From the Archives: Benalla’s rich football history in doubt over restructure

By Benalla Ensign

July 1969

Benalla Young Farmers' Club members will have a double celebration on Friday night - their big win in the State final of the public speaking contest last week, and their first annual ball at Mollyullah.

The Benalla YF Club were represented by its secretary Elizabeth Mitchell; vice-president Ken Bourke, and Loris Muir.

Eight other club members, including president Jane Rush, went along to support their team, who were representing the north-east area of Victoria against five other state areas - Gippsland, western, north-west, north central and central.

The public speaking contest is sponsored by the Bank of NSW, and Benalla YFC for the next 12 months, is the proud holder of the bank's perpetual trophy.

The night proved entertaining as speakers chose varied and interesting subjects for their addresses including "mentally handicapped children", "Ned Kelly", "oil at Barrow Island" and "the education of the Australian Aborigine".

Elizabeth acted as the team's chair lady and was required to introduce Benalla speaker Loris Muir.

Loris chose as her subject "the disease of alcoholism" and captivated her audience with her thought-provoking address.

Mr Burke capably handled the task of proposing a vote of thanks, and summarising the main points of the area's address.

The finals were held before a capacity audience of young farmers, area supervisors and interested visitors.

An enthusiastic supporter for Benalla was north-east district supervisor Mr Shirley.

Adjudicators for the evening were three Rostrum Club members, chaired by Mr Britton.

Also in The Ensign this week in 1969:

* Angry rate-payers in Violet Town disrupted a council meeting

* Cr Chiswell admonished Cr Cogger for turning off the lights at a recent youth dance.

* Four soldiers were lucky to escape a car crash without injury.

* A 19 year-old Benalla man was charged with assaulting two Police Officers.

* Jack Mack was named Benalla Sportsperson of the week.

July 1994

Benalla’s rich football history will be lost if the VCFL adopt recommendations made by the Goulburn Murray Review Panel about the future structure of country football.

Under the review the Benalla and District Football League and the Tungamah Football League will be dismantled.

The board released its draft proposal for the restructure of football in the Goulburn and Murray Valley early last week, which recommends sweeping changes to football structures in the Benalla and district.

In the draft the Tungamah League has been split into three, the Benalla All Blacks joining Violet Town, Mansfield and Alexandra to form the re-introduction of the Waranga North East Football League.

The Benalla and District League will also cease to exist next year, the panel recommending that the Devenish and Goorambat clubs amalgamate and also the Swanpool and Tatong Clubs to join the All Blacks in the proposed Waranga North East League.

The 12-team League will also include BDFL clubs Thornton Eildon, Longwood, and Bonnie Doon, as well as Southern Kyabram, and District Clubs Yea, Avenel and Nagambie.

Broadford is also a possibility to join the league, if the Longwood and Avenel clubs merge.

The panel said a major problem within the Tungamah League was the distance between various clubs, particularly between Alexandra and Mansfield.  

Also in The Ensign this week in 1994:

*Benalla motorists were urged to replace faded number plates, before a police crackdown started on illegible plates.

*Julia and Gordon Dosser welcomed son Nathan James.

*Benalla’s Kurt Wakley (pictured) won the Victorian under 11 yellow belt lightweight Taekwondo championship.

July 2009

Keen horse rider and equestrian champion, Benalla student Genevieve Burgun, has been recognised for her aptitude with sheep, following success at a state sheep competition last month.

Taking out second place in the Victorian Agricultural Society’s 2009 meat and sheep judging state finals, Genevieve was recognised for the way she judged and handled the sheep.

Competitors gave an oral presentation and were judged as to the way they had lined up and placed the four sheep.

Looking at the stock’s carcass, structure and build, Genevieve had to place the sheep in order from one to four.

This placing was then compared with the judge’s initial ranking of the sheep.

Accurately selecting the first two sheep as the judges’ grading, Genevieve said she was shocked to be declared runner-up, saying it was only the second time she entered a sheep judging competition.

The first time, she said, was a win at last year’s annual Strong Wool Sheep and Wool Fair held in Benalla, which qualified her for the state finals that were held at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo from July 17 to July 20.

Genevieve Burgun

While professing her love of horses and desire to compete in equestrian events, the Year 11 Benalla College student said she had not ruled out also pursuing her new interest of sheep judging.

“I might just give it a crack next year,” she said.

Goorambat sheep breeder Ethel Stephenson also won an award at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show, taking out the best wool award for her English Leicester breed.

Also in The Ensign this week in 2009:

*Benalla 31 Primary School officially opened the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.  

*Jacqui and Justin Way welcomed the arrival of George Thomas.

*Benalla’s Tom Rockliff made his AFL debut for the Brisbane Lions.

*Teen basketball player Tom Downie was selected for Basketball Australia’s national Under-17 side.