Turning the pages of sporting history

Jill and Armin with Where Hawks Fly. 221110 Picture: ROB CAREW

About 100 years ago Monbulk won its football premiership, but the club was forced to go to court to do so.

In 1919, Ferny Creek claimed the premiership because they took the points off Monbulk for playing an ineligible player.

Monbulk took them to the County Court, won the case and won the flag back again.

That’s one of the many fascinating stories featured in a new book about the history of the Monbulk Football Netball Club (MFNC).

Where Hawks Fly is a 560 page book that was produced to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary.

It is a collaboration between MFNC and the Monbulk Historical Society.

Monbulk Historical Society vice president and MFNC club historian, and match day volunteer coordinator, Armin Richter said the book has been a work in progress for the past 25 years.

“Twenty five years ago the club had its centenary and we wanted to put something together then but we didn’t have much time,” he said.

“It was just a very basic small production we put out at the time.

“I kept on collecting stuff over the years and finally came up to the 125 milestone.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity to finally grab all that information I found and put it together in this one document.”

Mr Richter approached Monbulk Historical Society president Jill A’Vard to help publish the book, with the pair working together to prepare the finished product.

Ms A’Vard, who was heavily involved in the football club during the 1980s and 1990s said the project had been a great opportunity to “reminisce.”

“Just the people who are in it, so many of them I know personally and it was like going back over history really,” she said.

“A bit of reminiscing for me during the years and being involved in the 1983 premiership, that was such a big celebration.”

Where Hawks Fly is a detailed documentation of all aspects of MFNC’s history, not just premierships.

“Every single year is covered in here, every match result that we know of, there’s over 6000 match results,” Mr Richter said.

“Every photo of significance that we could find we wanted to reproduce across all eras, there are nearly 1200 photos.

“We wanted to include the names of everyone who’s been involved, so there are over 3000 people mentioned in this book.

“It ended up being this big because when you put all that together, that’s what it ended up as. If we had made the book smaller and edited it down we would have been leaving things out.”

The book also features parts of the Monbulk Junior Football Club’s and Monbulk Netball Club’s history.

Meanwhile, sponsorships from local organisations have allowed the book to remain at the reasonable price of $65.

“Having the Bendigo Bank as one of our sponsors, and our other sponsors that have been fabulous, we were able to keep the price down for the community, that’s the whole idea of doing it,” Ms A’Vard said.

And despite not being able to celebrate MFNC’s 125th anniversary due to Covid-19, Mr Richter said the book somewhat serves as a way to preserve this strange year.

“There was a plan for a celebration and you will see on the back cover there was a jumper produced for 125 years. We haven’t been able to actually have any functions that were planned to link in with this,” he said.

“The timing of this Covid has really not been to our advantage but it has also created a little gap from where the club is to who knows what football’s going to be like when it all comes back again.

“So it may actually be a good point to just document it at this point in history.”

To find out more or purchase a copy of Where Hawks Fly, visit the Bendigo Bank in Monbulk or the Monbulk Living and Learning Centre (Monbulk Hub).