Honouring South Bunbury Football Club’s popular girls

The inaugural South Bunbury Football Club Hall of Fame night next month will recognise some of the best players to grace the most successful football club in Australia.

With 44 league premierships since 1898, there is plenty of history at the South Bunbury Tigers.

While the first 11 inductees into the Hall of Fame are a closely guarded secret, a special group of ladies are also set to be recognised on the night for their contributions to the club.

In years gone by the Bunbury Football Association (now the South West Football League) consisted of three clubs; South Bunbury, Railways (now Bunbury) and Pastimes (now Carey Park).

Each year the ladies of the various clubs entered the ‘Popular Girl’ competition to raise money for the boys on the field and their club – paying for items including jumpers and boots.

The girl who raised the most money won the title for that year with South Bunbury’s first success in 1933 courtesy of Gwen Davies (nee Sharpe).

Thirteen years later Treasure Hislop was crowned popular girl on August 29, 1946, aged 22.

Mrs Hislop had four brothers who played football for the club and said she organised dances at the local hall and ran raffles and a cake stall to raise £345/9/5, three pounds more than Pauline White from Railways who placed second.

“I remember we kept everyone busy when we were fundraising – it was a big thing,” she said.

“People went out in those days because there was no television.”

Peggy Cross was the next South Bunbury winner in 1947 who said by this time the honour of winning the title meant the girls got competitive.

“There was a fair bit of money raised and everyone kept a close eye on each other and tried to keep their final total a secret until the night all was revealed,” she said.

“We lived for the weekend when the footy was on.”

Val Farquhar triumphed in 1951 with £632/19/9, virtually double the total of her nearest rival.

The club scored its final victory in 1953, the last year the competition was held, courtesy of Dawn Loton (nee Dillon).

Dawn Dillon being crowned 'Popular Girl' for South Bunbury Football Club in 1953.

Dawn Dillon being crowned ‘Popular Girl’ for South Bunbury Football Club in 1953.

Mrs Loton said she didn’t enter to win the title for herself, it was all about winning for the club.

“I was very well known for my piano playing so I would often play at the dance on a Sunday night,” she said.

“We also sold chickens, ran raffles and held some two-up competitions.

“It was all a lot of fun.”

At the time, Dawn was dating South Bunbury player Dick Loton who had a tough guy reputation on the field and went hard for the ball.

Loton won six premierships with the club in eight years between 1948 and 1956. He and Dawn are still happily married.

“The girls who came to the club to help out and enter the popular girls competition were all fine looking birds,” he said.

“It was always a lot of fun to have them involved.”

While the days where the group make it down to Hands Oval each week to watch the Tigers play are passed, they all still keep an eye on the team’s progress.

“I still like to see when South Bunbury are winning,” Mrs Hislop said.

The first South Bunbury Hall of Fame dinner and presentation evening will be held on Saturday, July 30 in the Sav Davies Lounge at South Bunbury Football Club from 5.30pm.

For more information about the evening contact the club’s general manager Larry Gleeson on 0407 195 265.


Article via Bunbury Mail,June 8th