A Race a Picnic and a Ball
Formed in early in the 1900’s the Wandong Athletic Club held its annual meeting on New Years Eve, this was the event of the year for Wandong with people coming from far and wide to partake in the fun. A special train was run from Melbourne to bring contestants and spectators, welcomed to Wandong by the band playing on the verandah of the Travellers Rest Hotel.
Events such as foot running, cycling, tug-of-war, were just some of the fun events on offer, the committee spent considerable time preparing for the event while the local ladies prepared the Public Hall for the New Years Eve ball, where the dancing continued throughout the night and into morning.
During the war years the club went into a hiatus, but in 1947 the club was reformed and with a strong committee consisting of names such as Patton, Walsh, Thomas, Christensen, Harper, Ramage, Pickett, Marshall Spiers and Shiel ensured the success of the club. The cycle races were supervised and run by the Broadford Cycling Club, the club stalwart, Norm Edge being the organiser.
The Wood-chopping events were also run as part of the choppers association, axe men from interstate competed at Wandong, local Hugh McDonald was rated in the top ten axe men in Victoria.
A luncheon tent provided light meals and a cake stall while a beer tent was run by L Thorrs of Kilmore as by this time the Travellers Rest had burnt down and Wandong was without a hotel.
The athletic club were responsible for many improvements to the sports ground, money raised was used to erect a toilet block initially for the women only, the committee however had to complain that the cows owned by the leasee on the sports ground were making too much mess and in future only sheep would be allowed to graze there.
By 1960 the Athletic Club had folded it is unlikely that such a club will reform, those days have past.