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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: sportsworks (2)

Sportsworks olympians

Author
by Kate Phillips
Publish date
20 July 2012
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Comments (1)

Kate curated the Sportsworks exhibition at Scienceworks.

Some of the athletes who feature in the Sportsworks exhibition at Scienceworks are heading off to represent Australia in the Olympics in London. When we developed the exhibition in 2005, we interviewed 40 Victorian athletes to show inspiring people from a wide range of sports.

kids in Scienceworks Sportsworks gymnastic exhibit featuring Ashleigh Brennan aged 14.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Ashleigh Brennan, a gymnast we filmed when she was 14, is now 21 years old and is competing in her second Olympics. At the time we filmed her she was a promising young gymnast – but we had no idea that she would go on to compete at the highest level. We filmed her and five other gymnasts aged 7 to 14 for an exhibit where visitors have to be judges and give each athlete a score for their routine on the beam. This is a popular exhibit, particularly with aspiring gymnasts.

Girl smiling at camera Gymnast Ashleigh Brennan, aged 14.
Image: Jenni Meaney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Even at 14 Ashleigh looks very strong, confident and skilful. During the time we spent with the girls and their coaches at the gymnasium, I was impressed by the effort and the hours they put in to their training. It was a big commitment for those children and their parents. But I also saw the joy they felt in learning to do some amazing things and the challenge of continually mastering new skills.

Girl walking along low beam A visitor balancing on the beam interactive exhibit.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria
 

One of the main messages of the exhibition is that no matter if you are short or tall or what your abilities are there is a sport that you can enjoy. Visitors can test themselves and measure a range of abilities in the exhibition then complete a questionnaire to match themselves with a sport.

At 147cm, Loudy Wiggins (Touky) is the shortest athlete on the Australian team. She is competing in the 10 m synchronised diving at her fourth Olympics. Again, I was delighted to discover that someone we featured in the exhibition seven years ago was still competing at this level and I can't wait to see her diving.

Rowie Webster, now aged 24, is competing in the water polo. When we featured her she was already a great competitor in the under-17 age group and told us 'My formula is hard work, plus focus, mixed with water, equals success!'

exhibition label with hand sillouette You can measure your proportions and compare your handspan with an outline of Drew Ginn's hand.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria

One measurement in the exhibition includes an outline of Drew Ginn's hand. As a rower you can bet that his hands, arms, shoulders and back are all very strong! He is competing in his fourth Olympics in the rowing fours. He was a member of the famous 'Oarsome Foursome' crew that won gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Ginn went on to win two more gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Best of luck to all the athletes – we hope all your hard work is rewarded. Your skill and dedication inspire us.

Links:

Athlete profiles on the official London 2012 AOC site:

Ashleigh Brennan

Loudy Wiggins (Tourky)

Rowie Webster

Drew Ginn

"Like croquet, only different"

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
2 March 2012
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Comments (1)

Most workers on a smoko break shoot the breeze or maybe have a cuppa, but on rare occasions, smoko engenders creative genius. In the railyards of Newport in the late 1920s, a new sport emerged as workers improvised a game played with bits and pieces around the workshop. This uniquely Melburnian game, attributed to a Mr. Thomas Grieves of Yarraville, is called trugo.

Workers at the Newport Workshops, circa 1925 Workers at the Newport Workshops, circa 1925. Perhaps a champion trugo player stands among them. (MM 8099).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Every aspect of trugo is linked inextricably to its railyard origins. The thirty-yard field of play is the ength of a railway carriage. Teams of players hit a rubber ring – a buffer from a train –backwards through their legs with a wooden mallet. If the ring makes it through the goal, which is as wide as the distance between train seats, it's a 'true go'.

Trugo clubs sprang up all over the blue-collar suburbs of Melbourne. The first were in the west – Yarraville and Footscray – but it spread to Brunswick, Preston, Prahran, South Melbourne and beyond. By 1938, the social pages of the Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian were raving about the game that was "like croquet, only different". From boom times in the 1940s, many clubs have struggled to remain open in recent years. Preston Trugo Club is shuttered up and looking grim, while the second-oldest club at Footscray is gone and replaced with a housing development.

Trugo equipment from the MV collection is on display in the Sportsworks exhibition. A group of History and Technology Department staff decided it was time to learn first-hand how it was used, so at the end of last year, they visited Brunswick Trugo Club to meet club president (and trugo champion) Gerald Strachan. Curator Bec Carland was among the MV guests and loved every minute of it – the history, the community, and the game itself.

Ben playing Trugo Ben ‘get outta the way’ Thomas with his strident trugo technique.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

She described the set-up of the game as a "beautiful ritual of measuring out. It takes about half an hour to set up each pitch and they measure them out painstakingly as everyone stands around chatting. You can see how workers set up this process that's a little bit drawn out to make the break go longer."

Michelle and David playing Trugo Michelle Stevenson and David Crotty attempting a 'true go'.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

"The rules are simple but they flew out the window after a little while because we were all having a go. There were some standout performances – it's really quite difficult." Bec said. "No one could get three for three yet Richard arrived late, picked up a mallet, hit three for three straight away."

playing Trugo Richard ‘4 for 4’ Gillespie and ‘Liza ‘strongarm’ Dale-Hallett on the trugo field.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The clubhouse is carefully maintained by the club members and is filled with memorabilia, trophies, and a rack of hand-made mallets. There's even a vegie patch out the back and a club dog. "Gerald's got this beautiful dog that chases the buffers that go off straight," according to Bec. "He says, 'don't worry, if it's on track he won't go near it'. Every time he'd follow it half-way down and if the dog veered away, you knew it was true. And if he stayed with it, you knew it 's not going to go in."

Brunswick Trugo Club interior Left: Brunswick Trugo Club's prizes are on display inside the clubhouse. Right: Hand-made wooden trugo mallets on racks at Brunswick Trugo Club.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In January, Gerald put out a call for new players in the Melbourne Times. He and other long-time members are worried that the game won't survive unless younger people start playing. Said Bec, "there wasn't a point in the day when the club members weren't discussing its past and its threatened present."

If you'd like to try trugo, Gerald would love to hear from you.

Links:

Victorian Trugo Association

YouTube video: Trugo

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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