SANFL launches 145-year historic exhibition

Geoff Strempel - Director, State Library of SA, Erin Sundstrom - North Adelaide SANFLW, Co-Captain Mark Gilbert - Curator, State Library of SA, Darren Chandler - CEO, SANFL, Graham Cornes OAM - Glenelg Premiership great, Chris Halbert OAM - Manager, SANFL History Centre and John Halbert MBE AM - Sturt Premiership great, 1961 Magarey MedallistPICTURE: PETER ARGENT

In collaboration with the SA State Library, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) launched an exhibition, Our Footy, Our People, Our Stories: 145 Years of the SANFL, last Thursday, June 2, at Treasures Room on the First Floor of the Library on North Terrance.

Curated by Mark Gilbert from the State Library of South Australia, with the help of the team at the SANFL History centre managed by Chris Halbert, this is a free exhibition that started on June 3 and will continue through to October 16.

The South Australian National Football League has a connection with Broken Hill football, which goes back to the pre-World War I era and continues through to the modern day.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is a seven-metre wide panoramic photo of a football match at Adelaide Oval, along with hours of video footage of SANFL matches, running on two screens.

A special sketchbook from GW Cox jewellers showcasing their Magarey Medal designs dating back to 1932 is on display.

There are many rare items from the SANFL History Centre’s vast collection, including medals, posters, photographs, trophies and fan memorabilia.

Other items of interest included images from the scrapbooks of goal-kicking icon Ken Farmer and Magarey Medals from the Library’s collection.

There is an interactive section where visitors are able to design their own team uniform at an activity table after being inspired by the team guernseys’ and jumpers on display.

A feature of Our Footy, Our People, Our Stories exhibition is the vast video program – many hours rekindling memories of the halcyon days of Australia’s unique game.

These include many home-and-away clashes, finals, interstate matches, Magarey Medal presentations and interviews with greats of our competition.

Peter Roberts and Neil Smith work tirelessly sifting through a plethora of film and recordings of all shapes and sizes and converting them to a format to use today.

The recordings go back to the early days of SA television, from 1960.

Starting at the beginning of the 1900s, Silver City stars have made a mark in the SANFL.

Much travelled footballer from the Hill, Jack Woollard captaining Port Adelaide to the 1910 premiership — the only one of his senior career in his final season.

Dave Low came down from Broken Hill the same season and won the SANFL’s highest individual honour, the Magarey Medal, in 1912, but was sadly a casualty of the war in 1916.

Key members of the West Adelaide premiership success in 1927 were a quintet from the Silver City; Bruce McGregor, Harry Lee, ‘Sonna’ Stokes, rover ‘Chilla’ Payne and wingman Harold Solomon.

Earlier that decade, Robert ‘Bobby’ Barnes became West Adelaide’s third Magarey Medallist, hailing from the West Broken Hill Robins.

The scribes of the era described Barnes as of stocky build, being sure in the air, possessing wonderful dash and having a beautiful driving kick, while McGregor won back-to-back

Magarey Medals in 1926 and the flag winning year of 1927.

Another West Robin, Jack Owens, was a star goal sneak for Glenelg in the 1920s and 1930s. He kicked 827 goals from 177 league games for the Bays and was a member of the breakthrough 1934 Tigers’ first premiership.

Central Broken Hill’s Neil Davies has a 143 games career with Glenelg, winning the club best and fairest, gaining All-Australian honours and being runner up to the Magarey medal in 1953.

He won a premiership with St Mary’s in the NTFL, had a brief flirt with rugby and was one of the inaugural inductees into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame. He also played four years in Queensland during the 1960s, including representative football.

Solidly built at 191cm and 89kg, defender from West’s Colin Casey debuted in 1971 for Sturt and would go on to have a 251-game league career across the next 13 years, which included two flags and five state games, before a long and distinguished career in football administration and coaching.

Mercurial Peter Meuret started his SANFL tenure with Woodville but made a career at his second attempt with West Adelaide, playing upwards of 200 games and being a member of the Bloods’ 1983 triumph.

South Broken Hill’s Chris Duthy is a 200-game dual premiership defender with Glenelg in 1985-86.

At Norwood, Stuart Bown played his 200th and final SANFL league game in the Redlegs’ 2011 preliminary final loss to Woodville West Torrens.

Taylor Walker has a season at Norwood after being drafted to the Crows, kicking 56 goals and being the club’s leading goal kicker in 2008.

His mate Lachlan McGregor started at Glenelg and then played in a pair of deciders for Woodville West Torrens, including taking one of the best SANFL Grand Final marks this century, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Mitch Clibsy and his North Adelaide teammates won the 2018 flag after coming from the elimination final and surviving a 19-man scare in the Preliminary Final.

Last year in the Eagles’ big win over Glenelg, Koby Mutch added his name to the Silver City SANFL medal connection.

Over many decades across, especially the first half of the 20th century, many SANFL SA state (second XVIII) teams and clubs would sides up travel and play Broken Hill representative teams as well.

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