A PANDEMIC CALLS TIME OUT
There aren’t many things that could stop football in its tracks. A global pandemic tried. But – with social distancing protocols, a new hand sanitiser station and a great deal of care – the club bounced back onto the field for the winter season.
It did look different though. Junior games could only have one adult in the park to every player. Senior games couldn’t have any spectators at all. Under NSW Health regulations, there also couldn’t be any post-game activities. No drinks. No player of the match awards either. We count ourselves extremely lucky however, that here in Australia we could come together in ways that our northern counterparts could not.
Nobody was prepared for the curveballs that COVID-19 threw at us. But, like so many brave and honest clubs, we learned to adapt, make do and stay positive. We’re so proud that our members were able to rally together and keep the football spirit strong.
$14M MAKEOVER FOR CALLAN PARK
2021 got off to a much better start than the previous year – to the tune of $14 million! With a Channel 9 camera crew capturing the moment for the nightly news, Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning, and Jamie Parker MP, Member for Balmain, announced a $14M makeover of our beloved Waterfront foreshore area, as happy pre-season kids trained around them at Callan Park.
What really rocked our orange socks: some of that funding was for the adaptive reuse of Building 497 – otherwise known as the future Balmain DFC Clubhouse and community sports facility! With unprecedented growth in female players of all ages, as President Paul Avery told Football NSW:
“The announcement of funding for the clubhouse is also about gender equality and creating facilities that women feel comfortable using. We don’t have any usable changerooms at Waterfront and the toilets are only marginally better. This announcement will help provide the facilities our female players, and our Football4All players, so desperately needed.”
The new plans will also see a missing link in the Bay Run fully pedestrianised and upgraded, the removal of two dilapidated buildings, new picnic areas, parks, accessible amenities, the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage and much more.
This serious investment in local sporting infrastructure gives the club great hope for a better future for the whole community.
FIFTY YEARS YOUNG
Fifty years after it was a “pipe dream” in the minds of Wal Gourlie and Frank Hawkins, Balmain DFC had made it through half a century. From 3 teams, we’d grown to 218. From 48 players, we were now pushing 3000. From a “boy’s club”, we were now seeing a phenomenal growth in female participation. In 2021, a third of the club’s players are women and girls. There is a lot to celebrate, a lot to look back on, and a lot to look forward to.
We had plans to make 2020 a big year for our club community – where we could get together and remember our rich history. Of course, the uncertainties of COVID-19 hamstrung these hopes. With the help of a grant, however, we were able to take the opportunity to look back, gather information and share with you what we found in this website. We hope old and new members are encouraged to share their stories, too.
We can’t wait to continue our journey as a club and share our love of football with players, families, volunteers and our beautiful Inner West community.