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The Break O' Day Black Diamond soccer team in action at South Hobart Oval in 1930

 

 


The Colrains

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soccer

 

“The Black Diamond Soccer Team”


Michael Colrain, an old Cornwall Boy and now a well known Hobart entertainer, sang his first song in public on the stage of the Cornwall Hall, accompanied by the Nolan Orchestra. Like many of us he has fond memories of growing up at Cornwall and even now, after leaving to go south in 1945 at age nine, still takes a keen interest in the town. and indeed, the whole Break O’ Day region.
Michael's Family was among a group of Scottish and Welsh immigrants who came to Australia in 1927, many of whom ended up in the Fingal Valley to work in the coalmines.
They were a jovial, but hard working lot with a wonderful love of music and sport. But alas, they had arrived in a place where the football the locals played was as foreign as the land they had come to. But by 1930 more Colrians, along with more British immigrants, had arrived in the Cullenswood area and the Colrains were able to gain enough support to form the Break O’ Day Soccer Association and the game they knew and loved from their homeland came alive in the Fingal Valley.
It originated with two teams from St.Marys and Cornwall, but Fingal soon fielded a side and a triangular tournament called “The Hood Challenge Trophy”, named after the founding President Mr. C. S. Hood, the then Cornwall Coal Co. manager, was played. Mrs. D. Hindle, a St.Marys business owner, gave a cup to the winning team, with all monies raised donated to St.Marys Hospital.
Games were played at the St.Marys, Cullenswood and Fingal grounds and at the end of the tournament a combined team was selected from all three clubs and with Michael’s father and two uncles making up almost a third of the team and his grandfather as coach, they all went off to Hobart to play a southern combined side at the South Hobart ground, which back then, was the home of soccer in Hobart.
The Break O’ Day boys, or “Black Diamonds” as they were known, because their jumpers were royal blue with a black diamond on the chest, knocked the stuffing clean out of the south by defeating them 3-4. As the Mercury reported next day: “….it was clearly demonstrated at South Hobart yesterday, playing a characteristically British and scientific type of football, that Break O’ Day were capable of an even better performance and that the score line did not do them justice…. and the exhibition given by James Hardie and James Colrain has not been seen since the days of Honeysett and Stoner….”
Later in the year, a team from the North of the State traveled to St.Marys with great expectations of showing up the South by knocking over the much talked about “Black Diamonds”; but they too went home with their tail between their legs with a 1-5 thrashing. Break O’ Day went on to be the only undefeated team in 1930.
1932 saw three “Black Diamonds” John Rowan, Will Turner and James Hardie picked in the State squad to travel to Sydney to play in the Australian Soccer Carnival. John Rowan, a piper with the Caledonian Society, was reported to have played his pipes all the way to Sydney on board the ferry “Loongana” and it was said the skirl of John Rowan’s pipes stirred every Scotsman from Tasmania to Sydney.
The Break O’ Day Soccer Association was short lived, however, by 1933 most of the good players were lured away with better employment offers and “Poached” by the bigger more prominent clubs, but the memories of that most significant time in our sporting heritage should live on and be preserved for ever. Thanks to the Colains and their talented mates there was a time in Tasmanian sporting history when Break O’ Day, through their “Black Diamonds”, were feared by all and supreme over any who dared to challenge.

Thanks to Chris Hudson’s book "Century of Soccer" for information and Michael Colrain for his help and photos for this story.

Jim Haas

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