How football found its feet in Bundy
LIVING in isolation through the coronavirus has had most of us head to streaming devices to watch something.
Everyone has been talking about Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness on Netflix but another title on it, The English Gam e, has been capturing mine.
It shows how English football (soccer) was an amateur game in the 1880s and took steps to become a professional game in the 1890s.
So it got me thinking, how did Bundy and football get to where it is today?
Football Bundaberg’s history started almost 100 years ago, on May 1, 1923.
Bundaberg and District Soccer Football Association was formed at the Grand Hotel (also the birthplace of Bundaberg Rum) to set up a competition in the region.
There were three teams in the opening season: Rovers, City United and Bingera.
But according to Bundaberg Mail, forerunner of the NewsMail, no winner was awarded.
This changed the following year, in 1924, with Bingera claiming the title on a first past the post basis with 21 points.
The competition had Natives join to make it a four team competition.
That side also won the first Charity Cup in 1924 on forfeit, which would be later called the NewsMail Cup and now the Triple M Division 1 Cup.
The competition was ratified by what was Football Queensland back then.
Since then the competition has grown with name changes and a joining of juniors and seniors into one association in 1996.
The competition also changed to the Bundaberg Soccer Association before becoming what it is today, Football Bundaberg.
But 1923 wasn’t the first time football, or soccer as it was known, was played in the region.
The first recorded match was all the way back in 1896.
The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser reported on a match between Natives and Millaquin in front of around 150 spectators.
Millaquin won 4-0.
The club was based in East Bundaberg next to the mill.
Most of the players in that early era were mill workers.
The next year, 1897, the first competition was held with four teams.
But the competition lasted only another four years until 1902.
Natives, one of the founding clubs, also disappeared but tried to reform in 1904.
Competitions and games were held over the years but no real structure and competition association was formed.
World War 1 then ended any chance of the game being played because most men went off to war.
The Bundaberg Daily Mail, which took over from The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser and later became the NewsMail did not report much on association football until the formation of what is today’s competition.
Only Bingera, which formed in 1922 near the Burnett River, remains from that first season. Others disappeared, some replaced by the biggest clubs in Wide Bay.
From little things back in 1923, big things have grown.
The English Game is available on Netflix.