A letter from George's Mother
Val Finlayson has sent me a copy of a letter written by her Grandmother and George Macaulay's mother to her son Sam. It contains evidence of a soccer culture in Melbourne that shines a light on how 'ordinary' soccer was for those families involved in the game.
The letter was written on the evening of Wednesday 17 May, 1933, while the Footscray Thistle "soccer committee" were meeting in the Macaulay residence at 17 Napier St Footscray. Mrs Macaulay discusses some family news before writing:
Geo went to Wonthaggi on Sat, it was a pouring wet day here, it was also bad up there. Charlie Shiels went with them. Preston won, they left Won, at 10 O'Clock & was home at two in the morning. The roads were greasy & besides there was sleet falling however they got home without an accident.
While while not particularly earth shattering the letter nevertheless contains some important information.
- We can assume perhaps that the Macaulay residence at 17 Napier St was a regular venue for Footscray Thistle SC committee meetings.
- Why George Macaulay goes to Wonthaggi when his own team is playing St Kilda is an interesting question. Was he dropped? Injured? Rested?
- He and some other men (Charlie Shiels included) were interested enough in the game to travel to Wonthaggi to see Preston beat Wonthaggi Magpies 8-1 - that's State League I level commitment! The apparent danger of the 4-hour return journey only adds to the sense of commitment.
- George's mother sees nothing out of the ordinary is such behaviour.
- We know Preston won well despite the conditions.
- We also learn that a brother had 5 teeth pulled out that day and was having trouble finding work -- but that's by the by.
So, not earth shattering, but also promising. Information exists in family archives about the ordinary culture of Victorian soccer in the 1930s. I am so grateful to Val Finlayson (with whose permission the letter is published above) for once again providing me with inspirational family artifacts that perhaps reveal more about the history of soccer than a family holding them might imagine.