150 years of sporting legacy

April 9, 2024

PFNC 150th Anniversary Media Release 4.4.24.docx

THE Penshurst Football Netball Club (PFNC) is gearing up to celebrate a momentous milestone: its 150th anniversary.

As the club prepares for a year of festivities, President Tim Wilson reflects on the club’s rich history and shares his vision for its future.

Reflecting on the club’s illustrious past, Wilson highlights some of the significant achievements that have shaped its legacy.

“Over the past century and a half, the PFNC has proudly claimed 18 senior premierships, nine reserve premierships, and numerous junior football and netball successes, as well as hosting a string of women’s social games in the 1950s and 60s,” Wilson said.

The Bombers were one of the early adopters to merge football and netball clubs, forming the one club in 2000.

As well as its successes, the club has also withstood many challenges.

As with any country footy and netball club, the changing demographic of country areas, rural population decline and numerous other pursuits available, work against community sporting clubs.

“We’re proud to still be a standalone, one-town club with no major change to its make-up in 150 years,” Wilson said.

“We’ve been an integral part of Penshurst’s fabric, from the early days of townie domination to our current status as a diverse mix of locals and players from surrounding areas.”

Despite the club’s steadfastness, it has undoubtedly witnessed change over its 150 years, being part of 12 league’s, staying in the Mininera and District Football League since 1970.

In the early days, players and supporters would go by train or troop carrier to games, then in the 1950s the Lutheran community got on board.

Nowadays the club is a mix of locals and district farmers, as well as travelling players from Hamilton and further afield.

Fundraising has evolved from hare drives, haycarting and dances to the club’s formation as a licenced club, with social rooms, cattle trading, lamb marking and sponsor partnership with local businesses.

April 5, 2024

“The club has a strong membership base, but beyond that the majority of folk within the town and district show an interest in how the club performs, and if the club is up and about the town buzzes, much like Geelong,” Wilson said.

In recent years, the club has continued to prosper, achieving success both on and off the field and court.

“We’ve seen senior premierships in 2009 and 2012, as well as notable accomplishments in netball, including a four-peat in A grade from 2010-2013 and a three-peat in B grade from 2010-2012.

“Out of the last 22 junior grand finals we have been in 16 and won 11, and more proudly, we are now seeing the majority of our senior/reserves teams are players that have progressed from junior to senior football.

“Beyond trophies, our proudest moments include saving a player’s life during a cardiac arrest incident at training, and fostering a sense of community that transcends wins and losses.”

Wilson, who has himself been involved with the club for two decades, acknowledged the club had successfully created an environment that welcomed people, and had developed values and a community spirit that stands young people in good stead in all aspects of life.

“It’s certainly been the case for our club that it is the role of each generation to pass the baton to the next to continue living the club values,” he said.

As the PFNC prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary, Wilson outlines the club’s plans for the year ahead.

“We’re organising a series of events to honour our history, including a Retro Round, an Indigenous Round, and a fundraising campaign,” he said.

“But the highlight will undoubtedly be our Gala Ball on May 11, featuring presentations on football and netball history, a special auction, and entertainment.

No doubt it will be an evening filled with nostalgia, camaraderie, and celebration.

Looking to the future, Wilson emphasises the club’s commitment to its core values of sporting excellence and community engagement.

“Our goal is to continue offering a pathway for players from juniors to seniors, while also enhancing our facilities to benefit not just the sporting club, but the wider community,” he says.

Wilson recognised the importance of the club’s supporters and sponsors in reaching such a historic milestone.

“Supporters are the lifeblood of any sporting club,” he said.

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“Without their generosity we would struggle to fund the day-to-day running of the club; sports administration has become very in depth and costly.

“They’ll be honoured guests at our anniversary celebrations and integral partners in our future endeavours.”

As the PFNC embarks on the next phase of its journey, Wilson reflects on the significance of reaching this milestone.

“Surviving and thriving for 150 years is no small feat,” he said.
“It’s a testament to the dedication and resilience of everyone involved.”

As the Bombers celebrate such a momentous achievement, Wilson said the club is urging the Penshurst community to join them in shaping the club’s future.

“Whether as players, volunteers, or supporters, there’s a place for everyone at the club,” he said.

The fund-raising campaign that will launch in the upcoming MDFL/MDNA season will be dedicated to the upgrade of the club’s existing change rooms and social facilities.

“The club wants to build a facility that can be used for functions & meetings by the whole Penshurst community, not just the club,” he said.

“The aim is for the Rec Reserve to be a multipurpose community hub for the town and district.” For those interested in joining or supporting the club, Wilson extends a warm invitation.

“Whether you’re a player, coach, volunteer, member, supporter, or sponsor, you’ll be welcomed with open arms,” he assured.

“Visit our website or social media channels to learn more, or simply drop by a training night or game day.”