One of region’s great sporting treasures housed in Rocky
The year 2020 has been a “very different one” for rugby league historian Peter Hunt.
For the first time in his lifetime, there will be no senior football played in Rockhampton.
The competition has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The last time it did not go ahead was in 1942 and 1943 in the midst of World War II.
This year also marks the end of the printed version of The Morning Bulletin, with the publication moving to a fully digital model.
The pages of The Bulletin were an invaluable resource for Hunt who, for decades, has been documenting the history of the game in the region.
He has hundreds of football programs and he cannot put a total on the number of paper clippings in his collection.
“I’ll put the wife on, she could probably tell you,” he joked when asked the question.
“I started collecting in the ’60s, and the back page of The Bully was generally rugby league in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
“A lot of them are in scrapbooks. You can go back and look at them and quite a few of the things jog your memory.”
Hunt has been reading The Bulletin for 47 years, the print version mostly but online more recently.
“I would always read the headlines and then go straight to the sports pages of the paper. I would go from the back inwards and then on to the other stuff.
“I just enjoyed reading the local stories and, being Rocky born and bred, I knew a lot of the people that appeared in the paper.”
Hunt played for Norths for about 20 years before taking on different administrative duties for the past two decades.
One of his fondest memories is his A-grade debut in 1970 when he lined up against Rockhampton Railways, which included the then Australian fullback Ray Laird.
Laird was selected from Rockhampton and played for Australia in the second Test against Great Britain at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“That was pretty awe-inspiring,” Hunt said.
The 68 year old’s garden is getting plenty of attention now that he cannot have his local footy fix on weekends.
He is grateful that the NRL is back and he can follow the fortunes of his beloved St George Dragons.