Bert Spinks tells stories for a living. He is Tasmania’s official unofficial historian, and one of the world’s great craft beer storytellers, as well as a bushwalking guide. Over the summer, he’ll be profiling Tasmanian football grounds. See more at his website.
My great-grandfather, Leslie Herbert Spinks, did the bread run in Penguin. He could hold a tune, got in strife over a £5 debt, and could play the spoons. He also played footy here for the Penguin Two Blues.
The Penguin Footy Club was started in 1890, and has played in various leagues on the north-west coast since then in its famous strip of royal and light blues. A number of footballing stars have pulled on the Two Blues guernsey: for example, after captaining the 1963 VFL Premiership side of Geelong, Fred Wooller played at Penguin. Born and bred stars include Bob Parsons, the Gale brothers, and Russell Robertson.
More important to the club are folks like Ted Howe, a Kokoda veteran who, turning 96 years old during the 2014 season, makes appearances at the footy as regularly as he does the Penguin Uniting Church.
Penguin came 4th this year in the NTFL, but results notwithstanding, there are few places in Tassie where the locals support their team more. In a town of less than 4000 at the last census, crowds of bigger than 500 are likely to turn up to see the boys in the two tones of blue show up.
Just as a hundred years ago, the locals turned up to see Herbert Spinks’ lanky frame stride around the beachside field. But what I want to know is: can of the current Two Blues play the spoons?