North Hobart Oval plays without a doubt a major part in Tasmanian football history. It has been host to many great clashes over the years from interstate and intrastate football to the rivalries of the former TFL (Tasmanian Football League) competition. In the 1970’s they jammed into the tiny ground, lining the terraces with views of the Derwent River and shouting their lungs out at their local heroes in a grand final or battling against the seemingly unbeatable big ‘V’ or the ‘Crow-eaters’ from South Australia. In 1979, 25,000 squeezed into the ground to watch Glenorchy play Clarence in a classic TFL grand final, a record attendance for a match in Tasmania.
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The Seagulls had won their first three games and were perched in second spot on the ladder behind New Norfolk on percentage. After trouncingHobartin the opening round by 50 points, they booted 25 goals to beat Glenorchy in a high scoring contest at North Hobart Oval by 28 points.A crowd of 5,423 saw them crushNorth Hobartby 44 points again at North Hobart Oval and the Seagulls were looking good.
“This kid could win the Tour de France one day.” The voice of cycling, Phil Liggett, had just witnessed quite possibly the first step in an Australian’s quest to win the greatest race on earth.Liggett had been travelling in a support vehicle up Mt.Wellington in Hobart as a part of the race convoy on the penultimate stage of the 1998 Tour of Tasmania.
A young determined mountain biker from the hills around Melbourne had just burnt off the field in the ascent to the top and would pull on the Tour leader’s yellow jersey that night.It was the first time he had ever worn the leader’s jersey in a road race, his name - Cadel Evans.When you look back on the careers of sports stars that have risen to great heights, there is usually a time and a place that can be pin-pointed to changing their pathway to stardom, a defining moment where an action or result confirms their ability to become the next big thing.
The three biggest celebrations across the country in 1973 were the opening of Hobart’s Wrest Point Casino, the first ever Casino built in Australia; the long awaited official opening of Sydney’s Opera House on Friday the 28th of September when Prokofiev’s spectacular epic modern opera War and Peace thrilled a first-time audience; and the following day on Tasmania’s windy north-west coast at Burnie’s West Park when the Scottsdale ‘Magpies’ knocked off home-town favourites Cooee in the state football grand final.
Of-course on that same day in Melbourne, Carlton shrugged off Richmond to win the VFL Grand Final, ironically with the same 16.20.116 score-line to that of Scottsdale. Scottsdale had entered the state final via victories over North Launceston in their competition’s grand final – the NTFA – before accounting for southern Premiers (TFL) Hobart in the State Preliminary Final.