MY late grandfather, Jim ‘Double’ Orvad often told the following story of the Bulli Fancy Dress Football Match – a charity game he took part in during the 1930s.
The story was also elegantly told by William Evans in his reminiscences of Bulli in the 1930s.
His reminiscences were published in the Bulli Times newspaper during the 1990s when I was editor. Here is his story of the Fancy Dress Football Match, more than likely played at Ball’s Paddock, Woonona.
THE Bulli fancy dress soccer match was held during the 1930s between the ‘Old Buffers’ and the ‘senior team’ (in fancy dress).
The goalkeeper was the local blacksmith. He was a massive man with the muscles of his trade. A dense mat of black hair on his chest topped his ballerina frock and his strong bow legs were encased in stockings and football boots.
The other players sported a variety of dress – a tribute to the enthusiasm and inventiveness of their women folk with very little material and an almost complete lack of money.
The Old Buffers, dressed in the regular football uniforms, were a motley lot. The passing of the years had brought their share of potbellies and balding heads. Their early turns of speed very soon gave way to frantic sucking for air.
The game was played quite hard and with no quarter given by either side except that the fancy dressers had to score five times for a goal to be allowed.
The two linesmen carried out their duties by means of megaphones from their vantage point in front of an 18 gallon keg of beer under a gum tree behind the southern goal.
The referee ran himself ragged in the heat of the afternoon sun, dressed in a black mourning suit and shiny top hat. His orders were enforced by a shot from a cap gun. A stretcher carried off the wounded.
The game was finished off by a booze up at the back of the local pub and coal production was low for a couple of weeks. while a number of players, particularly the Old Buffers, slowly recovered from cramps and sore limbs brought on by unaccustomed exercise.