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Ray Carroll’s ‘From the Boundary’: October 3, 2023

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Front of house

Samantha Baird, pictured, is the receptionist at Modern Car Care in Kilmore.

Ever-smiling and friendly, she is polite and helpful to customers.

She has many counterpart ‘front of house’ receptionists in the town.

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A long-time receptionist at Assumption College Kilmore, Pat Burgess is fondly recalled by countless students for her work as front lady for many years. Pat knows the importance of a friendly greeting.

I spoke recently to Samantha about her life and times.

Samantha was born in Moonee Ponds, and her schooldays were at Parkland, Werribee, then St Mary’s Seymour and Assumption College.

Her parents David and Sandra are directors of Modern Car Care in Kilmore.

There are two brothers – Liam is director of Radiators R Us in Kilmore, while Dylan is a carpenter currently travelling around Australia.

Samantha has fond memories of her schooldays, both primary and secondary, and of a number of dedicated teachers at ACK.

She loved special feast days, the year 12 retreat and the friendships made.

Interests and hobbies are varied including event planning, baby sitting her nieces and nephews, and tending to her vegetable garden.

Sam’s favourite holiday place is Phillip Island and she has nostalgic memories of happy times as a young girl in a holiday house there.

Her favourite sport has been netball, the sport embraced by hundreds of Aussies. Among her best friends she singles out Paige, Brittany and Jessica.

People who have influenced Sam’s life are definitely her parents foremost.

“Mum and Dad ensured myself and my brothers had a well-rounded life and a great balance between work and family growing up,” she said.

“A strong work ethic and family values were passed on to us. I am truly grateful to my folks.”

In short, Samantha is a lovely person and it was kind of her to do the interview.

A footy immortal

Ron Barassi is now in the history books as a true legend of the Australian game.

He joins the immortals such as Don Bradman and Victor Trumper – cricket – and Dally Messenger – rugby – and will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Australians.

His deeds as player and coach and indeed his whole life story will never be forgotten.

Barassi came to Melbourne young and eager. He had a special relationship with the club, as a legatee and because he lived with Norm Smith, and also had the eagerness for football and the cheery personality that stamped him as a future star.

Perhaps he tried too hard. His first years did not bear the fruit he or the club hoped for, but his determination was noted.

Norm Smith needed a strong, hard-working, mobile player around the packs – a ruck-rover, as he described him.

Barassi was tried and a champion footballer was born. He had purple passages of play in which he could do no wrong.

The whole team lifted around him and Melbourne became the complete fighting unit that was to go on and win seven premierships.

The statistics are known –  204 games, six premiership teams, one grand final missed through suspension, captain from 1960 to 1964, two club best and fairests.

But the statistics cannot capture the image of Barassi. With the slight limp and hands on hips, walking into the fray, Barassi bursting through the pack, Barassi outmarking bigger men or Barassi marauding into the forward line with the Demons supporters going wild.


I’ve been watching some cricket from South Africa in recent weeks.

What really stands out is to see the happy crowds and their total enjoyment. All races,  young and old, in happy unison, singing and dancing celebrating a game they love.

It’s a far cry from the bad Apartheid times when the national XI was whites only while non-whites in attendance were herded into barbed wire enclosures.

The great Nelson Mandela loved cricket and was among those who were forced to watch from the restricted areas.

My father came from South Africa and I’ve always had an affinity with the nation.

A prized possession is a kitbag with the name A.D Nourse engraved on the side.

Dudley Nourse was a South African legend and one of the games finest bats of all time.

Among his legendary innings was at Trent Bridge versus England when he scored 231 batting with a broken hand for most of his epic knock.

He averaged 54 in Tests and followed in the footsteps of his father Dave Nourse who was also a great cricketer.

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