Part 2 of the history of Trugo in Footscray. Click for part 1.
[The] Footscray team played a good game considering the club has only been in existence four weeks and its members have had little opportunity for practice owing to the dampness of the ground, while Yarraville were able to practice on the asphalt of an old tennis course. Very friendly feeling exists between the club. A large number of visitors were also present
The tale told by the Footscray Advertiser after the loss of the first inter-club Trugo match with Yarraville in June 1937. In the subsequent three years the Footscray club grew to two teams known as Footscray 1 and Footscray 2 in 1940.
Unfortunately, Western Oval couldn’t always be home to the Footscray Trugo club and throughout this time they searched for a base the club could call their own. Initially a site on Hyde St was suggested but when the quote came back for six Trugo rinks (three asphalt, three grass) at £66 – plus labour – it was deemed too costly and the search continued.
A second site was proposed to be on railway land, which would have seen eight Trugo rinks near Footscray station, however after months of back and forth the Victorian Railways commissioners had concerns about the suitability of the site and this plan was also abandoned.
Eventually it was settled that the current site (that we are working to revitalise) on Buckley St was suitable. The site was vacant after the houses on it were acquired by the council and demolished to make way for road works. It was former householder Peter Miller, at the time living on an adjacent street, who suggested the site be used for Trugo.
The cost for this site was to be £81, with an additional £29 to be added if asphalt rinks were to be installed. To help reduce costs, the club proposed a working bee as well as offering to pitch in £20 of their own money. However even though plans were drawn up no action was happening and a year later the club secretary wrote to council with a plea to get things moving again. Football season was looming and the club would lose some access to the oval they currently called home.
Finally in 1940 the club was officially opened, with a new pavilion and grass rinks, on the site where the unused club still stands. Work on the club continued throughout the 40s with an open shelter being built and in 1965, further extension to provide facilities for women.
In part 3 we’ll look at how the club fared, with their new facilities, in the following years. The bulk of the information for this and part 1 has come from this conservation analysis in 2006: http://www.trugo.org.au/documents/FTC_Conservation_Analysis.pdf