these relates to the strength of each respective sport in regional and rural Australia.
It's not myth that so many of Australia's top cricketers were country lads. Sir Donald
Bradman is the obvious example. The Bradman Museum situated in the southern
highlands town of Bowral heralds this well established historical note in the annuls of
The young lad Don Bradman sharpened his quick eye by throwing the ball against the
wall with only a cricket stump in hand.
The Festival of Cricket which ran for a couple of years in the mid 2000's was held at
the Bradman Oval in Bowral which celebrates so much of Australian cricket and that
so many of the greats came from regional and rural centres.
So too with field hockey. Many sports lovers may not be aware that in Queensland,
New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania in particular, the strength of the
game is rooted not in the big city, but in the regional cities and country towns.
The history of a sport determines much about that sport and in field hockey there is
no greater truth. So many field hockey stars ground their skills in regional and rural
This writer, an author of five field hockey books, the first being 'Hockey in Australia'
published in 1982 by IFH Publishing, detailed in that book a list of grand final
champions in a host of city and regional centres around the nation for a ten year
Take two of the states as an example. First, Queensland.
The leading field hockey centres are Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton,
Bundaberg, Maryborough, Ipswich and Toowoomba. Who would imagine this?
Prior to the advent of the artificial pitches, if one had been visiting the city of
Mackay, you would not have been unaware that there were field hockey fields from
one end of the city to the other. The climate, flat topography and flowing grasses
provided the near perfect pitches for young hockey players to ground their skills.
It may also come as a surprise that young hockey players from regional and rural
Australia are as bright and as capable as are their city cousins.
Let us now check out New South Wales. In this state field hockey dominates in
the country, cities such as Murwillumbah on the far north coast, Grafton, Taree,
Armidale, Tamworth, Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow, Parks, Newcastle, Wollongong,
Goulburn, Crookwell, Central Coast, Wagga Wagga, Albury are just some of the
great field hockey centres.
It may come as a complete surprise that in 1957, fifty three years ago, the tiny
little rural settlement of Crookwell boasted seven of the New South Wales senior
representative team. Today, Crookwell hockey retains its boast as one of the great
hockey centres in that state.
Tamworth was the first location in New South Wales to boast an artificial hockey
pitch – no, not Sydney, no not at the Homebush stadium, but alas, little 'ol Tamworth!
There is one thing in common between these regional and rural hockey centres and
the biblical record of what was said about Jesus. Remember what was said about
Jesus' home town of Nazareth!