Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tungamah Club helps lift its community

When the going gets tough, rural communities are reminded of the important role country footy clubs play off the field. Nathalia and Tungamah were two towns worst hit by the northern Victoria floods in 2012, but with their community spirit high, they rose from the depths.

ALEXANDRA BATHMAN June 25, 2014 3:01am

Senior assistant coach Bohdi Butts, co-coachs Will Cooper and Nick Doyle, reserves coachs Simon McGuire and Terrence Jones.

A couple of years ago Tungamah Football Netball Club’s commitment to its town was tested by a natural disaster.

The club had been the social fabric of Tungamah since 1882 but its history on the banks of Boosey Creek was almost washed away.

Club secretary Deanne Einsporn has been involved with the club all her life and witnessed the spirit of the club and the town come together as one ‘‘to save the town’’ after the floods in Victoria’s north in 2012.

The town was completely locked in by floodwater which crept close to the residential area before the creek’s depth peaked at almost three metres.

‘‘It was tough,’’ Mrs Einsporn said.

‘‘It is just one of the examples of how we just band together with the community.’’

While club members were busy sand-bagging homes and driving around in four-wheel drives to give people food, the club rooms flooded.

‘‘It wasn’t until a couple of days later we realised it had flooded,’’ Mrs Einsporn said.

There was severe damage and the rooms were almost condemned.

However, the Tungamah Bears rose from the depths and the under-14s bought home the premiership trophy.

In the next season, the Bears came back with a vengeance and dominated the Picola and District league, with the seniors, reserves and under-17s all winning premierships.

Mrs Einsporn said the club provided the town’s 300 residents with more than just footy to watch, and recounted her own experience.

‘‘When I was young my father passed away in a workplace accident,’’ Mrs Einsporn said.

‘‘They were always there to help my mother, who had been left as a widow with five young children.’’

The club’s involvement in the tiny community remains strong.

During winter, the under-17 Bears chop wood and sell it to the townspeople, while the club’s Thursday night dinners continue to bring people together on a weekly basis.

‘‘Tungamah has always been a community to help people and the club is a place where everyone feels safe because everyone knows you,’’ Mrs Einsporn said.

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