Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Black & Blue: ‘Jacky’ Brooks, an Indigenous Hero of Blue Mountains Rugby League by John Low

I’ve heard the roar at a football match as it rose in the crowded stands,
When a winger leapt and took a pass with magic, out-stretched hands,
And the double roar as he came inside and flashed across the line,
That was a roar that stirred my soul, a roar that was a sign.[1]

Setting the Scene.
By 1920 Katoomba was on the cusp of its most prosperous years, about to become the ‘Queen City of the Hills’ and one of NSW’s premier resorts. The town had long outgrown its 1870s origins in coal and shale and mining the cliffs had given way to mining the pockets of tourists. A Municipal Council had been established in 1889 and the arrival of public amenities such as gas, water and electricity in the early years of the 20th century was accompanied by an ever expanding market in holiday cottages and guesthouses, which catered to all levels of income.

Figure 1: Katoomba level crossing ca.1920 (Blue Mountains City Library)

However, despite this new gloss of tourist glamour, the town retained enough of its working class character to support a sometimes thriving culture of Rugby League. After a brief flirtation with the Hartley District Rugby League in 1915 Katoomba became involved in a truly local competition in 1920 with the formation of a Blue Mountains District Rugby League under the patronage of Carrington Hotel owner, Sir James Joynton Smith. A lively first season culminated at Lomatia Park in Springwood where the grand final “metamorphosed the quietude of the bush into a veritable pandemonium”.[2]  The Katoomba ‘Federals’ defeated the Springwood ‘Springboks’ by 7 points to 2 and took home a trophy sponsored by another of Katoomba’s prominent businessmen, John S. Henderson.

It was an auspicious start for the code and, while the health of the local competition over the next two decades became something of a season-to-season proposition (there was no local competition at all in 1926), the early years saw teams from all over the Blue Mountains – from Emu Plains to Mount Victoria - do battle each week. When a Blue Mountains regional team, outfitted in royal blue jumpers, became part of a Western Districts competition in 1921 the ‘Blues’ began playing regular matches against teams from as far away as Wellington and Dubbo. Games against metropolitan club (generally lower grade) and company teams were also arranged and became common fixtures in the late 1920s and 1930s. Indeed, as the fortunes of the local competition began to fluctuate, the ‘Blues’ assumed centre stage and provided the Mountains community, characterised by a divisive geography of small parochial towns with entrenched traditions of rivalry, one of the few avenues through which it could express a unified sense of regional identity.

Initially games were played on the Katoomba Park Recreational Reserve within earshot of Katoomba Falls. However, when the Show Society’s grounds at North Katoomba were upgraded to accommodate football and cricket and re-opened in June 1925, the ‘Katoomba Showground’ was soon adopted as League headquarters. When a grandstand was built a couple of years later and training rooms and showers were added the ground become “one of the finest ... outside the Metropolitan area.”[3]

Just as a football team is usually identified with its town or region, so too, sport can throw up unlikely local heroes, who, by their athletic ability, carry the aspirations of the community on their shoulders. One such ‘unlikely hero’ is the subject of this article and, while Jacky Brooks may not rank in the elite of rugby league players, to the Blue Mountains crowds of the 1920s and early 1930s, he was “a wonder-boy”.[4]

Introducing a local lad.
Behind Katoomba’s town centre, out of sight in the valley formed by the Katoomba Falls Creek, an Aboriginal community had formed around the turn of the century when members of an existing community at the foot of Nellie’s Glen in the Megalong Valley moved up on to the ridge. Never large, the ‘Gully’ community consisted of a core of permanent families, which included people of Dharug, Gundungurra, Wiradjeri and European descent with a regular itinerant population drifting through from other centres. A small interdenominational church, funded by local Congregationalists and run by a Katoomba Mission Committee (supplemented by visits also from the Australian Inland Mission), was erected in 1910 and emerged as a focal point for community meetings and gatherings. Though individuals from the Gully visited, shopped and worked in the town the latter took little interest in them, their small community becoming a refuge from unwanted attention.[5] The Gully was Jacky Brooks’ place.

‘Jacky’ was born Walter Woodburne John Brooks on 25 June 1906 at Little Bay, Sydney. His father William, other than a couple of references to him as a “labourer” and, intriguingly, a “variety artist”, remains a shadowy and mysterious figure.[6] His mother, Jessie (known as Rosie), on the other hand, was the daughter of William and Fanny Lynch, both prominent Gundungurra elders. William Lynch was born at Bungonia in 1830 to a Gundungurra mother and an Irish convict father. He worked for many years as a police tracker and later as a shepherd on Alexander Dalziell’s ‘Rosevale’ property in the Hartley Valley, eventually settling on his son’s selection at Gibralter Creek where it joins the Cox’s River. Rose Anna ‘Fanny’ Lynch (nee Fisher) was born at Hartley in 1829 and after their marriage bore William seven children. Following her death in 1900, her husband and a number of their family (including Jacky’s mother Rosie) moved into ‘The Gully’ at Katoomba.[7] When he died in 1913, ‘Old Billy’ was described in The Blue Mountain Echo as a “Mountain historian”, his obituary writer paying tribute to his “encyclopaedic” knowledge of the district.[8]

Figure 2: Looking east across The Gully to Katoomba township, late 1940s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Though it was on the football field in the years following World War I that Jacky Brooks achieved his greatest fame, his courage and physical stamina first came to public notice in November 1912 when he played an active role in the rescue of two young friends who had fallen during a precipitous climb up the Narrow Neck cliffs following an excursion via Dickson’s Ladders - “a weird wire rope hanging from an iron peg fully 70 feet over a sheer precipice” - into the Megalong Valley to collect wild flowers. The local press praised him as “a little hero ... deserving of every recognition”; he was presented with “a handsome medal” at a special function in the Mission Church and a small trust fund was established to “be spent only in the best interests of the little hero”.[9]

The ‘Wonder Boy’ of Blue Mountains Football
Today there would be few major Rugby League clubs without Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders on their books. At the time Jacky Brooks joined the Katoomba ‘Federals’[10] in 1923, however, it was a different matter. Indeed, that year saw the retirement of George Green, the first ‘Aboriginal’ to play first grade Rugby League in Sydney and even his Aboriginality is now considered doubtful.[11] Nevertheless, perhaps Green who played a significant part in the North Sydney premierships of 1921 and 1922 provided inspiration to the young Katoomba footballer.

Whatever the source of his decision to play Rugby League, Jacky’s first match performance was considered worthy of notice by the local press and within weeks he found himself selected to play in a combined Blue Mountains-Mudgee team against Lithgow. “No better sport or more gentlemanly player has donned the Mountains league guernsey”[12], remarked one commentator and it was not long before his attractive playing style made him a favourite with the local crowds.

League at its best is an attacking game and, while big forwards lay a foundation of grinding progress, to play as a centre or on the wing demands speed and evasive skills. Jacky had both and the local sports journalists were prolific in their praise. He was simply “a wonder-boy when properly fed [the ball]”.[13] In August 1928, gathering the ball near his own line, he sprinted and weaved “in one of the prettiest runs imaginable” to score; it was “the best piece of individual play we have seen this season.”[14] The following year, in a game against a team from Granville in Sydney’s west, he scored “the greatest try of the season”, intercepting a pass on the half way line and “with great head and footwork he managed to dodge his many would-be tacklers, and scored right behind the posts ... no one could get close enough to bring off a successful tackle.”[15]  Jacky was clearly one of those players who could inject magic into a game at any moment and, simply by receiving the ball, bring a crowd to its feet. At Blackheath in 1924, trying to explain the way he “electrified the crowd”, a reporter struggled for words only to find them eventually in the poetry of Tennyson.[16]

Figure 3: Jacky in his ‘Federals’ jumper ca.1923 (Blue Mountains City Library)

It seems, too, that Jacky possessed the ability to ‘use his head’, to play intelligently and learn from criticism. In a club match in June 1924 he was criticised for trying to do too much. Had he “short kicked at times”, the commentator remarked, this “would have been better for his side.”[17] The following week, playing for the Blues against the South Sydney Warrigals, he showed he had taken this advice to heart. Receiving the ball on the half way and confronted by a phalanx of opposing players, he “used his head, short kicked, raced through, gathered up and flashed across an easy winner. It was a pretty creditable piece of work.”[18]

Besides speed and agility in attack, League also demands the defence of territory and an ability to tackle can separate a good three-quarter from the rest. Jacky, though lightly built, ticked this box too. Even when starved of possession and limited in attack, it was observed that “nothing got passed Jackie (sic)”[19]. He could be all over the ground “working from wing to wing, one time cutting off the visitors’ winger after a burst across field.”[20] When he was nearing the end of his playing career he could still produce ‘man-of-the-match’ defensive performances. In a game against Fairfield in 1936 “the beautiful tackling of Jacky Brooks” was seen as a highlight, the journalist from the Katoomba Daily concluding his match report with the comment: “I think Jacky Brooks is the finest tackler it has been my pleasure to watch. Not once on Sunday did he let his man go past him. … A pity the rest of the team does not tackle like him.”[21]

Jacky’s speed and effective defence were sustained by his remarkable stamina and courage or, what one commentator called, “true football grit”[22]. His ‘staying power’ was noted early and by 1929 had earned him the nickname of ‘Tiger’[23]. In August 1929 a thrilling Sunday match against Orange, in which the Blues were victorious over a team that contained two former internationals, revealed him at his most determined. He was a marked man from the kick-off and during the second half was found to have suffered a broken rib. Refusing to leave the field, he moved briefly to full back but soon reverted to his normal position in the three-quarter line where, “holding his injured side with one hand”[24], he successfully executed a couple of try-saving tackles before the game concluded. Then, he was back on the field the following weekend in a knock-out competition against teams from the metropolitan area, a “red-letter day for Katoomba”[25] with the local side scoring an exciting victory in the final against South Sydney. The crowd at the showground was lively and conditions certainly favoured the local side, with wind, rain and snow all effecting play.

While it is true that Jacky Brooks’ abilities have to be seen in the context of the generally average and often criticised standard of football in the Mountains[26], there is no doubt that he showed above average abilities as a player. In 1929 he would have benefited from the more professional coaching, which came with the appointment of the experienced Charles Hamey as the District team coach. Hamey was an ex Newtown Union player and had been a South Sydney junior representative at aged 13. He introduced a more disciplined regime into the training schedule and its impact was felt immediately, with the Blues recording a win against Bathurst, which observers felt placed the team “on a level with any first class team of the west”[27]. On training nights the showground, lit by two large electric spotlights, “was as busy looking as a disturbed ant bed.”[28] The Blues won 17 out of 21 games played that season.

Figure 4: Blue Mountains District Rugby League team 1929; Jacky front row, first on left (Blue Mountains City Library)

While an early commentator forecast that “some day he’ll be heard from”[29], Jacky seems to have won representative honours beyond district level only once. This was in May 1933 when he was the only Katoomba player chosen by the Group 10 selectors to represent the group’s Eastern against its Western Division. The match was played before the State League selector at Bathurst and, while Eastern Division won and his pace was praised, he did not have a good game. He was criticised for “a little too much indecision” and failed to make selection for Country Week carnival honours in Sydney.[30]

Nevertheless, his talents did not go totally unrecognised and the high regard, in which he was held by local spectators and players alike, was reflected in a number of local ‘honours’. In August 1924, at a dinner at the Hampden Villa Guesthouse following a Blues victory over an Eastern Suburbs President’s Cup team, which had won the Sydney competition, the Eastern Suburbs Club’s Vice-President “paid a high tribute to Jacky Brooks, which caused prolonged cheering from all present.”[31] A month later his was the first name to be inscribed on a shield sponsored by Katoomba businessman and Federals official, Dave Brown, to recognise annually the club’s “most proficient player”[32]. And the following year his efforts were again recognised when the club presented him with its award for “all-round excellence”. 

The Katoomba Community
Jacky Brooks, like many of the Valley residents, worked in the town and participated in other aspects of Katoomba life without apparent discrimination. Indeed, in 1927, after working for a local carrier for over a year, Jacky took his employer to court, alleging successfully that he was due 4 pounds 13 shillings and 9 pence “as wages underpaid in terms of the award”[33]. In the 1930s he appears to have obtained work at some of the local hotels and guesthouses including the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath and the Carrington and Milroy in Katoomba.

Figure 5: The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, 1930s (Blue Mountains City Library)

At a farewell dinner for the Carrington’s manager, Harry Cantor, Jacky spoke of how happy he had been working under Cantor, with whom he had come from the Hydro Majestic.[34] He worked in the kitchens at the Carrington and would bring home left-overs of food and sweets for the Valley children and scraps for his favourite cats. He played the organ in the Valley church, was a good singer, a fine dancer and skilled on both the gum leaf and the spoons. As such, he was a popular participant at staff balls and football club dinners. At the aforementioned dinner for the Eastern Suburbs team in 1924, he was one of the principal musical attractions, while in 1938 he won a prize for the most original fancy dress at the Carrington Staff Ball.[35]

While the Australian devotion to sport provided Jacky with a pathway to community respect and all the evidence suggests that he was widely and genuinely liked, he was rarely allowed to forget that he was ‘different’. Language now considered unacceptable was then widespread and unremarked upon. It reflected deeply ingrained community attitudes. To the press he was the “swarthy Jacky”, the “fine little ‘white’ player” or the “gallant Etheopean (sic) with the white heart”.[36] And, popular though he was with the crowds, it seems that he did not always escape the cruel and derogatory comment. “Give the ball to the boong!” was heard by at least one spectator, who shared his memories with me.[37] 

Figure 6: Jacky with friends in the AB Cafe in Katoomba. Joe Stubbings, Jackie Brooks with Harvey Clark, date unknown (Blue Mountains City Library courtesy of Jean Murphy)

Beneath the surface of its metamorphosis into one of the nation’s premier tourist resorts, Katoomba was basically a small provincial Australian town imbued with a deep conservatism, which underpinned its view of the world. Jacky Brooks might have been recognised and applauded as a fine footballer, but he lived, worked and played in a community in which ‘race’ and skin colour still mysteriously measured a man’s place in society, and his success must be seen in this context. Australia had a ‘White Australia Policy’, the last vestiges of which remained until the Whitlam era, and its leading journal, The Bulletin, did not remove the slogan “Australia for the White Man” until the early 1960s.

The press’ treatment of three other Aboriginal men who fell foul of the law around the time that Jacky Brooks was beginning his football career provides a useful comparison. The prominent historian of race in Australian sport, Professor Colin Tatz, has described community attitudes to race in terms of “inclusion” and exclusion”.[38] The ‘acceptance’ given to Jacky emanated from his ‘special case’ status as a black champion, his racial difference emphasized by his “inclusion”. The Hughes brothers, on the other hand, had no such special status. They had already placed themselves outside the law, compounding their racial “exclusion”.

In April 1921 William Hughes, a World War I veteran, and his younger brother Herbert escaped from the Katoomba lock-up where they had been incarcerated for burglary. Before their eventual recapture, they lead the police on a ‘merry dance’ around the Burragorang Valley. Extra police were sent from Sydney to assist in tracking them down, a response which seems somewhat out of proportion to their status as petty criminals. Three years later their older brother Jimmy was also arrested in Katoomba for similar crimes. In its coverage of these cases, in which police “wit” was matched against the “cunning” of the “copper-coloured coons”, the local press portrayed the brothers in a manner, which suggested they were hardened criminals. It also implied, irrelevantly, that one of the brothers was “a perambulating darkie who used to play ‘peeping Tom’ in the nude” instilling fear among Katoomba’s women.[39]

As Katoomba rode the crest of an economic wave into the early 1920s, the Valley community on its margins remained poor. Houses were constructed with the limited materials available – saplings, kerosene tins, corrugated iron, hessian – and painted with whitewash. Public utilities were minimal. The local newspaper, if it referred to the community at all, called it a “camp” and mission records refer to cases of sickness and premature death indicative of social neglect.  In November 1924 Jacky married Edith Faith Stubbings at a ceremony in the Valley’s church, the interior of which was decorated “with wildflowers and greenery and a Wedding bell, and outside an arch of greenery was erected and coconut matting laid from the gate”.[40] Within two months of the wedding Edith had died from complications incurred during childbirth. 

Life after Rugby League
In the 1930s, as his football career was coming to an end, Jacky seems to have considered other outlets for his athletic abilities. One of these, not surprisingly, was boxing. On the evening of Saturday, 1 April 1933, “our football champ” appeared at the Katoomba Town Hall in a bout with a similarly weighted (9 stone, 7 pounds) but height advantaged opponent named Jack Swords. Despite showing all the courage and determination, which characterised his football, his attempt to forge a new career in the ring proved unsuccessful.  The reporter from the Katoomba Daily observed that: “Brooks attacked tigerously (sic), forcing the taller man again and again into his corner. In the third round Brooks hit the canvas for seven, and in the fourth, Swords … knocked him through the ropes. Coming back into the ring, Brooks received a straight left and a right arm jolt to the stomach, again going down. The towel was then thrown in from his corner.”[41] This seems to have been his first and only fight.

Figure 7: Jacky Brooks 1940s or 1950s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Not a great deal is known about Jacky’s life after football. Despite the fact that even when he was playing there were periods when his name failed to appear in the football reports suggesting his absence from the town (chasing work perhaps) and a possible stint as a football coach at Wellington (NSW),[42] Jacky lived in Katoomba until probably the mid-1950s. In 1936 he married Daisy Smith (aka Dennis/Barker), an attractive and “stylish” Aboriginal woman with reputed connections to La Perouse and Redfern. This marriage did not last. A later relationship with a non-Aboriginal woman, Eileen Rutland, produced a number of children who, sadly, were later placed in foster homes.[43]

For residents of the Gully, the 1950s brought with it the spectre of disruptive change. From the early years of the decade the local council, having reached agreement with a local syndicate of car enthusiasts to build a modern motor racing circuit as part of a larger recreational ‘attraction’, began to acquire and clear land in the valley. With no apparent thought given to the impact on the small Gully community, construction of the track began in 1958 and continued through until 1961. It spelled the demise of the Gully as a place of refuge and community and the end (or so it was thought at the time) of a people’s special relationship, formed over a long period, with “a particular piece of ground”.[44]

Figure 8: The motor racing circuit in The Gully, early 1960s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Jacky was still living in Katoomba when his mother died in 1949 and when he applied for exemption from the provisions of the Aboriginal Welfare Act. His house was next door to his mother, Rosie’s.[45] But, his place was now lost to him and it is probable that he left Katoomba some time during this period of dislocation. It was mentioned to me once that, before his departure, he played in an exhibition match at the Katoomba Showground, in which his team-mates ensured that he scored a try. If it happened it was a final flourish for “the wonder boy” of Blue Mountains football. He moved possibly to Redfern or perhaps to La Perouse near his birthplace of Little Bay … and vanished!

Considering the importance of sport in Australian life, it is unfortunate that local historians have given it little serious attention. When seen in its broader social context, sport offers yet another perspective, from which to look at our history. Jacky Brooks was a talented footballer, whose exploits on the field spoke that mysterious language understood by fans of all eras, that ‘secret knowledge’ so baffling to outsiders. He was also an Aboriginal man living in a small Australian town in the early 20th century. Such stories as Jacky’s are important. They open a window on a moment in our community’s evolution. They show us the ways in which we have changed and remained the same. They provide us with context and continuity. 

In modern Katoomba, there are two places where Jacky Brooks is publically remembered. The first is located outside the Carrington Hotel where some years ago an area of public space was set aside so locals and visitors alike could soak up the sunshine, enjoy dramatic and musical performances or just sit under the gaze of one of Australia’s iconic 19th century hotels. Set into the pavement here are a series of panels that memorialize, in a brief imagistic line of text, a number of local people whose lives have intersected with that of the old hotel. Jacky is among them.

Figure 9: The interpretive ‘Story Walk’ in The Gully, Katoomba (Budawa Aboriginal Signage Group website)

The second can be found in an oasis of quiet some distance from the centre of town. In 2002, the Gully was officially declared an ‘Aboriginal Place’, a public acknowledgement of the profound connection to this place, which has survived within the local indigenous community. An Aboriginal ‘story walk’ has been included in the ‘refurbishment’ of the area and Jacky’s story is among those of the Gully people featured. 

While these are the two public acknowledgements of his place in the life of Katoomba, not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jacky’s daughter, Eileen, and her son, Jay, who are only now discovering the richness of their Blue Mountains heritage. Jacky’s grandson Jay is an impressive young man fired with enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story and determined that it not be forgotten. Jacky’s memory, I think, is in safe hands.

Figure 10: Jacky’s daughter Eileen and grandson Jay (Jay Brooks)

A very early ‘version’ of this article was published in Loosehead (Rugby League Quarterly), No.7 (Vol.2 Issue 1), Spring 1999, pp.7-9, 20; and a later version presented as a paper at the Blue Mountains History Conference, 25 September 2005.

This article was originally published in Doryanthes, Vol.8 No.4, November 2015, pp.12-21

For their interest and assistance I am grateful to the Blue Mountains Historical Society, John Merriman and the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Section and to Jim Smith who shared information from his own research. I am also extremely appreciative of the help, support and encouragement given to me by members of Jacky Brooks’ family, especially his niece Margaret Joyce Jordan, his nephew Ron Fletcher and, more recently, his daughter Eileen and grandson Jay. Finally, I drew untold knowledge and inspiration from the historical research of my friend Andrew Moore and the many afternoons we spent on the hill at North Sydney Oval. 

Written by John Low

Editor note

This article contains quotations from historical sources that would now be considered offensive and even shocking. They have been preserved for historical accuracy.

John Low OAM is a former Local Studies Librarian at Blue Mountains Library. 

John Merriman, Local Studies Librarian.

End notes

[1] D Kevans,  “The Roar of the Crowd” in The Great Prawn War and other Poems, Sydney: The Author, 1982, p. 31.
[2]  “The Henderson Cup”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 6 August 1920, p. 3, cols.4-5.
[3] “District Rugby League”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 May 1928, p.2, cols.5-6.
[4] Though his nickname appears as both ‘Jacky’ and ‘Jackie’ I have used the former spelling for consistency.
[5] D Johnson, “The Gully Aboriginal Place”, in E Stockton & J Merriman, ed. Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, 2nd edition, Lawson (NSW): Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust, 2009, p.206.
[6] I am grateful to Jim Smith who provided me with the birth date, recorded in Jacky’s application (16/8/1949) for exemption from the provisions of the Aboriginal Welfare Act; and to Jacky’s niece, Joyce Jordan, who sent me copies of his Marriage Certificates: to Edith in 1924 and to Daisy in 1931. The references to Jacky’s father come from these.
[7] D Johnson & D Colless. Upper Kedumba Valley, Katoomba: Report on the Cultural Significance of Upper Kedumba Valley for Declaration as an Aboriginal Place, Blackheath: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, [2002]. 
[8] “Death of an Old Identity”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 21 November 1913, p.3, col.4. Many years earlier his local knowledge and respected position was recognized in an interview published in The Sydney Mail, 12 December 1896. But perhaps the best memorial to William and Fanny was given by Bernard O’Reilly in his book Cullenbenbong (1944).
[9]  “A Miraculous Escape”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 November 1912, p.2, col.1; “Honest Recognition”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 20 December 1912, p.6, col.2.
[10] It is interesting that the Federals’ colours were red, yellow & black hoops – the colours adopted for the modern Aboriginal flag!
[11] See A Moore. The Mighty Bears: a Social History of North Sydney Rugby League, Sydney: Macmillan, 1996, pp. 86-88.
[12] ‘Dally-B’, “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 24 August 1923, p.5, col.4
[13] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 June 1926, p.5, col.2.
[14] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 14 August 1928, p.2, col.3.
[15] “Another Meritorious Win”, The Blue Mountains Star, 21 September, 1929, p.4, col.1.
[16] “Federals Down Heath”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 16 May 1924, p.3, col 3.
[17] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 6 June 1924, p.5, col.3.
[18] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 13 June 1924, p.3, col.3.
[19] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 12 June 1925, p.3, col.5.
[20] “Strenuous Rugby”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 11 July 1924, p.3, col.3.
[21] ‘Lock’, “Rugby League: Football Flashes”, The Katoomba Daily, 17 July 1936, p.2, col.7.
[22] “Football-Thrilling Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 24 August 1929, p.8, col.5.
[23] “A Muddy Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 17 August 1929, p.8, col.3.
[24] “Football-Thrilling Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 24 August 1929, p.8, col.5.
[25] “The Blue Mountain Line Never Crossed”, The Blue Mountains Star, 7 September 1929, p.4, cols.3-4.
[26] Blue Mountains football was described by one commentator in 1922 as “a mild recreation” rather than “a serious proposition”. See: “Football Flashes: Almost Cricket”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 August 1922, p.4, col.5.
[27] “Mountains Football Comes into its Own”, The Blue Mountains Star, 1 June 1929, p.3, cols.3-4.
[28] ‘Centre’, “Football Rakings”, The Blue Mountains Star, 25 May 1929, p.3, col.6.
[29] ‘Dally-B’, “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 24 August 1923, p.5, col.4.
[30] ‘Lock’, “Football Flashes”, The Katoomba Daily, 18 May 1933, p.3, col.5, quoting comments from The Bathurst Times.
[31] “Week-End Football: After the Match”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 August 1924, p.2, col.4.
[32] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 19 September 1924, p.3, col.5.
[33] “Under the Award: Jacky Brooks’ Wages”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 8 April 1927, p.3, col.4.
[34] “Farewell”, The Katoomba Daily, 9 July 1938, p.4, col.5.
[35] Mrs. Lillian Booby, undated letter and oral history interview (21/10/1992) in the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Collection; and “Week-End Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 August 1924, p.2, col.4; “Football Flashes: Federals vs Springwood”, The Blue Mountains Echo, 17 July 1925, p.5, col.1; “Carrington Staff Ball”, The Katoomba Daily, 28 June 1938, p.3, col.6.
[36] “Mountains Wins”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 8 June 1923, p.6, col.5; “Football Season”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 22 May 1925, p.5, col.3; “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 14 August 1928, p.2, col.3.
[37] This was told to me during an informal conversation with the late Springwood historian, Jack Maddock, who worked as a junior reporter on The Katoomba Daily in the early 1930s.
[38] C Tatz. Aborigines in Sport, Bedford Park SA: Australian Society for Sports History, 1987, p.5.
[39] Man Hunt”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 22 April 1921, p.1, cols.2-3; “Capture in a Cave”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 16 May 1924, p.2, col.4.

[40] J Smith, “Katoomba’s Fringe Dwellers”, in E Stockton, ed. Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, Winmalee, NSW: Three Sisters, 1993, p. 129.
[41] ‘Karku’, “Boxing”, The Katoomba Daily, 6 April 1933, p.3, col.5.
[42] Mrs. Lillian Booby, oral history interview (21/10/1992) in the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Collection.
[43] Johnson & Colless 2002, p.88. Also, Marriage Certificate Walter Woodburne (sic) John Brooks and Daisy Smith known as Dennis, 19 November 1936.
[44] For the details of this, in the words of historian Martin Thomas, rather “tawdry episode in local government”, see: M Thomas, The Artificial Horizon: Imagining the Blue Mountains, Melbourne: MUP, 2003, pp.199-207 and Johnson 2009, pp.215-217. The racing circuit was ultimately a financial disaster.
[45] See: J Smith ed. Legends of the Blue Mountains Valleys, by Jimmy Shepherd, retold by Frank Walford, Wentworth Falls: Den Fenella Press, 2003, pp.64-65.

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