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