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Churchill Football Netball Club celebrates 130 years of history in style

The Churchill Football Netball Club has celebrated the 130 year history of the club with two significant events held on May 1 and 2. The first of these events was the official launch on the Friday night of the long awaited and eagerly anticipated 600 page history of the club entitled “Woods, Roos and Cougars”. Since the club’s origins in 1880, it has morphed through several changes of name and guernsey colours to finally become the current Churchill Football Netball Club. Authored by English born local resident and now great supporter of the club, Gavin Wigginton, the comprehensive book is a collection of history, game results and statistics as well as individual and family profiles which are fascinating reading for any club supporter or football or netball follower.

CFNC History Book

Gavin, who settled in Australia in 1986, was a survivor from the Black Friday bushfires of 2009, which devastated Calignee and destroyed his house. He then moved to Traralgon whilst he was rebuilding and became involve as a supporter and sponsor of the Football Netball Club. An accomplished author of several published books, he is a meticulous researcher, as any reader of this book will see, and spent nearly three years researching club and, newspaper records, interviewing around 150 people and listening to many anecdotes before producing this historic but very readable book. The task was made even more challenging because of two fires over time which destroyed club premises and records. The book also recognises the part played by netballers in the history of the club beginning in the 1990s and leading up to the amalgamation of the netball and football in 2000 to become the Churchill Football Netball Club.

Mark Answerth, President of the Hazelwood Churchill Past Player and Officials Association which commissioned the book and paid for the cost of publication, interviewed Gavin at the book launch and thanked him for “his generosity, spirit and tireless work in putting together the special piece of history.” Many current and past players from earlier eras attended the launch.

On the Saturday night, 175 club supporters and greats from the past, gathered in the clubrooms for a formal dinner and the unveiling of a unique mural painting depicting 60 of the most significant characters on and off the field over the years since 1960. This spectacular work by local artist and former player, David Shields, will hang permanently in the Members bar and honour football and netball players, officials and volunteers who made very worthwhile contributions to the Club. David, too, had spent a great deal of time creating this work and included many humorous and moving details relating to characters in the painting. The evening, which was hosted in a very professional manner by emcee and local radio personality Barry Whitehead, included a presentation to David of a copy of the painting signed by all those who were included in it. Many past players and officials travelled from Melbourne and interstate to be present at the function which was described as “ like a giant club reunion and premiership celebration rolled into one.”

The book is now available from Churchill Newsagency while copies of the book and prints of the painting can be obtained by