremlin.)
The town of Broken Hill is divided into only two discernible districts, Town and the South. They are separated by the mines and skimp dumps which dominate the city’s landscape. However the existence of the football clubs separates the city into four communities. When I was young changing tribe was unheard of. I remember the talk when local identity John ‘Yabby’ Lynch left Norths to captain-coach Wests and then had the audacity to marry a Centrals girl – a daughter of a Centrals committeeman no less. I was even more surprised later to hear that Centrals champion Wayne ‘Wacky’ Walker (father of Taylor Walker, the Adelaide Crows forward) had left the Magpies to finish his playing career at Norths.
Of the four clubs, South was separated from the rest by culture as well as geography. The Town side of the city featured players of Irish Catholic, Cornish mining or Methodist heritage, whereas the people from the South had long, Southern European names that we could not hope to pronounce, let alone spell, so we simplified them with nick names such as Scrotum, Dumb Dog, Dodo Bird and Pedro. We were all justifiably terrified of a trip to the South. So alien was the trip over the Hill that my Mum swore she was twelve years old before she travelled to the South. I unfortunately made the five-minute trip to the South late at night during my Year 12 year (after a few too many drinks at the Taj Mahal) and I suffered the expected fate of a Magpie in the land of Kangaroos. My face and eyes were so swollen after coming a distant second in a one-punch fight that I could hardly read my remaining exam papers the following week. (I did hear that a few weeks later Peter Rivers cornered my assailant in a hotel restroom, which at least made me feel a little better.)
To read more of this story and other great stories from Footy Town then head to the VAFA Store by clicking here to order your copy.