Playing the goat

(From left to right) Tim Victory, Bernard Victory, Jan Colmer and Anthony Victory with the original, glass billy goat. Photo credit: Victory/ Carlaw family

Anybody who slunk by the club bouncers at ‘the billies’ in the early 1980s for some underage drinking and dancing to The Cure will be pleased to know that the glass billy goat from the front door has turned up.

Anthony Victory is the grandson of a founding ‘billy goat,’ George Carlaw, and Anthony was taken to the Alma Sporting Club by his older sister in 1978 for his first legal drink.

“It was a Blue Moon, which is Curacao and lemonade…embarrassment plus,” he said.

Anthony doesn’t dance so he just stood around “looking really cool.”

“I’m sure I had a press stud western shirt,” he said.

“It would have been dessert boots, almost certainly.

“Almost the only thing they sold at Torpys.”

This month, Anthony and his wife returned to Broken Hill from Canberra for a family reunion with Anthony’s siblings but the journey took a serendipitous turn when a tyre blew out between Wilcannia and White Cliffs.

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“We couldn’t get a spare tyre so we couldn’t go to Mutawintji and we stayed longer at White Cliffs,” said Anthony.

The Red Earth Mine was closed but a sign proclaiming Dugout Tours led them to ‘The White House at White Cliffs’ and some tall tales by Lindsay White.

The “highly recommended” tour concluded with the tale of how Lindsay and his wife had previously bought ‘the billies’ and converted it into the White House Convention Centre. They had chanced upon an old, broken door in the basement and Lindsay had saved the glass billy goat.

“I was at the Underground Motel bar, having a few beers when Lindsay turned up with it,” said Anthony.

“Lindsay said ‘I think things should go to where they belong and I think this belongs with you.’”

Anthony’s grandfather was one of the eight original ‘billy goats,’ as explained in a ‘Letter to the Editor’ in this newspaper on April 18, 1986, by J. Lamb, with an assurance of verification by Jim Conlon.

A party of forty from South Football Club was on a train from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1924 to play the NSW Carnival football team.

George Carlaw and seven other chaps (H. Flowers, A. Howard, C. Lamb, L. O’Reilly, J. Carlaw, E. Minogue and J. Cahill) were in one carriage compartment and stacked their suitcases on top of one another to make a table, covered it with papers and laid out all of the food they had brought.

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Most of them were eating lettuce, celery and radishes and Gordon Beck commented “They are like a mob of goats.”

Either C. Lamb or E. Minogue replied “Yes, that’s what we are. A mob of billy goats.”

It’s been almost a hundred years since that train trip but the billy goats continue to entertain.

“The family reunion includes four of the six siblings and two have a severe case of FOMO,” said Anthony.

“Fear Of Missing Out.”

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