Times of Old

Copyright© 2013 by Ernest Bywater


Many readers will not be familiar with Australia and some of our sports, so this foreword is to make sense of one small part of this story.

Australia is a relatively new country, and it’s often incorrectly placed when sorting out where countries stand on the world stage. European colonisation of Australia started in 1788, with more settlements from 1803 to 1859, and it has only existed as a country since 1 January 1901. It is the sixth largest country in the world, but its population is about twenty-three million, its population density is in 233rd place. The world thinks of Australia as being fully developed, but it’s still a developing country with much of it empty or populated by large farms with a low number of workers. The great majority of the population lives on the coastal fringe, with a huge rivalry between all of the states that’s best demonstrated by the large mix of the sports played. Which is why the most uniquely Australian sport of Australian Rules Football has become nationwide in only the last few decades, despite being first officially played in 1859, and being a demonstration sport in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Australian Rules Football involves a high level of kicking the ball high in the air and over long distances for another team member to catch in the air. This is called ‘taking the mark’ when it travels more than fifteen metres. Once a mark is taken the player gets to have an easy kick, because the opposition is limited in approaching him while he kicks it. When a kicked ball is coming down all of the players near the point it will land gather to jostle for the ball (read that as shove and fight). A key aspect here is to jump higher than the opposition so you can get to the ball in the air before they can.

One player who was very exceptional at taking marks, due to how high he jumped, was Roy Cazaly, who played at the top level from 1911 to 1927. When Roy jumped some team mates would yell, “Up there Cazaly,” to encourage him to go higher and make the mark. For the followers of this sport it became a sort of challenge cry to support each other when in a fight, and it was used by Australian troops during World War 2. In 1979 a sports song about Roy used the cry as its chorus. It become an Australia wide hit, and made its use much more universal.

Chapter 1 »