History of Football in the Upper Kiewa Valley
The Bogong Football Club was formed in 1946 and first played in the Yackandandah League in 1947. This was a tough year for them and the fledgling club finished last. Some of the players of that original team were Wally Hore, and Bluey Hepburn.
In 1948 the Club improved greatly with an influx of new players who came to work on the Kiewa Hydro Scheme, plus the signing of Jim Bishop, Tawonga’s Champion Rover, a hero of Tawonga’s 1940 and 1947 Premiership Teams. It caused a major stir in the district. It set the pattern for years to come.
The games between Bogong and Tawonga were titanic battles. Both sides had great players all over the ground. 1948 saw Bogong go from last to the Grand Final, losing to Kiewa at Yackandandah. Jim Bishop won the Best and Fairest in the Yackandandah League that year. In 1949 Bogong struggled again after a great year in 1948. Kiewa and Yackandandah played off in that year, Kiewa won. The Yackandandah League folded in 1954.
The loss of Jim Bishop to Bogong and Doug Hore through serious neck injury cost Tawonga dearly. From 1948 to 1953 these two great players would have surely changed the result of all Bogong Premiership wins in 1950-51-53. The Bogong Football Club was a great club. There were many great players that came to work on the Kiewa Hydro Scheme. Who could forget the great sides and their titanic matches against Tawonga?
Greats such as Ron Noble, a ruckman who was fearless at palming the ball to his fast moving rover. Frank “Dozer” Garlick at centre half back. The brilliant Bill McGraw in the centre. Bill Commins, Jim Bishop, Ken Brown, Bill McCulloch, Ted Canning, Vic Donald, Eric Tye, Ralph Tye – all superstars in their eras.
The year of 1950 saw a dramatic change in the Bogong line up. With players of the calibre of Ron Noble, his high marking and ruck work around the ground was outstanding. Ted Canning at full back, whose flair and high marking and long kicking a feature of those games. The mercurial Bill Moorman, an Australian amateur in 1947 carnival. His marking, ground play and kicking was of sheer class. Ken Brown a winger and rover, who was to have many a battle with Tawonga’s great Keith Scattergood. Ian Miles a tough no-nonsense centre back. Don Mitchell a brilliant and versatile player who later starred with Myrtleford at centre half back, before a knee injury cut his brilliant career short. Pat Braham at centre half forward, a brilliant high marking, long kicking player. Before his change to Bogong he won the Central Gippsland League’s Best and Fairest in 1946 as a youngster with Yallourn Football Club. He also won the Yackandandah League, Best and Fairest in 1953 a Bogong Football Club Premiership year beating Tawonga with influx of other greats, Noel Woodham, Jack Swan, Kevin Colville, to name a few. These players formed the basis of a football dynasty that lasted until 1955 – Bogong’s last Premiership year which was in the Ovens and King League, beating Beechworth.
George and Gordon Hobbs were the famous Hobbs brothers of Dederang which two Premierships were built around. Four brothers starred in Dederang’s First Flag in the Tallangatta League in 1958. Colin Hobbs , who played full back and dominated the game from there in that memorable Grand Final is regarded as the greatest game ever played in any final. Rex Hobbs who played in the ruck with his stirring duels with Don Peters are stuff of legends. It was Rex in the rucking, in that titanic last half, which will be remembered by all who saw that game. Last, but not the least was Ken Hobbs , ruck rover, whose inspiring play, all day, combining with Rex, Colin and Jack Hobbs , changed the game. Archie Coulson defended grandly as did Dick Cooper and also ex Tawonga and Bogong player Kevin Hertzog, Clive Smith and Paul Northey all showed their class in that grand final. Ted Doubleday, Alfie Dean, John Hollaway, Neville Carson and Alf O’Keefe, all played well that day. The mighty Mitta put up a mighty effort. They were magnificent in defeat. In one of the greatest Grand Finals ever played in the Tallangatta League.
Jim Mooney a Tawonga and Dederang legend Best and Fairest Winner in the Yackandandah League 1950-52, Captained Tawonga in 1947, a Premiership year, avenging the one point loss against Kiewa in 1946. He also Captained and Coached Dederang for several seasons, plus being Club President. Jim Mooney was a player of sheer class and balance, a true champion of his era.
Jim Bishop a rover or rare poise and brilliance, a goal kicking wizard who won many Grand Finals in his great career. He is the only player who played winning Grand Finals with Tawonga, Dederang and Bogong. His going to Bogong Football Club in 1948 caused one of the greatest stirs in the Tawonga/Mt Beauty District. Had he started at Tawonga, it would have been doubtful that bogong would have won those flags in 1950, 51, 53. Bishop’s roving and goal kicking genious was the difference between those two great sides.
Doug Hore a rover size centre half forward. A fast high marking spectacular player he was. He played Tawonga’s 1940 Premiership at 18 years of age, as was his friend Jim Bishop, and also played in Tawonga’s 1947 Premiership. His brilliant career was tragically cut short when he broke his neck at the Tawonga Ground against Yackandandah. At the time he was Best on the Ground. With his brilliant play he crashed heavily after marking spectacularly. It was a huge loss, not just for Tawonga but for football fans in the district. His loss surely stopped Tawonga winning the 1948-49-50-51-53 flags. He recovered from his injury but was lost to football at the peak of his great career.
In 1960 Bogong joined the Tallangatta League. After being in the Ovens and King League from 1954-59 with one flag in 1955 “The Tigers” now became “The Bombers”. It was a year of hope and an exciting future ahead. Little the club knew what lay ahead.
From the start Bogong made an immediate impact. George Barton followed on coaching Bogong from his 1958 coaching, while it was in the Ovens & King League. His team now had a sprinkling of old players such as Ted Faithfull, Ian Higginson, Noel Higginson, Adrian Friend, Mick Flecknoe, Paul Northey, Ted Thomas, Wally Sealey, Bill Moorman, Harry Bell, Col Retallick, Clyde Smith, plus recruits such as John Costello and Peter Hillier. These were combined with youngsters Alan Mull, Barry Cottrell, Leonard Jones, Bruce Rooney, Barry Wesley, Alan McKendrick, Mal Davidson, Arthur Leighton, Don Wharton, Dusty Collins, John O’Callaghan, George Hutton and Bill Barter. These players formed the basic structure of a side that was to dominate the league from 1960-66. The 1955 Premiership rover, brilliant Eric Tye, won the Tallangatta League Best and Fairest in 1960. His dynamic play was an inspiration to the team. He also helped bring all the players into the game with his sheer brilliance. Wally Sealey, Adrian Friend, Mick Flecknoe and Bill Moorman were the elder statesmen who encouraged and lifted the tougher players around them, plus the leadership of the legendary George Barton whose play lifted the team. Bogong’s first year was sensational, but sadly injury destroyed their premiership dream.
Bad luck played some part in Bogong’s heartbreaking losses in grandfinals. In 1960, two weeks before the final series, Bogong lost its entire goal to goal line. Clyde Smith, fullback (broken foot); Adrian Friend, centre half back (broken ankle); George Barton, centre (knee injury); Wally Sealey, centre half forward (broken leg) and Mick Flecknoe, full forward (thigh injury).
In those two weeks Bogong went from 1st-3rd and lost the first semi final to Lavington by 5 goals. In 1961 Bogong lost to Mitta in the Preliminary Final, thus setting the scene for years to come of heartache and disappointment for players and supporters of that great club.