150 reasons for Roos to celebrate

STALWARTS: Kangaroo Flat’s Trevor Curran, Gary Place, president Rob Clohesy, Noel McClue and Chris Harrington with the seven premierships cups that symbolise the seven senior grand final wins the Roos have in their history. The club will hold a weekend of 150th anniversary celebrations. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

STALWARTS: Kangaroo Flat’s Trevor Curran, Gary Place, president Rob Clohesy, Noel McClue and Chris Harrington with the seven premierships cups that symbolise the seven senior grand final wins the Roos have in their history. The club will hold a weekend of 150th anniversary celebrations. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

KANGAROO Flat stalwart Trevor Curran is the first to admit that the Roos have had nowhere near the success of many of their Bendigo rivals.

But what the Roos may lack in premiership cups, Curran believes it’s more than made up for in family spirit.

And it’s that family spirit that Curran says has been integral in the longevity of Kangaroo Flat, which will this weekend celebrate its 150th with three days of anniversary festivities.

Curran is as well credentialed as any to speak about the family spirit at Kangaroo Flat, having had an involvement at the club that dates back to 1963 when he was the mascot for the team that included his father, Ken.

“It’s the people in it who make the club,” Curran said this week.

“We haven’t had much success on the ground with only seven flags, but our tradition is built on families.

“I can remember back in the 1970s when we had a ladies committee who would work tirelessly to run the canteen and each year they’d come to the presentation night and hand over the senior committee a cheque.

“The ladies would also run social nights down at the South Lockwood Hall and that’s what the club has been all about... families.”

This weekend’s 150th festivities have been 18 months in the making for Kangaroo Flat.

Despite the origins of the club being traced back to 1862 when Kangaroo Flat played a game against Sandhurst, the club’s new committee held off the celebrations until this year to “make sure they did it right”.

“There’s lots of people coming from all different places, and it’s amazing how the word has got out,” 150th co-ordinator Chris Harrington said.

“A lady saw a story on it in Melbourne and got in contact with us saying that her grandmother’s father played in the Kangaroo Flat area and produced some pre-1900 photos, which have been great to get hold of.

“The weekend is all about celebrating 150 years of footy being played in Kangaroo Flat.

“There are media reports that document a game being played in 1862 against Sandhurst in Kangaroo Flat.

“Our club grew from the origins of that game and has played in a number of different leagues over the time.”

John Stoward’s History of Football in the Bendigo District book lists Kangaroo Flat as having played in the Bendigo District Football Association, Bendigo Football Association, Golden City Football League and the Bendigo Football League.

The club has won seven senior premierships - 1923, 1926, 1948, 1955, 1960, 1981 and 1996.

The 1981 season was particularly special for the Roos when they won all three Bendigo-Golden City Football League division two premierships - seniors, reserves and under-18s.

The Roos’ sole flag since joining the BFL as it’s known today in 1983 came in 1996 when, after leading by 50 points at three quarter-time, they held off Kyneton by one goal, with that flag captained by Harrington.

“That was a fantastic day for the club... all the dominoes fell our way and we were lucky enough to be in front when the siren sounded,” Harrington said of the famous 18.8 (116) to 15.20 (110) victory at the QEO.

“It got a bit close there in the end.”

Just like it did in 1981 for the Roos when Northern United’s Gerard Geary had a shot after the siren from 60m to draw the grand final, but it fell just short, leaving captain-coach Peter Hinck’s Kangaroo Flat 8.15 (63) to 8.9 (57) victors and the BGCFL division two premiers.

Ruck-rover Curran - one of three players reported in what was a fiery 1981 grand final - can still vividly recall Geary’s kick at goal.

“I was standing just behind Geary on the wing. He had kicked one from between 55 and 60m out about 20 minutes beforehand,” Curran said.

“Luckily, it fell just short. There’s obviously not a lot of premiership players at the club, so I’m very fortunate.”

And the Roos’ flag before that - 1960 - also went down to the wire when they defeated White Hills by one point.

The Roos’ 150th celebrations kick off with a social gathering at the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club from 6.30pm Friday night.

On Saturday, the Roos host South Bendigo, with the day to feature a Legends Lunch at the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club from 11am.

A 150th Anniversary Dinner will be held Saturday night at the All Seasons International, with the feature to be the inaugural eight inductions into the club’s Hall of Fame.

The weekend will round out with a Pleasant Sunday at the clubrooms from 11am.

Historian Darren Lewis has written a book on the history of the club titled We are the Kangaroos.

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