IT was a name that was synonymous with the game of football in Victoria’s south-west and later, Australia-wide: Barham.
The name has been carried furthest by Collingwood legend and life member, Ricky, who dazzled crowds with his elusive speed and high-flying acrobatics.
Ricky played 10 seasons at the Magpies, amassing 151 games and kicking 140 goals.
While he was the most publicised of the Barhams who played VFL football, his hometown of Hamilton knew the football stars ran much deeper.
Ricky’s late father, Bill Barham, was said to have been one of the greatest footballers in the south-west.
Bill’s wife Joan still lives in Hamilton and together they raised four children – three boys and one girl – who all made names of their own.
The 1957 Munro Medallist for the best and fairest player in the Western District Football League, Bill was as tough and hard as they come.
He always had the potential to play VFL football, Joan said nothing about it appealed to him, even Norm Smith stating he would have played Bill in for Melbourne in the VFL Grand Final, had he made himself available.
“He (Smith) wanted him to play for Melbourne, but Bill didn’t really want to go to Melbourne to play,” she said.
“Every time they came down we had people come around to get Bill to Melbourne.
“That never happened after we were married; it was always before we were married.”
Though Bill never went on to play VFL football, he had three sons who did.
But it is not just the Barham boys who are keen sportspeople – Joan and her daughter Helen have proven to be handy athletes, particularly in recent years.
Both women have found their calling on the golf course and tennis court, while Helen has taken up running, and recently competed in a 10 kilometre event.
Full story in today’s Spectator.