Australian Short Stories – (Mary) Valleys Senior Rugby League Team 1935


Before the 1939-45 war there were four football teams playing in the Gympie competition. One of these was Valleys, a team as the name suggests selected from the town ships of the Mary Valley.

My brothers Kev and Bert played, and as well as being captain of Valleys, Kev was captain of the Gympie representative team. Roads weren’t crash hot back in the 1930’s, there was no bitumen on the roads in the Valley and getting to the venue where the match was played was quite a chore.

Traffic on the road stirred up clouds of dust. It was almost impossible to pass a vehicle in front, as it was hard to see for dust, and if you followed too closely, you were smothered in the stuff.

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One of the players, Frank Jocumsen had a cream run and picked up cream from farmers between Imbil and Gympie. The cream was delivered to the Gympie Butter factory on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays of each week. His truck was large for the times, about seven ton capacity with a canvas hood over the back to keep the cream cool. It was also a great way to transport the team to the playing venue on Sunday.

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There was one snag, the back of the truck got splashed with cream, and by the end of the week, as may be imagined, was very smelly indeed. My role model Kev, volunteered me to clean the back of the truck, and every Saturday during football season Frank would bring it to the back of our house to have it cleaned. I was only seven or eight years old when I inherited the job and I can tell you it was no sinecure.

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No hoses at the time, just many buckets of water, carried from the tank some distance away, soap and a broom, and some hard work. It was also my job to clean Kev’s football boots and they weren’t considered clean if you couldn’t see your face in them.

All the Valley towns got behind their team and expected them to win every game. The interest and effort was so great that Jack Lutton who owned the sawmill in Imbil was reputed to have said production at his mill dropped considerably on Mondays and Fridays.

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Fridays, because his employees, and there were several in the team; put in most of the day talking about how they would play Sunday’s game, and after the game on Sunday they were too sore to work properly on Monday.

Source by Lindsay Harris


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